A refuge for the sustenance-seeker

  • 2008-01-23
  • By Michael Durnan

NEW LIFE: Renovations to this old favorite have given it an eclectic interior.

VILNIUS - Exploring your way around Vilnius you'll find that the twists and turns of the labyrinth-like Old Town backstreets offer a plethora of pleasant eating and drinking venues, many of which remain open well into the wee hours.
Among the best 's and perhaps most underrated 's deals in town is Mano Kavine, a charmingly inviting tavern ever-ready to welcome a weary wanderer in from the winter chill outside.
The inviting aura greeting visitors to Mano necessitates experiencing this exceptionally hospitable venue first-hand.

Upon entering the bar, a well-lit, almost Hemingway-inspired atmosphere begins to unveil itself. A pleasantly rustic bar echoing ages past sits nestled beneath an artsy upper lounge suspended by wires from the ceiling.
Propped up against the bar, a friendly gathering of locals and ex-pats mix drink and conversation late into the evening to the prompt attention of smiling waitresses stylishly clad in jet black outfits (and bearing the label "Most friendly people in Vilnius").
Mano excels at efficiently utilizing floor space, thus the cozy intimacy of the bar area makes it a great place to sit back and take in the surroundings.
And making his clients feel as if they are wining and dining in a home away from home is the goal of Aurimas, the warm-hearted and gregariously friendly engine running Mano. The past several months have seen him inject a new vitality and rejuvenating spirit into this classic Vilnius establishment (established 1999).
What was once regarded as a grungier hangout better known for card games and table football has been artistically transformed into an edgy and trend-setting bar restaurant, sporting a renovated interior and revamped dinner menu.

Gone is the pub grub, replaced by an inspired fusion menu of taste bud tantalizing specialties. Among the menu's highlights are a diverse selection of tapas, cuisine ranging from Tex Mex to Southeast Asian, and the highly recommended Asparagus laced Salmon dish. Also noteworthy are the Malaysian noodle stew, duck cooked in honey and spicy taco soup.
More traditional Lithuanian lunch specials consisting of homemade salads and pastas are also available at a bargain 8 's 14 litas (2.32 's 4.05 euros). Turning to drinks, Mano offers a wide selection of approximately 15 different Czech, Belgian, and Dutch beers, noteworthy of which are the Dutch Trappist ales. Additionally, the restaurant offers more than 30 wines and very reasonably priced cocktails 's try a well-prepared Mojito or a Long Island Iced Tea that won't leave your wallet empty.

The interior renovations of Mano Kavine have produced an eclectic mix of styles catering to different needs and moods. Hardwood floors beneath freshly painted peach-colored walls induce an earthy sense of ease and relaxation, while the tavern-style bar is a great place to find thoughtful conversation.
Make your way through a semi-hidden hallway behind the bar and the corridor opens up to reveal a newly refurbished lounge area ideally suited for a romantic evening or private party. Coffee-colored leather couches blend in nicely against the walls, while a smattering of art from West Africa, India and the Mediterranean adds further decoration. Hanging from the ceiling, a projector screen is also available for sports matches.

Overall, Mano's new look effectively caters to a diverse clientele: artists, young professionals, foreign travelers and students melt the evening away dining, drinking, and lounging until the last client calls it a night. Come check it out, you'll probably find yourself returning time and time again.

Mano Kavine
Boksto g. 7, Vilnius, Tel. +370 5 215 3000
Open weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.,
weekends 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.