With a long, lean space that meanders past the bar and kitchen (and a back deck that promises to be dandy), The Sexton is a place to stroll into with pals. The drink menu is full of intriguingly designed drinks and the spotlight is on bourbon, such as in the Sexton Julep, a mixture of bourbon, homemade apricot brandy and mint ($9).
The bar itself is small, but its space is used wisely and includes a carefully cultivated bottle array. Don’t get impatient if drinks take a minute more than you expected to arrive; it’s a different pace once you cross the Mason-Dixon Line, and beyond that, good things shouldn’t be rushed.
Small plates, big charm
The Sexton isn’t necessarily a full dinner stop—you’d need to order a fair number of items to fill up. But with dolled-up traditional dishes like the Sexton Mac ($8), which has a bacon roux, five cheeses, arugula and a balsamic reduction, and hush puppies ($6) with roasted red pepper aioli, the cooks display their Southern credentials without being too stuck in convention.
Perhaps the most Southern item isn’t on the menu, though: the charm of the waitstaff, which seems determined to make you feel at home.
5327 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.829.8645; sextonballard.com
Bar Hop columnist A.J. Rathbun blogs at ajrathbun.com. His newest book is a how-to guide called Luscious Liqueurs.