VILNIUS - If you want to avoid the candy wrapped 18-year old girls and the obnoxious locals (and tourists) they attract, then follow me, the pied piper of wine bars in Vilnius this evening.
Wine bars in Vilnius have come a long way since they started a few years ago and people are starting to get a taste for grapes, rather than only barley. Of course if you ask Jonas Petraitis (John Smith in Lithuania), he will tell you through drunken breath that Svyturys Ekstra beer is the only drink in the world, but other people have got a sniff of the trail. Let's join them.
On any given night you can enjoy the wine bars of the capital, which have different moods from night to night. On Saturday night the bars are pumping and full of people out to have a good time and meet other people.
A great start to your wine night is Vynine Tappo D'oro just near the Klaipeda Hotel. You have to book early sometimes to get a table at this place, but it is worth the effort. Some of my friends call this "home" and ask me why I never stop home and say hello. Sounds a bit like my mum. At Tappo D'Oro you should get any wine as even the house wine is great. Grab a plate of cheese and you're laughing.
Don't get too comfortable because it's just the start of the night. Next we move onto the new and trendy La Boheme where the cool kids hang. This place has a cavernous inside and if the atmosphere is right, can rev up the evening. If you want to be cool and calm however, there are smaller rooms at the back with lounge chairs.
Of course, there are two more bars to go before you can settle down. Bar Bobo is a hop skip and jump away and this is where you will drink wine to the soothing sounds of The Best of Def Leppard and other 'great' hits from that era of rock. This bar is very eclectic and not for everyone, but if you can get over the owner's dog howling all the time, then it's a place to remember.
Last but not least, welcome to InVino. This place is usually packed out later in the evening and it's hard to get a table, so I hope you can still stand when you get here. This place is great to meet people and drink wine while chilling to good music.
If you want to just stay at home and relax with a bottle of wine, then you can always go pick one up and put your feet up next to the radiator. Some people go to the wine specialty shops and pay for it, but my amateur sommelier palate tells me that you can get a good bottle at the supermarket.
If you spend about 20 litas and up on a carefully chosen bottle, you will not be disappointed. Throw into the mix some traditional Lithuanian Dziugas cheese and Bob's your uncle.