7 Dreamy Canadian Bars Were Just Ranked Among The Best In All Of North America

Cancel your weekend plans! 🍸🍸

Bar Pompette in Toronto. Right: A cocktail from Civil Liberties in Toronto.
Associate Editor

Bar Pompette in Toronto. Right: A cocktail from Civil Liberties in Toronto.

Dreaming of a delicious drink in a gorgeous location? Maybe it's time to add one of the best bars in Canada to your beverage-inspired bucket list.

A new study ranking North America’s 50 Best Bars of 2023 has picked out the top spots across the continent and some beloved Canadian spots made the cut.

The list was created using the opinions and experiences of 260 bar industry experts from across the region, including bartenders, bar owners and drinks media, as well as "well-travelled cocktail connoisseurs."

Out of the top 50 top bars across North America, seven Canadian spots got named in total. This includes popular bars in cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

So, whether you're a local or a tourist, prepare to be wowed by the top watering holes in Canada right now.

Civil Liberties

Address: 878 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON

Why You Need To Go: For the second year in a row, this Toronto bar nabbed the top spot in Canada, taking the 12th spot overall (last time, it ranked in 10th).

While recognizable by its casual look -- with a simple illuminated sign of a pineapple -- Civil Liberties is mostly talked-about for having no cocktail menu.

Instead, the experts at this spot will whip you up a drink based on your personal preferences, rather than letting you chose from a pre-selected list.

According to the team behind North America's 50 Best Bars, the 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."

This place doesn't take reservations, but walk-ins are welcome.

Civil Liberties' website

Bar Pompette

Address: 607 College St, Toronto, ON

Why You Need To Go: This quaint French bar has the vibes of a sophisticated cafe, with a pretty back patio that's sure to be popular come summer time.

Bar Pompette's cocktails famously rotate seasonally and are infused with some pretty fancy ingredients, from elderflower liqueur to truffles.

This bar is so well thought of, in fact, that it entered the list in the highest position as a newcomer -- earning it the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award 2023 title.

Like Civil Liberties, it doesn't take reservations, but hit this place up if you want to transport yourself to France for an evening.

Bar Pompette's website

Botanist Bar

Address: 1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC

Why You Need To Go: Nestled within the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, Botanist Bar features a light and airy interior with just a touch of greenery, setting the scene for a romantic and intimate evening out.

However, it's the eclectic cocktail menu that really sets it apart from the rest. The Council of Trees cocktail, for example, is made with blended Scotch, fino sherry, oak moss, birch sap, and a Canadian alderwood and cherrywood smoked tea cordial, and is an imagining of a forest when it rains.

Scarborough Fair, Lost in Translation, and Poetry in Motion are other intrigue-peaking drinks to check out.

Meanwhile, the cocktail list changes according to the season -- so you can expect something new every few months.

Botanist Bar's website

What are the best Canadian bars?

The next Canadian bar featured on the North American ranking is Atwater Cocktail Club, a Montreal gem that was named in the 32nd position. The fresh and eclectic cocktail menu they offer keeps things interesting, with beverage offerings like Out Of Office, Purple Rain and 40 Thieves.

Another Montreal spot, Cloakroom, comes next, in the 35th position. This 25-seat bar is hidden in the Golden Square Mile of Montreal and is yet another spot with no menu -- simply tell the bartender your preferences and get ready to be surprised.

In 37th is Mother, which was also included in last year's list and uses ingredients that get a special upgrade from fermentation.

Rounding out the list of best bars in all of Canada is Bar Mordecai, in 43rd, which also featured in last year's list. This Toronto spot is inspired by Wes Anderson films, so those with a keen Hollywood eye will probably enjoy that, as well as its creative takes on bar staples.

What are the best bars in North America?

For those who are curious, it was New York City's Double Chicken Please that was crowned the ranking's best bar in North America.

Apart from serving up some outstanding chicken sandwiches, they have cocktails designed to represent dishes, so you can actually order a Key Lime Pie (with Bombay Sapphire, sweet cream egg white, lime, soda and more) or French Toast (with Grey Goose roasted barley brioche, coconut, milk, maple syrup and egg) in liquid form.

In the second position is Mexico City's Handshake Speakeasy, a 1920s prohibition era-inspired spot, which also boasts the title of the best bar in Mexico.

Quirky and cool Japanese dive bar Katana Kitten in New York City came in third.

Here's how the full list shaped out:

  1. Double Chicken Please – New York City
  2. Handshake Speakeasy – Mexico City
  3. Katana Kitten – New York City
  4. Licorería Limantour – Mexico City
  5. Jewel of the South – New Orleans
  6. Dante – New York City
  7. Overstory – New York City
  8. Kumiko – Chicago
  9. Café La Trova – Miami
  10. Thunderbolt – Los Angeles
  11. Zapote Bar – Playa del Carmen
  12. Civil Liberties – Toronto
  13. Attaboy – New York City
  14. Employees Only – New York City
  15. Bar Pompette – Toronto
  16. Baltra Bar – Mexico City
  17. Rayo – Mexico City
  18. Mace – New York City
  19. Botanist Bar – Vancouver
  20. Hanky Panky – Mexico City
  21. El Gallo Altanero – Guadalajara
  22. Sabina Sabe – Oaxaca
  23. Arca – Tulum
  24. La Factoría – San Juan
  25. Café de Nadie – Mexico City
  26. Kaito del Valle – Mexico City
  27. Herbs & Rye – Las Vegas
  28. Pacific Cocktail Haven – San Francisco
  29. Martiny’s – New York City
  30. Death & Co (Los Angeles) – Los Angeles
  31. Selva – Oaxaca
  32. Atwater Cocktail Club – Montreal
  33. Service Bar – Washington, DC
  34. Sweet Liberty – Miami
  35. Cloakroom – Montreal
  36. Cure – New Orleans
  37. Mother – Toronto
  38. Milk Room – Chicago
  39. Maison Premiere – New York City
  40. Aruba Day Drink – Tijuana
  41. Bar Leather Apron – Honolulu
  42. Yacht Club – Denver
  43. Bar Mordecai – Toronto
  44. The Dead Rabbit – New York City
  45. Allegory – Washington, DC.
  46. Clover Club – New York City
  47. Brujas – Mexico City
  48. Platform 18 – Phoenix
  49. Youngblood – San Diego
  50. Milady’s – New York City

Hopefully that's all the inspiration you need for the next time you're heading out!

Meanwhile, if you prefer to have your drinks somewhere more discreet, two Canadian spots were recently named among North America's best secret restaurants -- and they're literally hidden in plain sight.

Janice Rodrigues
Associate Editor
Janice Rodrigues was an Associate Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian immigration and passports, and is based in Scarborough, Ontario.