Time for a Vilnius walk about to check the place out a bit and find some drinks. This old town area is sweet, cobblestone streets and older buildings, churches, and statues. They’re nicely lit, we go passed a museum and tower with columns glowing soft yellow.
We find what seems to be the main bar district and go into a place called Gringo.
Nothing Mexican or Spanish about the joint. They’re playing Buffalo soldier on arrival then Oasis, typical hostel lounge playlist. Safe and Sound by Capital Cities comes on and brings some life to a neighboring table of Brits.
Gringo seems like a decent enough hang but it’s hot as balls. We pound our beers, mop our brows and bounce.
Around the corner we spot a place called Alchemikas. In my experience, any place called alchemy is usually worth checking out since they probably pride themselves in mixology. A surprising number of cities have a bar called alchemy or the alchemist and it’s usually all about balanced cocktails.
There’s an older bouncer guy at the door dressed all in black. He stops us from going in. He reminds me of Jonathan Banks, the fixer from Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul. He doesn’t even talk, just holds up his hand. Are we getting the tourist block or dress code maybe? He looks through the door behind him and then turns back and gives us the nod. I guess there are only so many tables and when they’re full, that’s that. We get the last one. Sweet
Great atmosphere, a central bar with a half dozen seats and then just five other tables and a tucked away booth in the back. Two tough as nails bartenders with tattoos and dyed hair are slinging like pros. Green Absinthe lighting and a few neighbors have the spoon and drip apparatus going on. Probably a tourist favorite since they don’t jack the grande wormwood over here, the hallucinogenic ingredient. A quick look around and it seems like all locals in here though.
We sit down and a girl comes over with menus and water. It’s nice to be waited on at a bar. Wow. Insane drink menu that’s 8 pages long. Classics, prohibition era, modern, unusual cocktails, their own concoctions, this place has it all. Slightly higher prices of course but if these are done well, who cares. (And by higher prices I’m talking 6 bucks a drink instead of 2-3.)
The girl comes back for our orders and MacKay puts in a Maritime favorite, Dark and Stormy. I point to the negroni on the menu and ask if I can swap the gin with mezcal. “Yes, of course. Not this negroni though, the aperol and mezcal will probably not mix well”, nice, I was gonna ask to hold it, “Yep, just a negroni with mezcal instead of gin.”
It sounds like the bartenders had a bet going about what we would order. When our server tells them one raises his eyebrows and I overhear him say to the other, “Dark and Stormy, aaaand”, “…and?”, “Mezcal Negroni”, “Mezcal Negroni?”, “Umm hmmm.” They were probably expecting the absinthe drip.
Darkside’s Paper trails comes on. Nice. The drinks are excellent. Brilliantly mixed and balanced. Actually, they’re so good we don’t even switch em up to try any of the other 200 cocktails listed, just get three rounds of these. Killer music in here and the vibe is chill. Size is perfect too, this was a good find.
A witchy looking girl is launching into a story at a table beside us in Lithuanian and it’s an entertaining, operatic sounding tale that has her friends doubled over in hysterics. The absinthe must be decent too.
Alright we’ve been here a while and The Fixer has been turning people away the whole time since all seats are taken. Time to move along and let some other folks enjoy the place. A good foundation for a ripper has been laid, what other trouble can we get into?