Tag Archives | toronto

Image by Wagner T. Cassimiro "Aranha", Flickr

Image by Wagner T. Cassimiro “Aranha”, Flickr

barVolo is a small cheese, beer and wine bar located in downtown Toronto. The family run bar, which has been open since 1985, is said to specialize in all things Ontario. barVolo does not accept reservations, and food is ordered at the bar, so you don’t have to worry about servers pestering you.

barVolo not only imports and brews beer but also runs a beer festival called “Cask Days.” Cask Days has been taking place every October since 2005. You can find out more about it at www.caskdays.com.

Let’s get one thing out in the open – if you’re looking for a spacious bar to wander around in, this is not the place for you. It’s a small place, but one I was immediately impressed by upon entering. The décor was pleasing, though I found the place too small to appreciate its beauty. The atmosphere, which seemed to emanate from the Victorian interior, gave it a traditional bar feel. This is contrasted with a restaurant sensation, which is common among many modern bars. The outside patio was adequate but had limited seating, again in a small, enclosed space. The tables were mostly for two. One could spread their party out on the benches, which are similar to restaurant booths, but the crowd would be sitting in groups of two. Likely not ideal for your big birthday bash, but if you’re catching up with a friend like I did, this will be perfect.

The food was tasty. My friend had the pulled pork sandwich, while I had the steak and cheese. We both ordered fries on the side. Both were served in small portions and looked like burgers. There is a wide selection of alcohol to drink after or with your meal. I tried a glass of Chardonnay, and you won’t hear me complaining. The sweet citrus hints hit my tongue like a ray of sunshine on a fall day.

Prices were fair, coming out to about $25 per person. barVolo is walking distance from the Eaton Centre. It is open until 2:00a.m. every night, so you can visit the bar after city crawling – the only disadvantage of this is food is not served past 12:00a.m.

Despite the positive Google reviews, I found barVolo to be mediocre. The size of the portions were disappointing, and the space was small and congested. A larger venue would have been more visually appealing. For my purposes, catching up with a friend, I had a good time. I give barVolo a 5/10.

barVolo is located at:
587 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z4
For more information, visit www.barvolo.com.


Image from hanks9church.com

Image from hanks9church.com

Hank’s is one of my favourite spots to go for a coffee. They close at 4:00pm and serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and snacks. If you’re craving more, you can rent the cozy venue after hours.

Hank’s is relatively inexpensive, with nothing on the menu higher than $13. Some of their drinks are pricey, but worth it. Despite closing early, Hank’s serves alcohol, including libations not on the menu. With exceptional service, the servers are attentive but not annoying. I don’t remember one empty dish or cup being on the table more than a couple of minutes.

The coffee and desserts are delectable, and combined with the beautiful interior, you’ll be in heaven. Don’t let the pictures on the website fool you – the restaurant is actually a lot warmer looking in person. In the summer, the nearly ceiling-height windows are left open for a unique, uplifting feel.

Hank’s is located in downtown Toronto, about a 20 minute walk from the Distillery District. If you’re looking for something to do before or after your coffee, the Eaton Centre is a 15 minute walk north from here. If you feel like a bit more of an adventure, Kensington Market is a 30 minute walk away (and easily accessible by transit).

Just how good is Hank’s? I’d rate it a 9/10. The food, décor and service are up to par – so why the deduction? I once had a sweetened coffee that was too sweet for my taste (and my teeth!). That’s all the negative I can say about it. Hank’s is an excellent place to eat or hang out with friends. I would go again – and again and again (and I have!).

Hank’s is located at:
9 1/2 Church St
Toronto, ON M5E 1M2
For more information, visit their website or call (416) 504-2657.