First Call: Keeping It Simple (Smartly) At 9 Million in Unmarked Bills

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9 Mil's Brandon Fitzgerald
The Watering Hole: 9 Million in Unmarked Bills, 3507 Fremont Pl. FREMONT

The Atmosphere: Formerly Triangle Lounge, the Fremont bar takes on a quasi-prohibition "gangster" theme and its eight taps take the backseat to cocktails by the name of "Bonnie and Clyde" or "DB Cooper." 9 Mil shoots for an upscale crowd--the menu's white truffle mac 'n' cheese and lamb sliders standing as proof--but the weekend vibe still usually lands on the fratty end of the spectrum. My weeknight first call trip saw baseball on the flatscreens and a diverse crowd on the barstools--definitely different than my previous run-ins.

The Barkeep: Brandon Fitzgerald has been with 9 Mil since it reopened about a year and a half ago. He was friendly and attentive--and not too talkative.

The Drink: Picked from the board of specialty cocktails, Fizgerald made me a Brooklyn: Jameson whiskey, herbal Italian liqueur Amaro, maraschino liquor and dry vermouth. When I asked why this one, he simply offered up "It's delicious." When I prodded, he added "It'll give you a nice buzz." Indeed.

The Verdict: The drink was smooth thanks to the Jameson, sweet courtesy of the maraschino and the Amaro lent an herbal taste reminiscent of Jägermeister that managed not to overpower the whiskey. My usual whiskey drink of choice is a Manhattan or the occasional old fashioned, but thanks to Fitzgerald's tip I might add a new cocktail into the mix.

 
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