There’s no sign other than a pineapple and a Talking Heads quote (“This Must Be the Place”), and the wooden tables and stools could belong to any local dive.
But the wall of botanicals, bitters— scorpion pepper is a house favorite—and tinctures make it clear that mixology is taken seriously here. The lack of a cocktail menu is Civil Liberties’ calling card, opening up the possibilities to a bewildering degree, but its knowledgeable, friendly bartenders will read your cues and serve up a custom-made concoction, perhaps an exquisite mix of tequila, sherry, lime, cucumber, and Earl Grey syrup, or a G and T elevated with house-made tonic. Amiable service and sophisticated cocktails have made Civil Liberties the hangout for industry insiders and Bloor-Ossington locals and helped it soar from #30 to #3 on our list. Sit at the penny-covered bar and watch the magic happen.
WHAT TO ORDER: A choose-your-own-adventure cocktail
878 Bloor St W, Toronto