A little bit about us
On the site of the old Triangle, 9 Million in Unmarked Bills is a whiskey bar with an upscale flair and gourmet food.
View Larger Map
Review in Lake Union Beat (p. 10)
Rating: **** (excellent)
Chances are pretty high that you’ve never gone to a ransom bar – but do you really want to? Before you make any preconceptions about what a ransom bar might actually be, head over to the trendy new Nine Million in Unmarked Bills located in the Fremont area of Seattle. Just steps from the sign proclaiming Fremont as the “Center of the Universe”, this new modern bar and eatery has a Prohibition era theme, with cocktails named after famous gangsters like John Dillinger and Lucky Luciano. An antique manual typewriter at the entrance clutches a note claiming “this is a stick-up”, and owner Nate Rezac kidnaps you with his winning smile as soon as you enter the doorway. Nate and his stunning blonde bombshell wife, Valerie, case the room like a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, chatting easily with guests, and making sure their glasses stay filled to the brim. Glass tabletops feature reproductions of real ransom notes obtained from the LAPD and NYPD law enforcement archives, demanding “put all your money in the sack” and “I know where you live.”
The Happy Hour at Nine Million in Unmarked Bills is a steal, with 10 to-die-for food items that cost $5 each from 4 to 7 p.m. The “Lamb Sliders” are billed as “deconstructed” (whatever that means in foodie terms), and the ultra-iron- content fix of “Broccoli with Garlic and Kale” is sautéed in olive oil with pine nuts, chili flakes and garlic. “Truffle Fries” are infused with lemon pepper aioli, while “Spicy Prawns” are soaked in tequila habanero sauce and served over creamy polenta. Mojitos are also $5, while well drinks are $3.50 and house wines are $4. When Happy Hour ends, the food continues until 1:00 am, with menu items ranging from $6 to $14. Brick oven pizzas are served all day and night.
A long, sleek bar stretches across one side of the room, with an overhanging neon sign announcing “Prescriptions”, and a stock of bottles that would make Doc Barker proud. Specialty drinks include the John Dillinger (a shot of Bulleit bourbon and a piece of candy or rolled cigarette) and the DB Cooper (Aviation gin, muddled lemon, fresh ginger, Cointreau, champagne.)
The walls are quilted velvet, illuminated by a disco ball rotating periodically (which assumedly spins nonstop on special Thursday night DJ parties.) In a nod to Seattle’s new bar bingo trend, the joint is held up on Wednesday nights by MC Bingo Bare Knuckles, who captivates with bingo and rock n roll. But afternoons and most weekday evenings are more laid back, with over 100 board games to play at your table, including Operation, Cranium and Outburst.
While Nine Million in Unmarked Bills is sure to incite the ire of some for its notable lack of thematic “political correctness,” it’s a dynamite place where guests can relax and speak-easy, without getting their wallets hijacked.
Major credit cards accepted, parking is on street or nearby lots.
Review by Wendy K. Leigh