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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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).


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Coffee shops on every corner

p1030939The first thing I noticed in the centre of Vilnius and the Old Town was the abundance of coffee shops.

They are on every street corner, often opposite each other. Probably more coffee shops than churches.

A few years ago one opened in the Europa shopping centre, Double- Coffee I think it was called but it didn’t last. Times have changed.

p1000774When I lived in Kaunas for a while I got to like Vero Cafe which later arrived in Vilnius. It reminds me of Costa at home in the UK. The one at the end of Gedimino is still there which is where I went for my first cup.

p1030950I was asked if I wanted Brazilian or Indonesian coffee and I realised that they now sold Orang Utang organic coffee – just like the coffee they sell in my favourite coffee shop back home in Burnley Lancashire.

And there is now one at the bottom of Pilies g. near Bernardiniu g. en route to our hotel the Shakespeare.

I vaguely remembered that there used to be a nice wine bar in the vicinity and wondered if this was the same place. However they told me it hadn’t been a wine bar latterly.

Undaunted I went into the back room and checked out the vaulted ceiling – and it was the same place.p1030940

p1000849And there’s a Coffee Inn directly opposite, although I didn’t sample their coffee because of the long queue (was that a good sign or just poor service?).

If you walk towards Gedimino there is another where a bank used to be on the corner, opposite Vero Cafe.

p1000889Walk back and a little further up Pilies g. and there’s a coffee shop in the bookshop on the left with a nice wall display as a backdrop.

Vilnius isn’t short of good coffee shops that’s for sure. And wine bars too, but that’s another story.

PS Coffee is good for you

Graffiti still an eyesore in Vilnius

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Since my last visit 2 years ago the graffiti in Vilnius seems to have got worse. Side streets off Pilies street in the old town are particular target areas.p1000848 p1000806 p1000799 p1000758 p1000757 p1000756 p1000755 p1000754

One or two look like they have some artistic merit but the majority are just tags. And some are dated 2015 which suggests they’ve been there at least a year.

Surely someone sees people doing it. Does no-one care? It certainly hasn’t improved since last time I posted about it.