civil liberties toronto

Toronto bar transforms into liquor store with parody sign

Toronto bars have been making all kinds of transformations lately, but one that's turned into a liquor store has made a hilarious new sign part of their makeover.

Civil Liberties, like many bars, is now offering delivery of their boozy goods, but has found the transition to doing business in a completely different way more than a little challenging. To attract attention and lighten moods, they've put up a sign that funnily mimics the LCBO across the street.

The business has become somewhat known for its obscure signage: under regular circumstances, an awning reading "this must be the place" and a pineapple are all that normally denote the entrance to the mysterious cocktail bar, earning it the nickname "Pineapple Bar."

"This pivot has been super challenging between learning to set up an online store all the way through to optimizing delivery routes, but at least I'm learning new skills," says Nick Kennedy of Civil Liberties.

"Half of all the proceeds go directly to our unemployed staff, the other half go toward rent, which at the moment we won't make but at least we are stemming the financial hemorrhaging."

Apparently Kennedy was having trouble attracting business with what he calls his own "shoddy bristol board signs."

"My fiancee, Lauren McKenna, another industry professional, came up with the idea for a new banner when I complained about people not realizing what we were doing," says Kennedy. "She used a different font and colour tone to play off and poke fun at the tradition LCBO signage. Civil Liberties Bottled Offerings was created."

The bar posted the logo on Instagram to an overwhelmingly positive response, gaining over 600 likes and more than 30 comments. There are even tees with the logo now.

"It has slightly increased traffic but has mainly acted as a communal source of comic relief, which was the main goal," says Kennedy. "We have not been contacted by the LCBO, but will be sure to be responsive if they do take issue. It's not our intention to offend or compete, just get some chuckles in these less-than-fun times."

As much as the sign has been able to tickle some funny bones during a crisis, Kennedy says that "the biggest joy in this has been seeing our regulars from their porches as we drop off their deliveries. We can't wait to take down the signage and go back to serving our community as a regular old cocktail bar."

In the meantime, Civil Liberties is delivering items like wine, sherry, amari, liqueurs, charcuterie and bar supplies like ice.

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