“ Bar in Vilnius, Lithuania. „
I recently made a small trip to the Baltics, I used to go a couple of times a year but this was my first visit in a couple of years since I'd been to Vilnius, my favourite European capital. I found myself there on a Saturday and really wanted to watch Liverpool v Man U. Unlike most Europeans, Lithuanians have almost no interest in football - they are basketball mad and finding somewhere that shows it can be a bit of an art! The old expat pubs, for one reason or another have closed down, The Portabello, up near the Gate of Dawn was closed and a friend of ours called people in the bar trade to try to locate the forbidden fruit in a rush before kick off.
Near the corner of Vilniaus Gatve and Islandijos Gatve, in a rather innocuous entrance lies Gringo, who have supposedly only moved to this location fairly recently. Gringo turned out to be a top find. A bar is the first thing you see when opening the door and it serves several foreign beers, I'm a lover of Lithuanian beer so it would have been nice to drink locally, strangely it was selling Stella Artois as its main beer at a really reasonable price (6 litas). The draught Guiness (8 litas) they sell is a bargain and supposedly tastes good too (I was driving at the time, so can't confirm that personally)
The pub goes for a teak wood look, bar stools surround the bar, there's a couple of steps up to another small floor with another bar in pretty much the same format and then there's several small tables with chairs in front of it. The decor is nothing special, simple but effective.
The bar in question is adorned with cash notes and there's also an England football flag, the biggest bonus other than the TVs showing football had to be the friendly, smiley staff that seemed to have a superb rapport with the regulars that were split into two camps - Liverpool and Man United. I would expect this kind of watering hole to attract foreigners but apart from a Brazilian guy and us, everyone was local. The atmosphere really was very good, everyone seemed to know each other (which is quite usual in Vilnius) and a beautiful husky made an appearance and spent a lot of the game battling for attention with Luis Suarez.
Having arrived 9 minutes in to the game, all the seats were already gone, whilst not really worth moaning about, the pub is rather on the small side, so you just have to make sure you get their early if you don't want to stand.
Although it's quite far from Pilies, I imagine that in peak months, it may attract more foreigners which could of course change the atmosphere a little bit.
I can't claim to have eaten here, it is primarily a pub after all but reading online it seems that the food in the previous location got rave reviews and I have faith that it would be good here too. According to their website they serve up snacks and hot sandwiches. They also have free Wifi and a football table.