What it is: Bustling yet date-night cool and intimate, Bar Volo is a family-run bar and restaurant with an exemplary cask-focused beer program. The bar’s two dozen taps pour its own Volo beers (brewed next door) as well as a selection of specialty beers from across Ontario. The stars are the cask ales, especially during Volo’s annual Cask Days celebration each October. Proprietor Ralph Morana and sons Julian and Tomas take their roles as publicans seriously, and they gladly share their enthusiasm for cask ale—and for great beer and wine in general.
Why it’s great: Volo boasts an excellent beer menu, but it also applies the same care to wine, cocktails, food, decor, and hospitality. The interior, made up of largely salvaged materials, is quirky without being chaotic—it’s hard to choose whether to sit inside or on the spacious patio. The rustic Italian menu features just the sort of hearty stuff you’d want after a few pints: Sicilian rice balls with veal ragu, tinned fish with crusty bread, nduja crostini, or mortadella panini. There’s a laid-back, European sensibility to the place that makes it easy to while away the hours.
Hours: 2 p.m.–12 a.m., Sunday & Monday; 12 p.m.–1 a.m., Tuesday–Saturday
Address: 17 St. Nicholas St., Toronto