Leichhardt's famed Bar Italia launches spin-off Italia 2.0 in Balmain

The original Bar Italia in Leichhardt.
The original Bar Italia in Leichhardt. Photo: Edwina Pickles

For 68 years Leichhardt's famed Bar Italia has resisted expansion and lived by the motto: "No soy, light or skim milk. Cash only."

On January 1, it will finally swing open the doors on a spin-off, Italia 2.0, and customers will be able to order a soy latte without being frowned at.

"It's Balmain [in the old Kazbah site], so we'll be doing things a little differently here," says Bar Italia owner Con Damouras.

Italia 2.0 will march to its own beat with its menu.
Italia 2.0 will march to its own beat with its menu. Photo: Supplied

"We get three or four approaches a year to open Bar Italia elsewhere, and there have been offers to franchise it," Damouras says. While he's resisted in the past, he owns the Balmain property.

While there will be no change to the long-standing rules back at Bar Italia, Italia 2.0 will march to its own beat, with its menu offering a luxed-up version of eggs benedict Damouras describes as "Balmain bug on a bagel", and there will be a nod to the venue's former tenant, a Kazbah-style lamb tagine on the breakfast menu.

Its owner sounds almost a little sheepish, admitting Italia 2.0 will offer skim and almond milk as well as soy. "But the coffee will be the same," he says.