Table of Contents
- What to Drink in Vilnius
- Our Favorite Vilnius Bars and Pubs
- Plan Your Vilnius Stay
- Hungry for More in Vilnius?
- Pin It for Later
- About the Authors
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We didn’t plan to drink a lot in Vilnius. We believed our mission was more food-focused but we were wrong.
After imbibing mead, beer and wine on the first day of our visit, we realized that drinking was an integral part of the Vilnius culinary scene. With just a few tweaks, we broadened our horizons to include a sampling of the Lithuanian capital’s best liquid libations.
What to Drink in Vilnius
If you’re wondering what to drink in Vilnius, the answer is whatever you want. Beyond mead, bear and wine, expect to find drinks like kvass, a fermented low-alcohol beverage made from rye bread as well as crafted cocktails, cider and specialty coffee.
As we drank our way around Vilnius, we sampled drinks inspired by survival cuisine – something that developed during Lithuania’s lean years of Soviet rule. Once Lithuania declared its independence in 1991, the communists left. However, survival ingredients like forest mushrooms, natural honey and wild berries stayed.
Our Favorite Vilnius Bars and Pubs
The variety of drinking establishments in Vilnius is astounding.
Perhaps the number of Vilnius bars and pubs is related to the city’s large student population and increasing number of tourists. Or maybe Vilnius locals are making up for lost time when drinking certain potent potables, like craft beer at bars, was taboo under Soviet rule.
Either way, we were happy to join the Vilnius drinking party during a week filled with craft beer, fruit wine, fermented kvaas, sophisticated cocktails, Lithuanian liquor shots and honey-flavored mead.
Seven nights was just enough time for us to drink at the best Vilnius bars and pubs without jeopardizing the health of our livers. From dive bars to modern cocktail clubs, we dove into the Vilnius nightlife with wide eyes, open ears and a thirst for the best.
The best bars in Vilnius rival their contemporaries in global cities like Paris and London. Just like young chefs are revitalizing the city’s local restaurant scene, young mixologists are making their mark on the Vilnius bar scene.
When you’re deciding where to drink in Vilnius, we recommend the following bars:
Nomads Cocktail Bar
We’d like to think we would have wandered into Nomad Cocktail Bar using our intuition based on the bar’s name alone but we’ll never know for sure. We lived as nomads for three years after all.
Instead, we discovered our pick for the best Vilnius bar based on a recommendation from the team at the extraordinary Nineteen18.
Intimate and cozy with a sophisticated yet bohemian vibe, Nomad offers a rotating menu of unique cocktail creations. These cocktails feature top shelf liquors and house made mixers as well as fresh herbs, berries and flowers
The menu had a ‘dance around the world’ theme during our visit. After considering eight lively concoctions (Capoeira, Flamenco, Nichibu, Lithuanian Folk, Can-Can, Haka, Waltz and Lindy Hop), we opted to try two, the Haka and the Waltz.
Topped with a melange of berries, dried pineapple, fresh mint and cinnamon sticks, the Haka rum drink didn’t disappoint with ingredients like almond syrup and house made tattoo ink bitters. Though seemingly simpler in appearance, the Waltz packed an equal wallop thanks to absinthe and a foamy egg white top layer
Bartender Rūta Šeduik created our cocktails with finesse and a blowtorch as we chilled on velvet chairs and listened to tunes played on the bar’s retro turntable. By the time we finished our final sips, the classically trained musician felt like a friend, albeit a friend with cocktail benefits.
Enjoy a nightcap at Nomads Cocktail Bar after a special dinner at Nineteen18. The nearby world-class restaurant serves some of the best food in the Baltics.
Nomads Cocktail Bar is located at 5, Didžioji g., Vilnius 01128, Lithuania.
Located next to an urban park near Halės Turgus, the city’s iconic market hall, Apoteka is another intimate Vilnius bar that takes the art of cocktails seriously.
Merriam-Webster defines mixology as the art or skill of preparing mixed drinks. Apoteka’s bartenders practice this art with a full range of bar tools and ingredients, many of which are house made and stored in vintage glass bottles. (See photo above.) They also dress like pharmacists while preparing their magical alcoholic remedies.
We visited Apoteka on a busy weekday evening. Not able to find an available table, we squeezed our way onto the bar, sharing a stool, which ended up being a good move. This location provided us with a front-row view to the cozy bar’s mixology action.
After consulting with the bartenders (or should we say pharmacists?), we settled on two drinks – a Forager and a Beehive. Both whisky drinks appealed to us based on their ingredients as well as their connection to Lithuania survival food culture (see above.)
Mushrooms (grybai) and honey (medus) are key components in Lithuanian cuisine and each played starring roles in our cocktails. While the Beehive was a modern cocktail that later inspired us to craft Bee’s Knees cocktails at home, the foamy Forager was the standout with its savory, umami flavor that transported our palettes to Lithuanian forests.
The Whisky Shop & Bar by Duoklė Angelams
The Whisky Shop & Bar by Duoklė Angelams celebrates whisky both in the bottle and in the glass. Though this spirit is more associated with countries like Ireland and Scotland, this Lithuania bar is a mecca for fans of the stiff distilled alcoholic beverage.
The specialty shop sells the biggest selection of whisky in the Baltics. Sourced from countries around the world and in various shapes and sizes, bottles fill the shop’s shelves. More than just whisky, some of these bottles contain liquors like cognac, gin and rum.
The bar side is where the magic happens. During our visit, bartender Julius Gargasas guided us to order a Creole cocktail crafted with bourbon, creole bitters and absinthe. However, the more special drink of the night was a seemingly simple Teeling whisky on the rocks.
