The Watering Hole: The Augustus, 3601 Fremont Ave. N., 547-5103, FREMONT
Sheldon nods at the masters.
The Atmosphere: There aren't many respectable places in Fremont for the 30-and-over crowd to settle in for a cocktail. The Augustus, however, is a happy exception. On a recent Sunday, Pappy, the owner's large, docile dog, roams the room. He fits nicely with the space's mellow vibe.
Booths and high tables hug the interior wall, a few stools line the front window, and a small seating area is arranged in the back of the room. A tarnished copper bar counter is one of the few elements carried over from the previous tenant, The Rogue and Peasant. The bottle collection on the back of the bar is being built slowly and methodically, with common favorites already in stock.
The Barkeep: On a recent weekend afternoon, co-owner and veteran mixologist Robb Sheldon is working the bar. Sheldon has completed stints at Grey and Liberty, and before opening The Augustus, he spent two years revamping Whisky Bar. He founded The Augustus with his wife Sarah and the owners of neighboring restaurant Hunger. Sheldon favors drinks "with a nod to the masters" that are prepared with no more than three or four ingredients. "I try to leave herbs for the kitchen to use, except mint," he says.
The Drink: Asked to prepare a drink of his choice, Sheldon settles on a gin cocktail he recently concocted called the A&A Railroad: Gordon's gin, anise-tinged Amaro CioCiaro, Peychaud's bitters, and a twist.
The Verdict: Better savored than slammed, the A&A Railroad is refined and heady. Sips start dry and bitter in the best way, then turn slightly sweet in the finish. The bar's hook may be a menu featuring house-stuffed sausages, but Sheldon's clean, classic cocktails equally warrant repeat visits.