FARM-TO-TABLE COOKING & CRAFT BEER
Honouring the history and hustle of the city, Liberty Commons is a modern-day Canadian brewpub. Oliver & Bonacini and Big Rock Brewery have teamed up to celebrate the union of good food and good beer—all in good company.
From tasty bar snacks to proper pub grub, Chef Tom Wade and his team are serving up comfort food at its finest. Scotch eggs, chicken wings and cottage pie are mainstays for meat lovers, while vegetarians can dig into 12-vegetable chili, mushroom mac and cheese, and a colourful array of seasonal salads chock-full of local produce. For those looking to get sauced, LC’s smoker is rolling out super tender Penokean Hills brisket, racks of baby back ribs, housemade sausages and more.
Our thirst for innovation and collaboration has resulted in a frothy lineup of signature, seasonal and experimental Big Rock Brewery beers, brewed using top-quality ingredients and craft techniques. Whether you fancy a crisp, lightly hopped kolsch or a rustic, spicy saison, we encourage you to tell us what you like (or don’t like) and we will find that dream brew for you.
MEET THE CREW
Chef de Cuisine
Growing up in Western Ottawa, it wasn’t always clear that Tom Wade was cut out to be a chef. Sure, there was that one time his mom helped him bake a cake from scratch for an elementary school potluck, and he was known to binge early 90s Food Network shows instead of cartoons, but it wasn’t until many years later that Tom realized that cooking was one of his life’s greatest passions.
While studying at Carleton University, Tom often found himself spending more time cooking for his roommates and throwing dinner parties than, well, studying. At 21-years-old, Tom traded in his English and history essays for the culinary management program at Algonquin College. He went on to get his feet wet and build a solid foundation of cooking basics in the kitchens of private golf clubs and NHL arenas, working his way up to the position of Sous Chef Garde Manger at Aramark Sports & Entertainment.
In early 2011, Tom was hired as a Sous Chef at Fraser Café, a farm-to-table restaurant across the Rideau River. There, surrounded by a tight-knit team of creative and like-minded culinary professionals, something sparked for Tom. Working closely with the exceptionally talented Chef Ross Fraser, Tom cultivated a deeper appreciation for locally sourced ingredients, mastered the art of whole animal butchery, and refined his approach to plating seasonally driven dishes.
Following this experience, Tom moved to Toronto in late 2013 with his eyes set on joining the team at Farmhouse Tavern, a rustic locavore restaurant in the heart of the Junction. Between crafting deliciously whimsical brunch, lunch and dinner menus, to developing close relationships with Ontario purveyors, Chef Tom also played a role in the restaurant’s Hunt Camp dining series, which featured game meat and fish from across Canada such as pheasant, bison, boar and squab. All told, Tom spent more than three years at Farmhouse, eventually earning the title of Executive Chef.
Prior to joining O&B, Tom served as a private chef for several luxury wilderness experiences—from glamping on a remote island in Georgian Bay to salmon fishing on a Newfoundland peninsula accessible only by private helicopter. Now, as Chef de Cuisine of Liberty Commons, Chef Tom looks forward to executing beloved pub classics while experimenting with new dishes—especially over fire. He’s also particularly excited to showcase the beautiful local bounty that Ontario has to offer in the spring and summer.
When he’s not playing with fire and knives in the kitchen, you might be able to find Chef Tom hanging out with his fiancée and their new puppy (a Dutch Shepherd Cane Corso mix named Reuben, if you must know), smoking his own bacon to give as Christmas gifts, or low key watching Food Network.
District Executive Chef
Born and raised in the small seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset, in England, Ryan Lister grew up a proud Southerner who nourished himself with proper home-cooked food. Between his grandma’s stew and dumplings, his nan’s Sunday roast, and his mum’s rice pudding, he could never get enough of the convivial family huddles around a table of delicious, love-laden food. The joy and warmth that envelop him through those memories, together with the unrelenting support of his family, drive his passion today as he leads the kitchen brigades at Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery, The Rabbit Hole and Sap Canadian Comfort Food.
Long before his arrival in Canada, Chef Ryan molded the foundations of his culinary identity in the kitchens of celebrated restaurants across the U.K. — including four-star hotels like Moonfleet Manor and The Swan at Streatley, the award-winning Chez Roux at Greywalls Hotel, and The Bingham under Michelin-starred chef Shay Cooper. In 2013, Chef Ryan made the leap to Toronto, landing a Sous Chef position at Canoe Restaurant & Bar under Executive Chef John Horne, whose mentorship illuminated the path he wanted to pursue as a chef. He quickly fell in love with his new home and with Chef John’s contemporary Canadian cuisine.
Having grown up watching his dad brew beer out in the shed, where he often daydreamed about opening a pub with his wife, opening Liberty Commons as the Chef de Cuisine in 2017 was a literal dream come true. Inspired by his own childhood favourites, British classics, and elevated comfort food, Chef Ryan’s good old-fashioned pub fare centered on being familiar, imaginative, fun, and best served with a cold pint.
In 2020, Chef Ryan turned his penchant for pies into the Common Pie Shop. Nestled within Liberty Commons kitchen, the fledgling pastry commissary dreamed up an assortment of artisanal pies — from sausage rolls to Cornish pasties to game pies. The following year saw exponential professional growth as the now District Executive Chef opened The Rabbit Hole, a whimsical and unapologetically British gastropub, and the rebranded Sap Canadian Comfort Food, where he merges his training at Canoe with the mosaic of culinary backgrounds that defines Canadian cuisine.
Throughout his career, the insurmountable value Chef Ryan places on local, seasonal, sustainable and regenerative ingredients has remained at the forefront of his day-to-day operations. As an ambassador of 100km Foods and a close friend of Tamarack Farms, he is inspired every day to support and uplift smart Canadian agriculture.
District Executive Chef
In his role as Executive District Chef, John Horne oversees the culinary direction at Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Biff’s Bistro, Maison Selby and Liberty Commons, where he incorporates his passion for refined flavours, seasonal ingredients and explosive presentation.
With experience at Michelin-starred restaurants such as L’Escargot, The Square and the Orrery under his belt, John honed his classic French techniques for seven years as the Senior Sous Chef of Auberge du Pommier, one of Toronto’s most celebrated French restaurants. With his love of learning always in gear, Chef John returned to Europe to work at Crillon le Brave.
Respected for his dedication to Canadian cuisine, he has collaborated with those who share his philosophy – Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon), Jeremy Charles (Raymonds) and Société-Orignal (foraging specialist). In 2011, John was named the Nine of Dine winner at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. In 2012, he was the only chef from outside of Montréal asked to participate in the international Omnivore World Tour to represent Canadian “Young Cuisine” for the first event held in Canada.
Chef John proved his culinary prowess, taking home the gold award at the 2014 Gold Medal Plates competition after going head-to-head with nine of Toronto’s finest culinary masters at the prestigious culinary event.