The Dublin distillery produced this chocolate porter whisky in collaboration with Genys, a Lithuanian brewery. During the collaboration, Teeling finished the semi-Lithuanian whisky in the brewery’s barrels. The result is whisky gold.
Check this Old Town Vilnius bar’s Facebook page for up-to-date details about its monthly whisky tasting events.
The Whisky Shop & Bar by Duoklė Angelams is located at Pilies g. 25, Vilnius 01123, Lithuania.
Leave your wine impressions behind when you visit Queensberry in Vilnius. Unlike wine produced in countries like France, Italy and South Africa, Lithuanian wine incorporates local ingredients like nettles and gooseberries.
Bartenders at Queensberry pour dozens of wines sourced from regions throughout the country. During our visit, we sampled two of these wines – one produced with rhubarb and the other with chokeberries.
Pair your Lithuanian wine with food. Not just a bar, Queensberry has a kitchen that serves modern Lithuanian cuisine.
Queensberry is located at Didžioji g. 18, Vilnius 01128, Lithuania.
Not your typical Vilnius bar, Garinis Angelas has a futuristic steampunk theme. Kitschy elements abound with every nook and cranny decorated to the max.
Although Garinis Angelas serves a range of beverages including cider, wine, mead and cocktails, we drank pints of Lithuanian beer during our visit. Next time we’ll delve deeper.
Feel free to dress to impress when you drink at Garinis Angelas. You can’t overdo it at this steampunk bar where too much is just enough.
Garnis Angelas is located at Visų Šventųjų g. 5, Vilnius 01306, Lithuania.
Additional Vilnius Bars
One beer isn’t enough but two is too many.
As we learned during a private Urban Adventures tour, beer has been an integral part of Lithuanian food culture for centuries. Though home brewers were forced to brew beer in secrecy during Lithuania’s communist era , the secret is out and craft beer flows freely in Vilnius again.
As is the case in much of the world in cities as diverse as Tallinn and Cape Town, Lithuanian craft beer is surging in popularity. But mead is a popular local option in Vilnius too. Fermented with honey and water, mead has a higher alcohol level compared to beer and often incorporates local products beyond honey.
Based on our weeklong Vilnius pub crawl, these are our picks for the best pubs in Vilnius:
Būsi Trečias was justifiably the first stop during our Vilnius beer tour but maybe it should have been the third. After all, the name of Vilnius’ oldest microbrewery translates to “Will You Be Third?” in a nod to the practice of sharing vodka bottles with two friends during the Soviet era.
Originally a vodka factory, this historic Vilnius pub serves light beer, dark beer, mature beer and even beer cocktails in its ground floor brewpub. They brew their beers in the basement.
Būsi Trečias’s channels their creativity into crafting beer cocktails. Unique ingredients include cherries, blackberries and pink grapefruit.
Don’t blame yourself if you get tipsy at the Vilnius mead bar Girta Bitė. Not only does the name of the bar translate to drunken bee but drinks are incredibly cheap here. At the time of our visit, each glass cost just €2 with tasting options priced at three glasses for €5 and five glasses for €9.
But wait, there’s more! These inexpensive glasses of mead are stronger than most beers, with ABV percentages ranging from 6% to 75%. Consider yourself warned.
Although Girta Bitė specializes in fermented honey drinks, the tiny Vilnius bar also serves beer and snacks in addition to mead. It’s a great spot to explore Lithuania’s culinary heritage in a glass. Or maybe two glasses. Or three.
Weather permitting, drink your mead at an outside table. You will enjoy prime people watching as well as fresh air.
Girta Bitė is located at Gedimino pr. 5, Vilnius 01103, Lithuania.
Šnekutis is a mandatory destination for people who enjoy conversation, beer and food but not necessarily in that order. While the pub’s name translates to talker, a stream of locals and travelers come specifically to consume beer and food.
Although Šnekutis serves other brands of beer, don’t count out the pub’s house brews. The head brewer has beer in his blood as the fourth generation in the craft. We particularly enjoyed Šnekutis Jovaru Alus, a sweet farmhouse ale, that pairs well with food.
The original Šnekutis opened in Pasvalys 1995 and has since been joined by two additional Vilnius locations. The atmosphere is rustic at all three pubs and prices are cheap.
Šnekutis is a great spot to experience traditional Lithuanian food classics like zeppelins (cepelinai), pink soup (šaltibarščiai) and pig’s ears (kiaulės ausi).
Šnekutis has multiple location in Vilnius and they all serve good beer.
Genys Garden Vinius
There’s no need to travel to Genys’ Kaunus brewery to drink Genys beer. Not only is this Lithuatian craft beer available in Vilnius at bars like Apoteka (see above) and at the brewery’s taproom, but beer fans can also drink pints at Genys’ urban beer garden.
During our visit, we drank three different styles of beer – sour, porter and a milkshake ale brewed with raspberries. From its session beers and barrel aged brews to its collaborations with partners like Birra dell’Eremo, Browar Kingpin, and Labietis, Genys is one of the best brewers in Lithuania.
Piano Man Bar
Some Vilnius pubs exclusively serve Lithuanian beer. Piano Man Bar is not one of those pubs.
Is it any wonder that this bar is popular? We think not.
Order a bowl of pink soup at Piano Man Bar. Savvy locals consider it to be the best version in town and we don’t disagree.
Piano Man Bar is located at Islandijos g. 1, Vilnius 01402, Lithuania.
Additional Vilnius Pubs
Plan Your Vilnius Stay
Pin It for Later
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
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We thank Tinggly for hosting us in Vilnius and sponsoring three Urban Adventure tours. Beyond drinks imbibed during these tours, we self-funded all of our Vilnius beverages.
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