Well they've done it again. The golden run of bar openings of Jason Scott and Anton Forte shows no signs of slowing with their latest venture Frankie's another feather in their colourful cap.
What these boys manage to do in their venues, which so many others don't, is create – say it with me now – character. When you walk into their bars, you walk into their world, and that's what we want. Places that take you into the minds of the owners, to see their ideas and memories come to life and immerse you in their personality. Few others are doing it so well in Sydney as Scott and Forte. No matter how new their bars are, they make them feel like they've been around for years, and, most importantly they don't feel manufactured or plagiarised; they are original and they are fun.
Most of you will know Scott and Forte's other bars Shady Pines Saloon and The Baxter Inn which won them legions of hipster fans and accounted for many of our hangovers over the past few years. Well meet Frankie's, the bar most likely to be accountable for your hangovers of 2013. "We really wanted to open a rock bar in Sydney," says Scott "and we love being in the CBD so this just felt like the perfect fit."
Half dive bar, half New York style pizza parlour, this is definitely a step away from the cocktail and whiskey specialities of Shady and Baxter. In fact no cocktails are served other than a frozen margarita ($10) slushie style, but spirits and mixers are, along with a fairly basic wine list. Frankie's is all about craft beer from Belgium, the U.S., Australia, Scotland and Denmark. There's a good range of ales, lagers and ciders of varying flavour, alcohol strength and price – we were digging the Lord Nelson ($8) and the Weyerbacher stout ($12) from the US. The pizza itself is more chew than crunch and generous at $5 a slice, it's not right up there with the original but is a perfectly satisfying beer absorber. Those with yeast allergies need not apply.
The best news about it is in a city that has a distinct lack of good late night drinking venues is it's open (and serves pizza) till 4am. There are immediate plans to get live music in there around four nights a week; in the mean time Scott's playlist is central to the bar's successful vibe. "I'm playing everything from Lou Reed to The Grateful Dead, Dire Straits, AC/DC, anything before '89 really."
"For us, the whole world of a bar has to be immersive completely. I'm not sure why bars in Sydney don't think it's as important, it is the most important thing to us. The experience, the lights, the music, every texture is crucial to absorb you and not take you out of the place you're in." Amen to that.
As for his next grand plans? "Sleep" he says.
Images: Katje Ford.