The Victory is an ideal neighborhood bar–it’s comfortable and friendly, with good food and fine mead and an omnipresent Scrabble set–and I’m quite regretful that it’s not my neighborhood bar. The lure of its cozy confines is so strong, however, that after a long day at work, I will often haul my weary bones all the way to 37th and Division–a whopping 61 blocks from my apartment–just to plop down at the bar with a ramekin of the Victory’s addictive baked spaetzle laden with melted Gruyere cheese, topped with crunchy crispy shallots and served with a sweet-tart apple compote, and a deliciously citrusy New Fashioned made with bourbon, muddled orange, pomegranate syrup, and house bitters. It’s one of my favorite “meals” in Portland, and the ultimate antidote to a wretched workday.
The Victory’s addictive baked spaetzle–laden with melted Gruyere cheese, topped with crunchy crispy shallots and served with a sweet-tart apple compote–and a deliciously citrusy New Fashioned made of bourbon, muddled orange, pomegranate syrup, house bitters, is one of my favorite “meals” in Portland, and the ultimate antidote to a wretched workday.
The Victory Bar’s beer roster includes a half dozen brews on draft, and a myriad of bottled and canned selections both local and from all corners of the earth, a selection of suds that earned Victory a spot on Imbibe Magazine’s 100 Best Places To Drink Beer In America list. The wine list is affordable and pleasingly Euro-centric, the excellent cocktails range from classic to quizzical, and the full bar is well endowed and thoughtfully stocked with a wide array of liquers, rare whiskeys & scotch.
Chef Eric Moore’s menu is short and sweet, and makes for excellent drinking food–from wine-friendly cheese and charcuterie plates to beer-friendly bites like pickled anchovies in mustard with crusty bread, to the divine aforementioned spaetzle and hearty Venison Burger with crispy leeks, Worcestershire aioli and Rogue Creamery’s cold-smoked blue cheese.
Victory Bar’s laid-back atmosphere allows for versatility in who you quaff Corpse Reviver No. 2′s with–sit solo at the bar and nurse your broken heart/rejoice in your blessed singleness over a fine Single Malt Scotch; swap stories with a raucous group of good friends over Warsteiner Oktoberfests and pork garlic sausages with apple braised cabbage; get all lovey dovey with your significant other in a cozy dark corner table with the pot de creme and Green Chartreuse, or grab a board game with your bottle of Bordeaux if you don’t really like your significant other enough at the moment to cuddle with them and would rather just school them at Yahtzee instead.
Cuisine: New American
Executive Chef: Eric Moore
Atmosphere: Very relaxed vibe, dimly lit, a neighborhood bar
Outdoor seating: Yes, a little row of sidewalk tables in nice weather
Best Seat: Not a bad seat in the house.
Noise Level: Normal - Enthusiastic depending on the crowd
Dress Code: Casual
Bring the Kids: No
Bathrooms: Yes, go down the hallway between the main dining room and the stove, and the door is just to your right.
Parking: Free and abundant on side streets
Cocktails: Excellent list of house cocktails. The New Fashioned is my favorite.
Beer: Yes, six on tap and approximately 2 trillion bottled, there is a reason Imbibe magazine named Victory one of America’s 100 Best Places to Drink Beer.
Wine: A small but quite nice wine list, by the glass $5-$10, by the bottle ($18-$26). Bottles to go are $5 off the menu price.
Ideal Meal: Baked spaetzle, mussels, short rib, venison burger
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Vegan Friendly: Not particularly
Good for the following occasions: After Work Drinks, Dining Solo, Out With Friends, Wine and Board Games Night
Take-Out: Wines to go are $5 off!