Victory Bar

3652 SE Division St., 236-8755, 5 pm-close daily.

In last year's Bar Guide, Victory was named our Bar of the Year. We still like it a lot, but this dim den of yellowed newsprint and scuffed oak has changed, too. It's still an excellent pub—great cocktails, solid tap list, rich and cheesy spaetzle—though the vibe has changed since table service was discontinued. Now, you settle into a table then go up to order a drink, then back to order another. Everything's pleasant, but Victory no longer allows those uninterrupted hours-long conversations that made us treasure it above all others. "Really, it's hard to know what makes a 6-year-old bar—or any bar, really—suddenly hit its elusive sweet spot," Matthew Korfhage wrote last year. True enough, but we now know waitresses are of significant help. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Happy hour: 5-7 pm and 11pm-midnight daily. $3.75 drink and snack specials.