There’s nothing bad about Bad Frankie. In fact, it's a pretty damn good addition to Greeves Street in Fitzroy — just a hop, skip and a jump away from Smith.
The dimly-lit bar stands as a cheeky homage to John Franklin, the infamous governor of Van Diemen's Land who outlawed small pot stills in the 19th century. And therein lies the premise behind Bad Frankie: it's filling the gap from the time lost in the industry way back when.
Black and white photographs act as wallpaper and ropes dangle from the ceiling bearing lights in jars to give off a soft, yellow glow. Dark furnishings and cushioned benches make up the quiet dining space, which becomes an intimate and ideal date spot once the sun goes down.
On the menu you'll only find a range of boutique Australian spirits, wine and beer — so it's lucky, as it turns out, that we do booze pretty well here. The Pepperberry Fizz ($18) is a delightful and refreshing concoction of Melbourne Gin Company gin mixed with lemon and pepperberry syrup, a dash of egg white and soda. Or if you’re taking the Aussie theme all the way, go for the martini made with 666 vodka from Tasmania and an infusion of eucalyptus — aptly named Euco Drops ($19). With such an extensive list, the flight of spirits option is a serving of five 10mL pours to broaden your liquid horizons.
Line them up on a Saturday night, then nurse your hangover with a jaffle or three on Sunday. Yep, the iconic jaffle is the only form of food you'll get at Bad Frankie, but they've got sweet and savoury covered. There's no going past the classic ($5) with vintage cheddar and mozzarella on white bread with either Vegemite or tomato chutney to accompany the sandwich, golden brown on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside. And to say no to finishing off with the lamington ($7) — chocolate soaked sponge cake filled with jam and rolled in coconut with cream — would only be un-Australian.
With some of the friendliest and most welcoming service we’ve seen in a long time, Bad Frankie is our new understated go-to for a pleasant, low-key evening.