Directly across from Skillet in the tucked-away stretch of 14th Avenue between Union and Madison on Capitol Hill, Bar Sue (1407 14th Ave.; 206.328.0888; barsueseattle.com) has a Southern accent that drawls through the comfortably creative food and drink. It’s a sweet spot to stop after shopping Broadway or when you want to while away the afternoon with a good-sized group of friends.
Opened in September 2013 by Bracey Rogers (formerly of La Spiga and former owner of Lucky 8s China House, which was in the same spot before closing) and Chris King (also formerly of La Spiga) and recently joined by Ian Carey (also in the past at Lucky 8s), Bar Sue’s south-of-the-Mason-Dixon bona fides are evident when you walk in, thanks to the array of southern state license plates on the wall—possibly from the owners, as Rogers is from Arkansas; King, from South Carolina; and Carey, from Texas. The cocktail menu offered by affable bar manager Carey (formerly of King’s Hardware, Linda’s Tavern and other Cap Hill spots) and his staff isn’t massive, but it does reflect the bar’s southerly leanings with a twist. The Uncle Jesse exemplifies this honky-tonk fusion, with its wacky but successful marrying of root beer and green Chartreuse ($11). It’s a smidge too sweet to have two, but the deep herbalness of the root beer and the layers of spice in the Chartreuse are a heady combo. The house-made tonic in the GNT ($8) is also first-rate—especially on a summer’s day—and if you wanna howl at the moon, try the Hound Dog ($7), a tequila-filled pickled pepper.
Delivered in red plastic baskets lined with wax paper, the food features a few variations you wouldn’t see down south. Take the pork sandwich. It has a Carolina barbecue sauce, but also an apple fennel slaw. You’ll find other sandwiches on the menu, such as Double D’s Chicken Samich with house pickle and a secret sauce, a blackened catfish with dill aioli, as well as a couple of larger dishes (all sandwiches, $11), but don’t miss the side of hush puppies ($5). They’re crisp on the outside, steaming and fluffy on the inside, with a hint of peppery heat, and honey mustard for dipping.
A down-home atmosphere oozes from cozily rough wooden tabletops and patchwork wood panels on the wall, as well a deer antler assortment in one corner. But you won’t find a sleepy Southern vibe. There’s a big TV playing black-and-white movies or local sports, and loud music accompanies the happy conversation at this fun, friendly spot.