Quick dinner mainly drinks - downtown on Saturday
Trying to organize birthday drinks downtown-ish. A few of us will eat beforehand but doesn't have to be flash. Catch is this crowd is not really the dressy/lounge type and definitely more beer drinkers so I'm not sure where to go. Done C'est What, Irish Embassy, PJ O'Briens before. Never been to Bar Volo - worth going? Hair of the Dog? Any other suggestions??
Bar Volo is definitely worthwhile - and well suited to this kind of thing.
Beer Bistro is another good choice, but pricier. Probably not as good for the some eating/some not thing.
IMHO, Volo has the better beer list (though I don't think it's quite as extensive). Better prices, too.
i don't disagree with your overall opinion but as far as the beer bistro not being as good for the some eating/some not... i do.
they have a much better menu than volo (the food is crap) but it's also got a tonne of apps/desserts that are great for sharing when those who "aren't eating" get a whiff and want to pick at your items. great fries, fondue, pizza, etc....
i do love the vibe of volo much more, it's very chill and intimate versus the often booming beerbistro.
are you craft beer drinkers though?
if you're not.. i'd say your options are wider and i somewhat assume you might not be with the pj o'briens and irish embassy on the list. i'd check out mill st brewpub and get samplers for everyone of everything they've got on tap. it's not the best beer, but it's definitely among the better ontario brews in a good, large sociable environment.
the vibe at bedford academy isn't bad either. but nothing's special there really.
I agree, Bar Volo is a good choice for beer drinkers, especially if you're going later in the evening, after dinner hour. Earlier on it can be fairly restaurant-y and you might have trouble getting a table. Later it seems fewer people are eating big meals and you will feel more comfortable just lounging for a while and trying different beers -- they have many.
Another neat place on the beer note is Smokeless Joe on John St between Adelaide and Richmond. They have a beer list on par with Volo or Beer Bistro, and a great cozy and friendly atmosphere. However, the place is physically tiny and probably not ideal for groups of more than 4 or 6 max, and even that might require some standing around the bar until you can get seats. Oh, and watch the prices lest you accidentally order a $20 bottle of something. http://www.bartowel.com/regions/pubs/...
In terms of pubs, the Mill Street Brewpub in the Distillery is beautiful to look at, offers a variety of their own beers, and food seems pretty decent these days. A very relaxed atmosphere. But a bit out of the way for some, perhaps. http://millstreetbrewpub.ca
One caveat to all these places is that they are more suited to adventurous beer drinkers... you probably won't have much luck getting a Bud or a Canadian in any of them. These places require a bit of open-mindedness in terms of trying new beers, I think.
Thanks for the suggestions and the detail! This crowd is definitely more craft and international beer drinkers so Volo sounds like a good bet. I've been wavering on trying Volo out for a while so I think we'll give it a go. People are coming from different parts of the city so the Distillery is a bit out of the way. Thanks again!