Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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Bars we have lost but won’t miss!

I’ve written about Lola’s bar and the wonderful ambience. We actually found it accidentally.

My colleague and I had been working at the university delivering a workshop and one of the lecturers dropped us off at a bar a little further up LStokuos-Guceviciaus g. at the Tappo D’Oro Vynine.

We went in and it was packed out with locals. We managed to get served and enjoyed the cuts of cold meat. But we couldn’t find anywhere to sit.

Whenever a table became vacant and we sat down the staff moved us on saying it was reserved – despite there being no reserved sign. They seemed to favour the locals

We were pretty fed up by the time we squeezed into a corner and when someone nudged my arm as I was sorting out some change for a tip and it went all over the floor I left it there. As we left we noticed Lola’s further down the street and said we’d try that next time. And we did, several times until it sadly closed.

We never went back to the Tappo D’Oro again and some time later that too was closed down as the area behind it was redeveloped. It was as if it never existed.

Unlike Lola’s bar, we didn’t miss it.


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Bars we have loved and lost – Lola’s Bar

There was a definite something about Lola’s bar which led me to it most nights I was in Vilnius a few years ago. Just off the Old Town on L.Stokuos-Guceviciaus g.

The slightly shabby chic decor with hand written letters from South America, the mis-matched furniture, the decent wine and the pineapple carpaccio!

And the owners were very hospitable. Saule and Indre always looked after us very well.

While my colleague was off at the opera or the theatre refreshing his high-brow tastes I was hanging out in this bar with a bottle of good red wine listening to the music waiting for him to join me.

Oh that playlist: I remember Ray Charles, Cab Calloway (singing Minnie the Moocher which you might remember from the Blues Brothers film) and the neo-tango Spanish/Argentinian collaboration called Otros Aires.

Then he would come in to enjoy the rest of the evening and more wine before we staggered back to our hotel, The Shakespeare, for a final nightcap.

But when we returned on our our next visit in June 2013 we found it was no more! It was being redeveloped as a boutique!

 

 

 

 

 

Musical footnote:

Otros Aires say it is “an electronic-archeological project created between Barcelona and Buenos Aires airports.  It mixes the first tangos and milongas (fast tangos but also used to describe places where these are danced) records of the beginning of the last century with electronic sequences, melodies and words of the 21st century”

Read more about them here at Otros Aires.


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Beer restaurant on Gedimino pr. in Vilnius …. plus ça change

One of the first restaurants we visited in Vilnius over 10 years ago was the beer restaurant on Gedimino pr. not far from the cathedral square. You couldn’t miss it with the statue in the entrance. Was it the pagan beer goddess Ragutiene?

You had to go down the steps, past the microbrewery paraphernalia on your left to enter the main room with smaller side rooms off to the left where we preferred to eat, usually at lunch time.

Not only did it serve a great range of beer from its microbrewery but also good food including beer soup!

 

We also liked the ambience with all the beer posters on the walls in the side room.

The main room is big and one evening we were there hosted a NATO conference meal for delegates at the Lietuva Hotel (now Radisson Blue) along the riverside (somewhere we used to stay until we found the Shakespeare Hotel in the Old Town). I’ve never seen so many top brass, gold braid and fancy hats.

There are so many restaurants to choose from in Vilnius so we don’t notice until a few years later that it had changed its name to Prie Katedros i.e. near the cathedral. Fortunately it was still serving the same kind of food and beer.

 

 

Then last year a new sign appeared: “Craft and Draft” obviously cashing in on the demand for craft beer. And all the signage was in English, a trend I noticed in a few places in the city.

I also noticed the statue had disappeared – perhaps too raunchy for the artisans crafting the beer. A shame really and I didn’t get a chance to check if the food is still as good. Perhaps next time?

 

My earlier posts on beer


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Tastes change in Vilnius

A few years ago I enjoyed visiting “A taste of Lithuania”  (Lietuviškas Skonis) just off the cathedral square near the Amberton Hotel on Odminių g.

It was a family run cafe bar which made very nice fresh food, provided free wi-fi and sold some nice souvenirs. (See my earlier post on it). They also had a shop at Vilnius airport for a while.

Last year when I went it was nowhere to be seen. Now there is a spa and massage parlour in its place.

Whether it will still be there next time I visit is anyone’s guess.


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Goodbye Piccolo Canopi and sėkmės

You’ve probably gathered from my last post that we like our food in Lithuania. And one of our favourite places was the little cafe round the corner from the Shakespeare Hotel in Vilnius, Piccolo Canopi. I hadn’t been to Vilnius for a couple of years but a fellow blogger posted a review in February this year so I knew it was still there.p1010244

The cafe was opened in October 2010 by Tadas and Karolina Zukauskais and it coincided with Tadas’s birthday. So as I was there in October I thought I’d pop in and wish him happy birthday as my colleague did on a previous trip when I couldn’t make it.

p1030937But it wasn’t there! Gone. Replaced by a linen shop.

The lovely lady who ran the shop, Ūla, didn’t know where they had gone. But she was happy to tell me that she and her Ukrainian husband Vitaly were planning to move to the UK. So everyone’s moving.

Wherever you have gone , Tadas, Karolina and the twins, Good luck for the future. I enjoyed your lovely restaurant and appreciated your kindness.


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The beautiful people defy the weather and turn out in Vilnius

Walking up Pilies g. towards the old town hall I noticed preparations going on outside the Du Broliai Boutique.p1000800

I wandered up Stiklių g. to Mamma Mia’s for a coffee and  a cake and to check out the neighbourhood.

Was Mamma Mia even still there, and the silversmith at terra recognita galerija, and Markus ir Ko? Thankfully yes to all three.

Refreshed I walked back in the gathering gloom and found the reception in full swing. A large screen, a repetitive, forgettable music-by-numbers soundtrack, and waiters offering glasses of bubbly around – but not to bystanders. Of whom there were many, including a couple of Japanese tourists with the longest lenses I’ve ever seen not on TV.p1000804p1000805p1000804

Ah well, at least the guests were undaunted by the cold damp weather (must have wreaked havoc with their hair though).