At the front, you'll find a cute, small cafe that's open during the day, but past the bouncer and the large door at the back, a different world awaits when the sun goes down.
A lightbulb at Victoria Brown — Photo courtesy of Federico Bareiro
The bar combines the underground glamour of old New York speakeasies with 19th-century whiskey distilleries and clear steampunk overtures.
Flanked by pipes that run across the ceiling, a collection of giant metal gears are prominently displayed at the center of the bar. The space is decorated with sturdy Victorian-style furniture (oversized chairs, leather couches and wooden tables); metal barrels converted into lamps hanging from the ceiling; old elevator cages that act as dividers; and exposed brick walls.
As the spot pays homage to historic drinking establishments, it's no surprise that at Victoria Brown, the cocktails are the star. The cocktails are mostly inventive modern concoctions with a vintage feel or names that give a nod to previous eras.
The drink menu’s compass page is a nice touch, in effect recommending which cocktails would be best suited to different patrons’ tastes.
The food menu is creative and well presented, with appetizers, main dishes and desserts organized by theme. However, the prices are a little expensive for what you get. Victoria Brown is a better place for a before- or after-dinner cocktail than a location for dinner itself.
The music choices make a cool accompaniment to the ambiance and, like at other good bars, the music is loud enough to set the mood but not too loud as to thwart conversation.
While the name Victoria Brown successfully evokes the Victorian era, it's actually not a flattering tribute to the often celebrated British monarch. The amalgam fans the rumors that after her beloved husband Albert’s death, the queen had a romantic relationship with her Scottish servant John Brown.
History aside, though, Buenos Aires’ Victoria Brown bar is a smashing success.
Given the bar's popularity, making a reservation is a must if you would prefer to sit at a table rather than huddle by the bar. You can make reservations through their website, by email or by phone.
If you turn up dressed in smart, casual attire and ready to sip a cocktail or two, then you'll fit right in.