The Victor Bar

Bars, Cocktail bars North Center
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 (Photograph: Jason Little)
1/5
Photograph: Jason Little
To The Traveler at The Victor in North Center.
 (Photograph: Jason Little)
2/5
Photograph: Jason Little
Chips at The Victor in North Center.
 (Photograph: Jason Little)
3/5
Photograph: Jason Little
Love Letter at The Victor in North Center.
 (Photograph: Jason Little)
4/5
Photograph: Jason Little
Whiskey Truffles at The Victor in North Center.
 (Photograph: Jason Little)
5/5
Photograph: Jason Little
Optimo at The Victor in North Center.

The Victor Bar provides North Center with a comfortable cocktail bar set for dates.

You’ll feel like you’ve somehow wandered into a dark speakeasy when you enter Victor Bar. While it was dark outside, I wasn’t quite prepared for how little I’d be able to see—fumbling through the menu and wishing for tiny flashlights like the ones at Milk Room. Once you get your bearings and settle in, your server will guide you through a few of the drinks, though with some firmly held opinions on the menu—the servers aren’t afraid to tell you their honest thoughts on each of the cocktails. 

Stick to the herbaceous cocktails—we like the On The Grass, with gin, aquavit, celery and lime. The cocktails you think may be sweet will indeed be sweet (see above: we were multiple times told not to order the Love Letter)—but you might find an interesting friend in the old-fashioneds, made with rye, mescal, rum or brandy. Blink and you might miss it (we did)—but you can ask for classics and dealers choice drinks as well.

The space is friendliest toward groups of two (maybe three) or fewer, but if you’re looking to get cozy at a bar for a date, you’ve come just to the right place. Dim lights, small, snug tables and a single cocktail are just the right way to do the Victor Bar. That works just fine for us, in a neighborhood filled with boisterous beer bars, maybe a place to cuddle up is just what North Center needs. 

Vitals:

Atmosphere: Small and dark, cozy—just perfect for a date.

What to drink: The old-fashioneds will do you well, as will the herbaceous-leaning cocktails and the Optimo, with pineapple rum, Luxardo and sherry.

What to eat: There aren’t many bites, and they might be out of stock depending on the night, but you’ll find chips, assorted caramels and champagne and whiskey truffles on the menu.

Where to sit: I’m always a fan of the bar, but if you’re headed here for date night, you’ll want to grab one of the smaller tables along the side—just don’t get too close to the bathroom.

By: Elizabeth Atkinson

Posted:

Venue name: The Victor Bar
Address: 4011 N Damen Ave
Chicago

Opening hours: Mon–Fri 4pm–2am, Sat 4pm–3am, Sun 4pm–12am
Transport: El: Brown line to Irving Park. Bus: 50, 80.
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YUM. My fiancé and I went here on a Friday evening and all four of our cocktails were great. It was a bit too dark inside (we could barely read the menu), and it's TINY, but that can be good or bad. Good if you're inside and looking for a place with a cozy atmosphere that's not going to be overly crowded, bad if you, I imagine, get there later (after 9?) and find a line. I always want to be a miser with my ratings of places that are difficult to get into, but the drinks here are good enough that they cancel out any complaints I could have about capacity. That being said, this is definitely not a place for a group outing - it'd be best for date night or grabbing a cocktail with a friend or two.