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Best Bars 2016

Small Victory, Austin

An intimate bar not doing anything new, but doing everything better

Small Victory isn’t doing anything new; it’s doing everything better. At this narrow cocktail den in downtown Austin, co-owner and operator Josh Loving says he picked out (take a deep breath here) better spirits, better ice, better water, better glassware, better wine, better charcuterie, better straws, better syrups, better bar stools and even better refrigerators than he had seen anywhere else. “I spent most of my time in this industry working for other people’s bars and restaurants trying to come up with ‘new,’” he says. “I took the opportunity to open my own bar by trying to make everything ‘better.'”

The dimly lit Small Victory has seating covered with plush velvet, giving the space a retro, intimate look. On the menu there are more than a dozen wines (twice as many as the cocktails offered), including trendy fortified varietals like sherry, aged cava and port. These pair well with the bar’s selection of nuts, olives, cheese, country ham and charcuterie, the last two of which are sliced right at the bar. If you want a cocktail, order the martini, which is explained via flow chart: Gin or vodka? Dirty or dry? Ratio of dryness (1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 5:1, 10:1)? Garnish (olive, lemon twist, onion)? It’s a non-judgmental and fun way of customizing a cocktail—and while we know drink customization isn’t new, at Small Victory, we just feel like it’s…better. –Alyson Sheppard

What to order: Martini

Small Victory, Austin
108 E 7th St Austin, TX 78701
Monday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Tuesday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Wednesday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Thursday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Friday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Saturday: 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Sunday: Closed