A city council member and an activist filmmaker team up to make the Lithuanian capital a more friendly place, presenting “Friendly Vilnius”, a listing of local businesses that welcome people of all nationalities, lifestyles, abilities and orientations.

Both locals and visitors of Vilnius will benefit from the website “friendlyvilnius.com”, say the initiative's authors, filmmaker Romas Zabarauskas and Vilnius City Council member Mark Adam Harold. People will be able to check what “friendliness” policies local businesses adopt towards categories like “disability”, “English speaking” or “vegetarian”, among others.

“Vilnius is once again becoming a global society with different people visiting, seeking refuge or simply living here and being themselves. Therefore it’s time to expand the limits of our friendliness. It’s time to get to know each other and to help each other,” Zabarauskas, who is openly gay, explained his motivation.

The project is an outgrowth of a previous initiative by Zabarauskas, “LGBT friendly Vilnius”, which listed cafes, clubs and bars in the Lithuanian capital that were openly supportive of the LGBT community.

Romas Zabarauskas. Photo by Tomas Kurkinas
Romas Zabarauskas. Photo by Tomas Kurkinas

The patron of “Friendly Vilnius” and Vilnius City Councillor Mark Adam Harold is optimistic: “I love Vilnius so much, I chose to immigrate here from London eleven years ago. I am proud to support this project and I will be working hard with Romas to make Vilnius a more smiley place. This project will undoubtedly improve the economy and atmosphere of the city.”

Fifteen businesses have already joined “Friendly Vilnius“ project. Among them: “Odontika” dental clinic, “Jungle Street” tattoo shop, “atsikeli ir varai” fashion label, as well as cafes “Cozy”, “Niño”, “Rhum Room”, “Cafe de Paris”, “ŠMC kavinė”, “Le Butcher”, “Popierinis baras”, “Marsas”, “Drama Burger”, “Bistro 18”, “Zoe's bar&grill”, “Inkilas Bar”.

“Friendly Vilnius” will be launched at an event on Thursday night, 6 PM, at Cafe de Paris in central Vilnius.

The “Friendly Vilnius” printed map is planned for the summer season.

Mark Adam Harold
Mark Adam Harold
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