Civil Liberties


  • The Best Bar in Canada 2023, sponsored by Tia Maria

This excellent bar eschews any trad speakeasy livery for a simple illuminated sign of a pineapple, a universal symbol of hospitality. If that wasn't enough, the Bloor West facade numbered 878 carries the auspicious message (who's to say whether it's Talking Heads or Paolo Sorrentino-inspired?): ‘This must be the place’.

At first glance, the slightly sparse, industrial-meets-vintage interior (metal navy stools, pressed-tin ceiling) and artfully scruffy clientele seem to meet the definition of a gentrified dive. In fact, and in its own words, the bar espouses ‘kind over cool’, and service is not only deeply knowledgeable but authentically friendly, with orders for a cheap draft or canned beer as welcome as inquiries about the quirky, unexpected selections on the back bar. Ask any question about any bottle and the team will be pleased to tell its story. In the city that the Toronto cocktail was named for, ask for a bitter-is-better riff on this dark-Manhattan take and you might be rewarded with the bracing notes of one of the more obscure amari on offer.

Civil Liberties is again named The Best Bar in Canada 2023, sponsored by Tia Maria.