1988 / 1991


Laumė café that was working during the Soviet times was famous for its good coffee and sweets but the most important thing there was the sense of community. Youngsters who lived in the spirit of Laumė became a subculture of sorts, a group that called themselves lauminiai.

Laumė café in Laisvės Alėja was a point of strong attraction and a place, where the creative life of Kaunas youth was going on. When we left for the mountains and my mind would revolve around coming back to Kaunas, I used to think about Laumė café as a place which I would like to visit first.

Arūnas Kulikauskas, photographer: It did not matter that perestroika was coming. We knew it. Yet the desire to resist was a great one. I went to Kaunas and wanted to take photos in front of Laumė café. This is where I met the poet Gintaras Patackas. I later illustrated two of his books. [...] Writer Robertas Keturakis used to joke that I am the only one who would take photos openly in front of Laumė. He said that security structures took photos in secret, while I did it openly. [...] It was a document. To tell the truth, I did not take enough photos back then. I did not have to aspire for art but capture everything happening around as realistically as possible. I was even arrested several times for taking photos at the station or for a photo of an old man collecting sugar next to Laumė. Back then, you could end up in a mental asylum for things like that, so it was no joke. (See Arūnas Kulikauskas. Per pasaulį fotografijos batais. Interview by Milda Kiaušaitė. Published on 04 11 2011. Online access:

Kęstutis Navakas, poet: We fell from the clouds next to Laumė quite early. It was one of the most legendary places of Kaunas, even though to this day, I cannot understand why hippies, bohemians and tramps of Kaunas chose this confectionery for their sessions of dolce far niente. There were lots of candy and many of us. Laumė connected us all, gave us a shared denominator; [in Laumė], masters of poetry and representatives of the first hippie generations used to remain silent or talk to each other as equals.

Erika Drungytė, poet: Coffee was there, but the most important thing was to see, hear and lead the conversation to some conclusion, know something or declare something for all of us together. [...] Artists used to début their work in Laumė. If someone wrote a poem, he or she could read it out loud in the company and receive acclaim or critique.

Violeta Šoblinskaitė-Aleksa, writer: There was this café Laumė. It stuck to my mind the most. Maybe because we frequented it while we were still relatively young. I drank coffee here with [...] Jonas Vaitkus, Gintaras Patackas, theatre director Stanislovas Rubinovas, also poets Gintaras Gutauskas, Gintautas Gavenavičius, Virginijus Bespalovas, philosophers Gintaras Beresnevičius and Edvardas Čiuldė.

Rytis Bulota, political researcher: We used to sit in Laumė and Menai (Menininkų namai, Home of the Artists) all the time around 1988–1991. The audience was diverse: bohemians, subcultures and simply drunks. It was like a club to meet like-minded people. We used to speak about music and organise groups. Alcohol was also not in the last place, of course. Some cared about other things. Shocking someone was also welcome: with hairdos or clothes. We did not gather in Miesto Sodas. I think that place was more for the hippies from the 1960s–70s.