Our favorite bars: Volare Italian Restaurant [Food and dining]

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This article appears in the January 2011 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.

Don’t know about you, but we could really use a drink right about now. So we’ve scoured the city to find our 21 favorite bars — from upscale jazz joints to dives where your beer bottle sticks to the table. We’ve also tossed in some personalities familiar with local nightlife and quotes we overheard while out on the town.

Even though the four sides of the square bar’s center island have high-quality TVs, you aren’t gonna want to don your red athletic jersey and meet your friends at Volare (2300 Frankfort Ave.) to catch the U of L game. No, this isn’t a shouting bar; nor is it a come-as-you-are bar. Decked out in black and mahogany, with red frosted-glass jar candles spaced along the inner bar rail and a sprinkling of soft, recessed ceiling spotlights giving the room just the right mix of lit and unlit, Volare’s bar area is all about swankiness and low- to medium-volume conversations. Around the room’s perimeter is a series of two-top cocktail tables, maybe 20 in all, for just a hint of intimacy away from the collective animation at the black-marble bar. With a dozen or so signature martinis and a 39-item nice-price bar menu broken into Freddo (cold), Fritto (fried), Caldo (hot) and small pizzas — every taste worthy of the decor — Volare has become a Clifton dress-up magnet.

Photo: John Nation