I visited Vilnius in January, meaning that it was very, very, very cold. As much as playing in snow + exploring a new city is a recipe for perfection in my eyes, there is only so long you can spend outside when it’s minus 11 degrees out.
Much to my distaste (I realise sarcasm doesn’t really come across in writing), this meant spending a lot of our weekend warming up with a cup of mulled wine or two. Luckily, Vilnius turned out to have loads of places that were cosy, friendly and served fantastic mulled wine. Here are my top picks!
Wine and Smile
I’m going to start with what turned out to be a chain of wine bars. I usually avoid chains, but often when you’re abroad you just don’t know what’s locally owned and what isn’t. We ended up (very much accidentally) visiting three of the six Wine and Smile bars, and falling in love with each and every one!
Wine and Smile is a wine shop, where you can buy a bottle to take away or pay a small corkage fee to enjoy in-store. When we visited the Užupis bar, we bought a litre jug of house white wine (we only went in for one glass but Billy can be a bad influence at times/all the time). The wine wasn’t anything special, but it was nice enough and coupled with the excitement of it being a) a litre; b) in a jug and c) accompanied by a DELICIOUS cheese and meat platter, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
At both of the other Wine and Smiles bars, I had a mulled wine and Billy had a beer. I don’t know about the beer, but the mulled wine was great… the test is usually whether it’s made with actual wine and spices or comes straight out of a packet, and these bars passed the test.
I’ve already written about Say Cheese in my Vilnius food blog (have a read here) but I have to include it here as well because the wine was just as good as the cheese! It’s definitely more of a cheese shop than it is a bar, but sitting in here with a bottle of red wine whilst devouring a plate of cheese so big that I went off cheese for a few hours afterwards, was one of the highlights of my trip.
Casa Del Vino
Another wine bar, which we discovered on the final night. This was a great find when we fancied a night cap but were too tired and full to be in a ‘proper bar’… it was perfectly warm, cosy and quiet. Although the mulled wine was possibly a little too sweet for me here, it was served in a light bulb glass so it still ranks highly in my favourites. Presentation is everything right?
Moving on from wine to fizz, this bar is perfect if you’re celebrating a special occasion. The Bubbles was a little outside of our budget, but as it was my birthday I let Billy treat me to a bottle of Champagne in this classy Champagne bar. There were hundreds of bottles to choose from, so if you’re a fan of the fizzy stuff and have some cash to splash I’d definitely recommend checking it out.
We stopped off at Rhum Room for one last drink on my birthday night and found it to be classy without being in any way pretentious, with a great buzz to the place. We sat on a very comfortable sofa and enjoyed table service and a fantastic Espresso, sorry Rumspresso, Martini whilst putting the world to right.
Bringing down the classiness slightly, let’s talk about Leiciu Bravoras. If there is a micro brewery to be found, Billy will find it and I will be made to consume a large volume of beer. I actually loved this place – not only did it feel authentically Lithuanian and serve great beer, but you could even pour your own beer!
Billy is a bit of a beer nerd and likes to try as many local beers as he can so he ordered a flight, whilst I went for the pour-your-own option and giggled with excitement as an empty glass was brought to the table and the meter on the wall behind us set to zero. Despite being incredibly cheap, the beer was great.
I think this was my favourite bar in Vilnius! You could easily walk past this large shed in Užupis without even realising that ultra-cosiness awaits inside. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet the owner Aurimas in his straw hat and bottle cap covered shirt. I had a mulled wine (of course!) and Billy had half a litre of ‘home brew’, made on site. There was a roaring fire AND a fish tank, so this place really had everything.
Cait Blu Cafe
Continuing with the mulled wine theme, Cait Blu was a great find for the hot stuff, and certainly hit the brief of offering us somewhere to warm up. We managed to get a seat in the window and watch the world go by/people fall over in the snow while enjoying a couple of drinks each and planning where to go next.
Spritz Summer Garden
This would be the perfect place for a day session during the summer, with a fabulous courtyard complete with fairy lights! It was covered in snow when we were there so we sat inside, but the decor made us feel like we were outside and the mulled wine was, once again, excellent. It felt like a great place to share a bottle of fizz or a few cocktails with the girls, whatever the time of year.
These are of course just a fraction of the bars in Vilnius! My favourite thing about all of these places were that they were incredibly welcoming, and not in any way rowdy. I’d love to go back in the summer and experience these bars (and the rest of them!) with their tables and chairs spilling out onto the streets and the buzz of people enjoying a drink in the sun.
If you’d like to read more about Vilnius please have a read of my posts Where to Eat in Vilnius and Trakai and A Very Snowy Weekend in Vilnius. Similarly, if you’ve been to Vilnius I’d love to hear about your experiences so please leave a comment below!