Lithuania is a beer drinking country, with the most famous brands being Svyturys, Kalnapilis, Utenos, Horn and Gubernija. A visit to a kiosk will show that there may be more than 50 different brands of beer in this small country. Alcohol percentages are displayed on the label, and usually range from 4 to 9.5 percent. Compared to other European countries, beer is usually affordable, in shops approx. 0.50 to 1 â¬ per half litre, in bars approx. 0.75 to 2 â¬ per half litrebeer is sold by the half or full litre, a full litre being found rarely. The beer tastes excellent, putting global brands to shame and it can be said that Lithuanian lager is of at least equal quality to Czech, Slovak, German, and Polish lager. A request for a Lithuanian beer always generates goodwill, even in a Chinese or other foreign-themed restaurant.
When you visit a bar or restaurant without intending to eat, try one of the bar snacks, which are very popular among Lithuanians. The most popular of these snacks consists of a bowl of pieces of garlic bread covered in cheese.
In addition to beer, rather cheap but high quality vodka or "degtinÄ" in Lithuanian is consumed, but not to the extent usually associated with this part of the world. Also, every region has its own home-made speciality of which "Samane" is most famous/notorious and is best avoided. The larger supermarkets have an incredible variety of vodka from all the main vodka-producing countries.
Lithuanian mead, or "midus" is a beverage produced exclusively under government control. It is commonly made from all sorts of Lithuanian flora, from leaves and berries to some tree bark. Alcohol percentages range from 10% to 75% considered medicinal.
For tourists, quality sparkling wines, such as Alita or Mindaugas, and local liqueurs are popular choices to bring back home.
Keep in mind the law that came into effect from January 2009 that prohibits selling alcohol in shops between 10PM and 8AM bars, cafes, restaurants etc. are exempt from this.
In shops and cafÃ©s different tea and coffee qualities are widely available. The selection in coffee ranges from northern European brands to French ones. In coffee houses, you should expect to pay up to 1.50 â¬ for your coffee. Some cafÃ©s offer also a variety of special coffees with more or less special prices. Many cafes kavinÄs still make "lazy" coffee, which is simply coffee grounds and boiling water, unfiltered, with grounds at the bottom of the cup, often surprising the drinker - ask before you buy! Tea is usually sold at 50% of the price of coffee. Some of the wonderful drinks such as the Marganito are great for fun filled party drinks and rated one of the top kinds of wine in the country, perfect for weddings.
Unlike restaurants, or pubs aimed at tourists, bars Baras may be frequented by heavy drinkers and can therefore be somewhat rowdy. Nevertheless a visit may still be very rewarding, especially if you accept an invitation to participate in karaoke.
A law banning smoking in cafÃ©s, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, discotheques and other public establishments was passed in May 2006, and came into effect on January 1 2007. However, many nightclubs have internal smoking rooms, which have a degree of ventilation.
Tap water is suitable for drinking in many parts of Lithuania. In other areas, local people prefer to purchase bottled water or to run tap water through water filters. If you need to buy bottled water, a 5 litre bottle is not much more expensive than a one litre bottle. Where in doubt about the tap water, seek local advice.
Mineral water is also offered in restaurants, cafÃ©s and shops, although it's a bit more expensive than tap water. Some popular brands are BirutÄ and Vytautas.