Tucked along the street of Visų Šventųjų, just a few minutes away from Hales market, hides a cocktail mecca—Apoteka. Considering that the signboard reminds a vintage pharmacy, from the outside there’s little to suggest the existence of the bar, so you might miss it while strolling along.
Once entered, the dimly lit space hidden from the general eye reminds you of a pharmacy theme through subtle hints like interior details and drinks’ setup. The setting is refined but not too uptight, meaning that you don’t have to wear a suit to feel like you belong here. You know the cocktails will be good when the bartenders are impeccably dressed as pharmacists and they pick up some of the ingredients with a pair of tweezers.
Apoteka is not your sex-on-the-beach or whisky and cola type of place. Behind the bar, primarily seasonal ingredients are used, conveniently found at the market close by. Monthly specials—the freshest and newest inventions—are always listed on the very first page of the cocktail menu. The list of drinks proudly boasts their own creations with a few twists and some yummy snacks for the hungry folks.
Under the guidance of two bartenders deeply devoted to their craft, Vainius and Karolis, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be served the perfect drink according to what your taste buds prefer. The staff are not only patient enough to take you through the cleverly constructed cocktail list but also share some of the secrets behind the art of mixing drinks.
This small and cosy bar has become deservedly popular among connoisseurs of alcohol as it aims to educate and promote a refined cocktail culture in Vilnius, where you can get crafty cocktails with everything from gin to rum so that even the pickiest of gourmets can find their bliss.
In a nutshell
Must-try: Pretty much any recommended or rum-infused cocktail
Average price: 8-10 Euro
Booking: Be sure to reserve a table as there are only 27 seats available.
Vilnius Playground: How did the idea of a bar like Apoteka come about?
Vainius & Karolis: The concept is primarily a cocktail bar, and when it comes to the pharmacy theme, it was chosen because back in the day quite a few concoctions originated at drug stores. Also, similarly themed bars are common abroad, so we thought that Vilnius is ready for one too.
VP: How do you craft the perfect drink for, let’s say, a first-time visitor? What’s the first thing you do?
V&K: Well, we start off with serving water. (Duh, silly me 😊). At Apoteka, everything is very individualised when crafting a cocktail. So if a person is new to the cocktail world, we then ask about favourite tastes like do they prefer sour or bitter, or we take a different route and ask about preferred ingredients, and we build up from there.
VP: How would you describe Apoteka in three qualities?
V&K: Cosiness, attention to details and freshness.
VP: Whether it’s an emotion or experience, what do you wish that every customer would bring with them after having a drink at your bar?
We’d like that Apoteka would be the place that elevates people’s mood and brings some novelty and knowledge into their lives.
V&K: We’d like that Apoteka would be the place that elevates people’s mood and brings some novelty and knowledge into their lives. Whenever there’s something new on the bar shelves, we always try to share it with our guests, whether it’s a new trend, spirit, or the way of preparing a drink.
VP: Your top three places to go for a cocktail are?
VP: We’d like to thank the Apoteka team for a warm chit chat and sharing their pharmacy secrets with us!