Second Bar Bianco is now open in Phoenix. Here's what to expect | Phoenix New Times

New Bar Bianco location opens with cocktails and light bites

Bianco Group evolves again with the opening of a new bar in the former Tratto.
Bar Bianco is now open at the Town & Country shopping center in the Biltmore area of Phoenix. It's the bar's second location.
Bar Bianco is now open at the Town & Country shopping center in the Biltmore area of Phoenix. It's the bar's second location. Chris Bianco
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When Tratto moved from its Biltmore area home to its current location on Van Buren Street over three years ago, Chris Bianco knew he wanted to put something special in its place. Inspired by Italian social clubs and London's communal pub culture, he envisioned a space where anyone could come as they are and stick around for a drink or snack.

Working closely with his wife, Mia Bianco, and Bianco Group veteran, Erin Vargo, the celebrated pizzaiolo opened a second Bar Bianco last month, situated adjacent to the Town & Country location of Pizzeria Bianco.

Serving as a standalone spot, the Town & Country Bar Bianco features a modest but growing wine and cocktail program, alongside some complementary menu items, like crostini made with Bianco bread.

The original Bar Bianco is located in Heritage Square and was built to house hungry guests waiting for a table at the restaurant next door. This new iteration of Bar Bianco is intended to be a spot for anyone to enjoy – whether or not they’re waiting for pizza.

“The idea was to create a space where we wanted to hang out and try to make it a really great neighborhood joint,” Vargo says.

She adds that in the month it's been open, she’s already started to see some regulars pop in to enjoy some time to themselves.

“We have people who bring their books and just hang out and read,” Vargo says. “It makes me so happy.”

click to enlarge
Patrons looking for non-alcoholic options can enjoy two cocktails made with Seedlip NA spirits.
Bar Bianco Town & Country

What's on the menu?

At the Town & Country Bar Bianco, Vargo explains that the drink menu is wine-centric, with a selection of red and white varietals to choose from. There are also a couple of beers and four cocktails, which she describes as “riffs on the classics.”

“All of the cocktails on the menu right now are things that we like to drink. It’s purely selfish,” Vargo says with a laugh.

One of the signature cocktails, the Smoky Grapefruit, was inspired by a drink that she and Mia Bianco enjoy during time spent at one another’s homes. Featuring a blend of Rayu mezcal, Giffard Pamplemousse, fresh lemon and Serrano bitters, it’s a smoky, slightly spicy take on a Paloma.

Vargo also created two non-alcoholic beverages to round out the menu.

While not yet formally added to the printed menu, guests can order two cocktails made with Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits. One of the choices – currently being called the Seedlip Spice – is a bright, balanced drink made with Seedlip Spice 94, ginger beer, orgeat and lime juice.

“I love having options for everybody,” Vargo says. “There's so much value in having something non-alcoholic that’s more fun than just sparkling water or a coke.”

click to enlarge Lemon bread at Bar Bianco.
The house-made Lemon Focaccia is a standout menu item, made with local citrus.
Bar Bianco Town & Country
On the food side, guests can enjoy a selection of crostinis and focaccia, made with Bianco’s signature dough and seasonal ingredients, plus a sampling of antipasto and bar snacks.

Bianco notes that the focaccias are a standout for him, specifically one made with lemons from local purveyors, plus red onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary and olive oil.

“The lemons this time of year are just awesome,” he adds.

While nothing has been solidified just yet, Bianco mentions he could see expanding on some of the current categories or adding desserts. Vargo and Mia Bianco additionally note they may also add some lighter bites to round out the bread-forward menu.

click to enlarge Dark interior of Bar Bianco.
With the tagline "Just to be social," Bar Bianco offers a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
Cassie Brucci

What's the vibe?

In typical Bianco Group fashion, the bar’s interior was designed by team members. This time around, Vargo and Mia Bianco took the lead and worked to infuse some new additions into the usual rustic design.

“In our other restaurants, everything is kind of dark and wooden,” Mia Bianco says. “We tried to pull in some feminine aspects and find pieces that we thought were funky and fun.”

Inside Bar Bianco, pops of neon glow from behind the bar. Silver tables and chairs fill the dining area. Kitschy touches, like a baguette sconce, hang from a wall alongside a cluster of artwork – some painted by Bianco’s late father, Leo Bianco, as is customary in each restaurant. There’s even a photo of family friend Jimmy Kimmel’s Uncle Frank sitting in a car, enjoying a bottle of Chianti.

“There’s nothing in any of our spaces that doesn’t have a story,” Mia Bianco says.

Bar Bianco Town & Country

4743 N. 20th St.
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