Victory Bar, the Orwellian-themed cocktail lounge and beer bar, is serving its last hopped gin and tonic and cheesy spätzle tonight when it closes its doors for good after service. “On to new and more creative adventures,” is the reason owner Yoni Laos gave for the bar’s closing, but those new ventures do not currently include another bar.
Opened in late 2006 as one of the first cocktail bars on the east side, Victory earned a quiet but dedicated following for its bottle and draught list, fun, affordable drinks, and a comfort food menu that included a variety of spätzle dishes and a solid venison burger. It even earned Willamette Week’s Bar of the Year award in 2013 for its balanced, creative approach to a neighborhood bar.
More than just its menu offerings, Victory was appreciated for its its unique charm. Menus were often spotted with spelling errors, its website endearingly dated (now mostly derelict), and the so-called Victory Vision, the collection of retro concerts that played on small TVs throughout the space, was lovingly cultivated by Laos. A comment on the bar’s final Facebook status reads, “I knew I could go there the night David Bowie died, the night Prince died, and find some rare footage playing and a beer waiting to help with the loss.” Laos mentioned the Victory Vision could live on in some form.
“Select Portlanders really developed an irrational attachment to Victory,” said Laos, with self-effacing humor. “Google defines irrational attachment as ‘love,’” he added.