TOP 1 – Dirty Duck
PASSION FOR LIFE, WHISKEY AND FOOD. They’ve created a space where you can feel at home, and where you get the chance to enjoy simple yet tasty home-made food prepared with local farmers’ produce, a place where you’ll find only the best beers, whiskies and wines, or a nice cup of coffee, and where – whether you’re alone or with friends – you’ll be treated as one of our own! Enjoy life every day, and celebrate it on weekends!
TOP 2 – Brodvėjus
Still, after we-know-not-how-many-years the default ‘where shall we go now’ option for many, Brodvėjus boasts two levels of mayhem and fun. In general terms, downstairs is for dancing while upstairs is for drinking (especially if you want to sit down). The music remains much as it has for over a decade: a mix of just about everything. There are live bands some evenings too. Leave your pretensions at the door and you will love it.
TOP 3 – Beer House
In a sheltered courtyard off central Vokiečių Street, staff frantically but courteously ferry generous dishes of grills and salads to groups of tourists and locals. What makes this restaurant stand out is the reams of pages of mostly bottled craft beers from far flung places, though you may be inclined to settle for brews from the keg such as the hoppy Fullers IPA. Each beer has a glass shape meant to suit it. Our saucy ribs and colossal salads were most satisfying, but some phrases on the menu are tricky to grasp: “Blong fried masled potato ball” and “Kids devoted for sharing because brewers works a lot and eats stodgy.”
TOP 4 – Burbulio vyninė
This tiny wine bar and shop in the Old Town specialises in bottles from small producers in Italy, but their real passion is sparking wines. Discover drinks you wouldn’t expect to find in Lithuania, like Franciacorta from Brescia in Lombardy or, from France, Crémant d’Alsace. They also pour a refreshing spritz. There’s no outdoor seating, but it’s cosy on colder days.
TOP 5 – Portobello
What can be called the only real British pub in town, THE PORTOBELLO takes its 18 plus beer kinds very seriously indeed (with the barrels stacked beneath the bar in the 16th century cellar!). They even have patented their own “Admiral’s Pint”, at 0.66 l. The pub grub includes an excellent homemade burger and fish-and-chips. To enter, look for the red teleportation phone booth from London.
TOP 6 – Alaus biblioteka (Beer library)
Up the stairs at the Beer Library, the main topic of conversation is exactly that – beer. The vast display of bottled pilsners, bitters, stouts, lagers, Franco-Belgian, German, Celtic, American and other brews covering two walls plus around 15 lined up on tap provide the visual prompts, and the barmen never tire of making personal recommendations. Of the Lithuanian beers try the strong, sweet and aromatic Gubernija Doppelbock. Busy as soon as evening begins, the tables and stools are quickly occupied. If you’re hungry, tasty pizza can be brought up from below.
TOP 7 – Bambalynė
In a beer cellar ‘Bambalyne’ you are going to find and be able to buy more than 100 sorts of Lithuanian beer. Without any doubt they are going to be able to please any taste, because they offer beer from cask ale, freshly poured from a barrel, to already well known and loved, pasteurised traditional beer sorts. It is a true heaven for beer lovers! It is one place filled with what Lithuania is the most proud of- good beer.
TOP 8 – Alinė Leičiai
Without delicious Lithuanian meals of the restaurant they also offer you to try about 10 different sorts of Lithuanian beers made by local brewers all around Lithuania, including 4 sorts of beer made by the owner himself. Also here you are going to find most probably the biggest Lithuanian beer collection, together with other Lithuanian drink specialties.
TOP 9 – Amatininkų Užeiga
A Vilnius institution that’s been kicking around almost forever, Amatininkų Užeiga (The Craftsmen’s Tavern) finds its way into the guide by default more than by anything else. Not exactly a bar and by no stretch of the imagination a restaurant, the place continues for reasons unknown to us to attract large crowds of punters throughout the year and especially during the summer when they open an enormous terrace in front of the Town Hall. The choice of beers is hardly inspirational and the food is adequate if little else. Impersonal and featuring a gaggle of forgettable staff, don’t be surprised to find the place packed. Vilnius wouldn’t be the same without it.
TOP 3 Cocktail bars
TOP 1 – Apoteka
(TALES & COCKTAILS) Beardy weirdy chemists conduct alchemy in a shadowy lab lined with bottles and jars, creating the perfect elixir by blending unique juices, infused alcohol and herbs. Designed to induce ecstasy rather than insensibility in its patrons, the resultant potions are not cheap. But our negroni featuring Tanqueray No. Ten, Campari and Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth with a squeeze of zest, strained gently over a big chunk of ice was sublime. Try too the Moscow mule with effervescent homemade ginger beer, or other strange stimulants made with thyme, dill or coriander.
TOP 2 – Glory Bar by Stikliai
The newest venue by the legendary Stikliai Hotel and Restaurant owners is this very upmarket club which has its eye firmly set on attracting the city’s most happening people. There is strict face-control (primarily designed to keep out teenyboppers) and you will need to be well-dressed to make it in. Even the DJs wear designer-labels: it is that kind of place and Vilnius is all the better for it. This is where the smart-set comes to party and feel superior: if you manage to make it in and join them no doubt you will too.
TOP 3 – Sky bar
Churning out scores of excellent cocktails and still providing not one but two extraordinary views from the 22nd floor, a trip to Vilnius without a trip to SkyBar isn’t really a trip at all. Rewarding at any time of the evening, the best times to drop by are as the sun is setting or late at the weekend when the place takes on a distinctively clubby feel. The aforementioned views, which get snapped up quickly by visitors who head to the tables by the windows immediately on entering, include not only the best panorama of Old Town there is but, less popular but an extraordinary contrast all the same, a view to the vast concrete sleeping districts that house the majority of the city’s residents.