Frankie’s Fun Room Bar Review


It was a usual Thursday night catch up with my mate AJ, we’ve longed been discussing the prospects of finding the highly secretive bar under Frankie’s Pizza joint on Hunter Street. For those who haven’t been to Frankie’s Pizza check them out here Frankie’s Pizza is famous for their simple styled pizzas and beers in measuring cups, so that you can keep count on your alcohol intake (no joke). So for a while AJ has been fueling my head of this mysterious bar underneath the basement of Frankies, a place where fine gentlemen and tailored suits would go. As legend has it the mysterious bar is located below the basement of the Pizzeria and the only way to access it is through a fire escape stairwell that leads you further down into the belly of the dragon.

How to get there:

Stage 1: First get yourself onto Hunter St and look for the blaring neon lights
Stage 2: Go down stairs into the basement and order one of their authentic simple styled Italian Pizzas, you’ll have to try and order around these douche bags.
Stage 3: Go through a pair of doors to your right, there you will find a much larger and darker room. You will find in this room pinball machines, a long bar and seating booths to your left.
Stage 4: Don’t get lost, this is the most critical part. Keep right and you’ll eventually find a glowing escape sign right at the back of the room. There is a door there, push it.
Stage 5: Make sure your friends are still with you, otherwise they’ll think you’ve disappeared into a parallel universe.
Stage 6: Walk down the fire stairs and you’ll find a sign that says “Bar Below”, you should then begin to chant “Frankie pankie frankly panties” the door will then automatically open. And if it doesn’t you can just open it with your hand in a pulling like gesture.
Final Stage: Look we’ve made it! Quick lets order a celebratory drink!
Surprisingly the room is quite empty and goes to show that not many people know about this hidden gem.
At Frankie’s Fun Room they mainly serve unprocessed drinks and what I mean is that they don’t do cocktails. Just good old fashion drinks straight out of the bottle, you have a choice of having it neat, on the rocks or a dash of water. On the night the bartender recommended to us the Lagavulin aged 16 years, a single malt Scottish whiskey. The drink was absolutely amazing. it was so full of flavour and smokey that it almost set the fire alarm off. Note: That all the spirits are tagged with a price tag, that will give you an indication of how much a shot of drink will cost and in this case for a shot of this fine whiskey will set you back $16.
No orange peel, no lemon twist, no mint, no cherry on top and no garnish. This is the way of the Fun Room and surprisingly very comfortable as it has stripped off the wanker like atmosphere that you get at most pretentious hipster bars in Sydney.
Well that’s basically it, once you’re done with your drink you can then proceed to carefully resurfacing back to the street level.

Frankie’s Fun Room has definitely been the most challenging to find and therefore deserves the title of Shiftiest Small Bar. I would definitely recommend this place for a nice catch up with a few close friends and to enjoy each  others company over a drink. Though the variety of drinks maybe limited, the drinks they do serve are carefully picked, like cherries on a tree. The atmosphere and decor is warm and will make you want to keep ordering drinks just so that you could stay there for longer, therefore take your time and enjoy it slowly.

P.D. (Parke Davis) Bar Review

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It was a Thursday night when my friend and I were looking for a place to catch up. Located conveniently on York Street just opposite the bus stops, one can have a few drinks and stumble onto a bus home without too much trouble. P.D. is not like your typical discreet small bar, contrarily, it is quite visible from street level at night. The glowing P.D. light bulbs lured us down the short flight of steps, where we were greeted by the warm lighting, friendly staff and Thurston Harris’ Little Bitty Pretty One. Instantly we knew this was a type of bar that ticked most of our boxes and qualified as a hipster bar. All that we had to do was sit back and order some drinks.

