The author of these tips is the leading expert on Vilnius nightlife and leisure, Daina Dubauskaitė, who has been covering cultural action in the city for a decade already. So, subscribe to this guide and you’ll be in safe hands when you leave your hotel or apartment.
So let’s start the new series in style…
Thursday, Jan 8th
Food and drink: Oysters and whisky night
5PM, “King & Mouse” bar
The two weeks of holidays are over but the calendar doesn’t stop you from having a fancy evening out once in a while. So, here we have oysters that apparently go well with… whisky. At least that’s what the experts at the “King & Mouse” say, and since they serve more than 300 varieties of whisky I’m pretty sure we can trust them. A glass of champagne will be offered for the old-fashioned gourmands, and the feast will only last as long as the last oyster is ordered. Let’s start early then!
Thursday, Jan 8th
Live music: In memory of Tomas Dobrovolskis
7PM, art factory “Loftas”
A Lithuanian multi-instrumentalist, composer and percussionist Tomas Dobrovolskis tragically died in the early hours of January 6th after two weeks in a coma that followed an incident near a local bar. It’s very sad news for the music scene in Lithuania, as Tomas’s extraordinary talent was the inspiration behind many projects, collaborations and creations. On the evening of January 8th a charity concert in memory of Tomas Dobrovolskis will be held in the art factory “Loftas” located in the Naujamiestis district of Vilnius. Around two dozen popular Lithuanian artists and bands have already volunteered to play, including representatives of the jazz, pop, folk and rock scenes. All of the profits will be transferred to Tomas’s family.
Friday, Jan 9th
Food and drink: Ox cheek
“Druskos namai” restaurant
A great weekend should start with a great meal. Welcome to “Druskos namai”, or “The Salt House”, a small but very cozy restaurant near the Town Hall Square. The restaurant has relocated here from Užupis district, and the gastronomical secrets definitely haven’t been lost on the way. The menu is short and that’s always a good sign. Ask for specials or, if you’re a meat lover, dig right into the ox cheek that’s still somehow hard to find in Vilnius.
Saturday, Jan 10th
Movie: Red Bull Storm Chase
4PM, “Pasaka” boutique cinema
If you’re into wind and extreme sports and, for some reason, are now not in one of the riding spots around the world, there’s a special movie screening just for you on Saturday afternoon. “Red Bull Storm Chase” is a movie following a project in three storms in Tasmania, Cornwall and Ireland, with ten windsurfers. That was some of the most extreme windsurfing to ever take place and the footage is unreal. The screening is free and you can donate any sum you want for Akinys, a legendary Lithuanian rider who is now recovering after spinal trauma.
Sunday, Jan 11th
Exhibition: Romualdas Šilinskas, Unfamiliar and Familiar Architect
10AM-6PM, National museum
The National Museum might not be the most fascinating part of a trip to Vilnius – of course the permanent exhibition is interesting in its own way, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Neither is a small but rather substantial exhibition depicting the life and art of a Lithuanian architect – and painter – Romualdas Šilinskas (http://silinskas.lt/en/). You’ll only see a few drawings and pictures of his architectural work (some of it was totally inspired by Gaudi – and sadly not preserved for future generations), and the rest of the exhibition is dedicated to Šilinskas’s love of Vilnius. Drawings and paintings of all scales represent various stages in the artist’s life and various angles of our capital. The most touching part is the sound recordings that Šilinskas made when becoming blind… One might say he was painting with his words as he was trying to record the ideas for the future.
Monday, Jan 12th
Live music: Floor Jazz: The Swing Cats
9PM, “Floor” restaurant & bar
Monday is a semi-official jazzday in Vilnius and it has been for quite some time. Concerts and jam sessons have been moving around different locations and for the last few years the place to be was SoulBox. Unfortunately it had to close due to many different circumstaces, but the building wasn’t occupied by a fast food restaurant… Thankfully! Floor is a restaurant that has plenty of room for both musicians and dancers. The Swing Cats will be needing the latter, as the local band plays the greatest hits of the 1920s epoque. The entrance is free, and you can book a table if your shoes aren’t made for dancing.
Tuesday, Jan 13th
Movie: We Will Sing
Various cinemas in Vilnius
January 13th is a memorial day for victims of the events of January 1991, also known as the Day of Freedom Defenders. A British director Robert Mullan decided to recreate the bloody events of that cold Lithuanian winter and, just in time, presents us with a drama about a group of protesters that gather around the TV tower in Vilnius to protect it from Soviet tanks and troops. It is a second attempt of R. Mullan to look into the history of Lithuania – his first movie was a story about the most famous Lithuanian composer and painter, Čiurlionis.