A Shot in the Dark

  • 2008-02-20
  • By Greg Twirbutt
VILNIUS - The new cocktail bar, Shooters, in Vilnius's Old Town has managed to strike a cozy balance between elegance and unpretentiousness, with enough healthy dashes of frivolity thrown into the mix to keep it interesting on each subsequent visit.
The bar offers more than 300 types of cocktails and 30 varieties of shots in an atmosphere that is at once sexy, sophisticated, and friendly. Heavy, wrought iron bar chairs, candlelight, and music that's conducive to conversation makes this a perfect spot for the 30 years and older demographic and/or aspiring or jaded romantics.

Weekdays tend to be a touch quieter, while the weekends focus more on relieving the week's stresses. There are regular theme parties which are always connected to alcohol in some fashion. At one such affair, shots were served in large plastic syringes.
"We provoke, we smile, we laugh," one of Shooters's energetic, fun-loving owners told me with a twinkle in his eye.

And, indeed, I could see that the staff looked happy 's they actually seemed to enjoy what they were doing.  They were absolutely professional when it came to the excellent service standards and drink quality, but not to such an extent as to be boring. I watched with a smile as they "tested" a variety of colorful and often flaming shots. I am a stickler for research and, of course, volunteered my help: scarcely a few moments had passed before I had rolled up my sleeves and was indulging in tasty shots whose names I can't vaguely remember.
Even the security guard at the front door seemed to be friendly 's not at all the usual serial killer-ish variety that look like they relish bludgeoning those who "get out of line:" he actually smiled and wished me a good evening when I stepped out into the Vilnius winter (or maybe those shots were just more potent than I had allowed for).

In support of this nonviolent approach, there's a special shot given "on the house" to some of those who cause trouble. A revolting mix of Bailey's and lemon, it forms a kind of curd when you swirl it in your mouth as, of course, you are instructed to do. The description alone was enough to keep me in check.
Sitting at the bar almost guarantees a friendly conversation with one of the bartenders or other sippers. To get to know that special new someone, or if you're here with a small group and need a space that's a bit more private, head downstairs to two very dimly lit super comfortable couches. Bar club members with special cards are allowed access to an additional room for VIPs where members need to swipe their cards to enter.
Average long drink prices are around 10 euros. The few cocktails I tried were expertly prepared, generous, and delicious. A simple mojito was terrific, featuring a generous amount of fresh mint - tingly on the palate and thoroughly refreshing. The more complex Buena Vista Havana - made with brown rum, kumquats, mango juice, passion fruit juice syrup, brown sugar, mint, lemon and lime juice and soda 's brought back memories of summer and made me momentarily forget the snow outside.

In March, Shooters plans to start serving sushi in collaboration with the nearby Osaka restaurant so visitors can drink, be merry, and eat.
Highly recommended!

Totoriu 3,
tel. +370 655 52518