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Since it was nearing the end of the week, both of us were in dire need for a stiff drink. At first glance, the drinks seemed different to your standard cocktails as a fair few of the drinks used Green Ferry Absinthe as their base. Straying away from ordering my usual drinks, I went straight for the drink with Remy Martin’s Gin and the Absinthe Ice Sphere titled Sazerac Sphere. The superior quality of the Remy Martin’s Gin hit the spot and the rich aromas of the bitters and sweetness of the cognac lingered afterwards. Served in a large glass, the drink encouraged us to drink it at a leisurely pace. The green Absinthe sphere gradually melted, little by little adding itself into equation to the drink. The Sazerac Sphere is a drink that is simply presented and a strong drink to help kick start your night out.

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“It’s really good, I made it myself” Bobby the bar tender

How ’bout a recommendation from the bar tender?

His name was Bobby. He’s also the general manager so he’ll be there on most nights. Make sure you ask for Bobby, give him your choice of base and he’ll concoct a drink to your mood. Like a Pandora playlist when I input gin into the search bar a Martinez was being carefully made behind the bench of the bar. According to Bobby, the Martinez was the predecessor of the Martini’s that we drink today. Tracing back to Roman times, the only type of vermouth they had was the sweet vermouth, which gives the drink its special dark quality. Each of the flavours compliments each other, such as the exotic spices of the Bombay Sapphire Gin, flagrant sweetness of the Maraschino cherry liqueur and Angostura bitters. Well presented in a martini glass, garnished with a cherry on top. The drink was exactly what I needed after a hard weeks worth of work.

So if you’re looking for a place to have a nice casual catch up under some warm ambiance, good music and drinks during the week  P.D. would definitely be a go to place under my books. Or if you’re looking for something more romantic, there’s plenty of room further away from the bar for a quite secluded evening amongst the rustic basement decor.

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Enjoy it Sloe(ly)

sloe gin lemonade

Normally I wouldn’t adhere to adding lemonade to my drinks. It’s kind of a cheats mixer to mask cheap and unpleasant alcohol. But I will however make an exception to lemonade this time, as we’re talking about mixing it with Sloe Gin.

This is a drink that even my mate DK would agree to, so it goes to show how impressive this little cocktail is. Drinking it for the first time, one wouldn’t even guess that this was Gin that we’re drinking and there are good reasons for that. Sloe Gin is basically sloe (a type of plum) soaked in gin and sugar for an extended amount of time. In essence it resembles a lot of the Japanese plum wines such as Umeshu. This is why my first impression of the drink reminded me of an old childhood taste of the dried plums I had at my Grandmother’s house. Because of this, Sloe Gin & Lemonade is extremely easy to drink and perhaps it is for good reason that many of us mistake the drink as ‘slow’ gin, to remind us to enjoy it slowly.

The drink though being so simple is incredibly powerful and deep, the taste is exquisitely refined and sentimental. Drinking it for the first time, the drink taps into our distant memories trying to recall this wonderfully mysterious taste. Because of this our minds flip through the chapters in our life to recall this intriguing taste.

The drink’s rich aroma of the gin and sweetness of the sloe mulls together a melody of age and time. I would recommend this drink to go with the company of a few close friends and a song that can carry the same depth that the drink offers.

Suntory Yamazaki 18 Years Old

After coming back from Japan last year, I developed an obsession with Japanese Whisky. I had randomly picked a Suntory Hibiki 17 Years Old and a Suntory Yamazaki 12 Years Old from the duty free before I left. Though I’m not exactly a whisky connoisseur, I thought the Yamazaki 12 was pretty fucking good but the Hibiki 17 packed a punch. I felt as though I had snorted it up my nostrils instead of drinking it. Okay, I may be exaggerating but I’ve resorted to drinking the Hibiki 17 strictly in highballs (or haibōru). Just because Bill Murray is selling the Hibiki 17 in “Lost in Translation” does not mean you should start out with this one.

After doing a bit of research the next time I visited Japan, I decided to splurge of the Suntory Yamazaki 18 Years Old. I also bought the Nikka Taketsuru 21 Years Old and Suntory Hakushu 12 Years Old, more on them to come. After the first sip with my two regular drinking buddies (The Mainlander and Red Ranga), we just looked at each other in awe. I didn’t really think there could be that much difference in whiskies but damn this shit was delicious.

