What’s on the menu at Bar Volo, the new location of Toronto’s favourite craft-beer bar
Beer, of course. With 26 lettered taps pouring everything from amber lagers and pale ales to sour IPAs and barrel-aged saisons, there’s plenty to satiate a craft beer lover. But it’s the six hand pumps pouring English cask ales next to the alphabet taps that is the true passion for the Moranas. Right now, they’re serving a rotating list of porters and ales from California, Colorado and Washington, plus an English bitter called Three New Grains from Caledon, Ontario brewer Sonnen Hill. Most of the pumps will be Volo originals once they start up their own brewery in the back.
The wine menu, including sparkling, white, pink and orange by the glass and bottle, marks the Volo brand’s biggest foray into wine yet. Like every menu at the new spot, the Moranas plan to rotate offerings often. Some of the most enticing current options include a “funky” orange wine from Vinos Ambiz in Spain called the Alba; a blend of gewürztraminer, riesling and pinot gris from New Zealand’s Alex Craighead called Kindeli Otoño; and a moscato from Veneto, Italy, called Costadilà Móz.
After not being the focus for several years—either at the original location or Little Italy’s Birreria Volo—food is back in a big way. “We’re not chefs by trade. It just comes from experience,” said Julian, who says the menu is made up of “unfussy southern Italian food,” and includes a simple rigatoni pasta dish with house-made sauce. Like any good Italian kitchen, Volo is full of bread, courtesy of Forno Cultura. The Moranas are hoping to remind Toronto how bruschetta should be served. “Corporate American restaurant culture has butchered bruschetta,” said Julian.
The 100-seat dimly lit space harkens back to the first Volo, and die-hards may even notice some relics of the past, including some tables, chairs and light fixtures. But much of the interior is entirely new, or at least newly salvaged. The Moranas relished in the blank slate that was the new space and did the interiors themselves. “It’s sort of unexplainable how all of this came together,” says Tomas. The bar is made out of two 18th-century Egyptian doors. One wall of wood panelling was acquired from a church in Hamilton. The tin ceiling near the front door is from an old barn. And the cabinetry near the bar is from a Hamilton hospital.