Yamazaki 18 Years Old

I’m not going to describe tasting notes because I have no idea really, but it was just so smooth compared to any other whisky I had ever tasted. The smokiness and the flavour is just amazing. I highly recommend this whisky if you ever get a chance to taste it, or if you are feeling cheap the Yamazaki 12 will also do. The 18 has a darker and more caramel flavour where as the 12 is has a lighter and sharper citrus flavour. Anyway, now I will stop pretending to know what I’m talking about.

In the Glass

The DK

“The DK” originated from the Peach Tart.

Peach Tart:

  • 30 ml peach schnapps
  • 15 ml fresh lime juice

Stir schnapps and lime juice together with ice, then strain into a chilled shot glass.

The book had a picture that looked like this

Peach Tart in book

How can a clear liqueur and lime look like that? Anyway, let’s just forget about how that is possible.

And this is what we made

Peach Tart I made

I found that the lime really bought out the peach flavour of the schnapps and dissipated the overpowering taste that you usually get when drinking cheap peach schnapps by itself. I also like things sour, so the more lime, the better. As delicious as this was, I wanted something that could last a bit longer than just a shot. So what could be better than adding some vodka and lemonade leading to the DK.

The DK

The DK:

  • 30 ml vodka
  • 15 ml peach schnapps
  • 30-60 ml lemonade
  • fresh lime (how ever much you want – I like a quarter of a lime or more)

Fill an old fashioned glass 3/4 way to the top with ice. Add vodka, peach schnapps and top with lemonade. Squeeze lime over the top and stir well.

The DK

I wouldn’t exactly say this is balanced, but damn it is easy to drink. No one I hung around with then was into martinis, negronis and whatnot, rather they enjoyed sickly sweet drinks and so this became my go to drink to serve and still is on many occasions. Since then there have been many other variations including the Green Gummy Bear.

Who cares who Tom Collins is

tom collins

The reason why you shouldn’t care about who Tom Collins is because he is an imaginary character made up by New Yorkers 140 years ago, as a way to amuse themselves in an era without social media or smartphones. Giving birth to famous questions such as

“Have you seen Tom Collins?” or “Who is Tom Collins?”

Though only a made up character what he possessed as a symbol was a visual of, suaving good looks, impeccable tastes, successful and a charisma to seduce anyone’s girlfriend right under their nose. No wonder people were so agitated to hear of this Tom Collins fella. If he was realized he’d probably be a Ryan Gosling look alike in a suit. In a word  a ‘Classic’. This was precisely what the bartender ‘Raph’ from The Different Drummer served up after asking for a recommendation for a drink with Martin Miller’s gin. Having to finally meet Tom first handedly, he held up to his expectations. Crisp as the morning air is it to a freshly pressed shirt, the drink was untarnished and refreshing. Just as salt helps bring out the sweetness in chocolate, the powdered sugar helped bring out the lingering bitterness in the Martin Miller’s gin. Together with the freshly squeezed lemon juice, shaken and strained into a tall glass. The drink is topped with soda water, garnished with a slice of lemon and glazed cherry.

Tom Collins is best served with Lorde, the crisp beat produces a refreshing coolth and a unique attitude. A drink fit for royalty at a mid-summers garden party, it gives off a fresh scent of timelessness like a glass of spring in the clasp of your hands.

Small Bar: Different Drummer

Americano – I’m not a coffee

americano illustrations

Different to a reputable source like Wikipedia. The origins of the Americano (not the coffee) was explained to me by a Melbournian bar tender who refused to sell me a Negroni due to some statutory law that refrains small bars from serving hard liquors after a certain hour. So the story goes something along the lines of during WW2 when the Americans were fighting in Italy. Whenever the Americans entered a bar and ordered a drink, the Italian bar tenders by right of their patriotism would serve the American soldiers the cheapest liquids they had, comprising Campari, Sweet Vermouth, and an abundance of San Pellegrino, voila! The Italian bar tender will then raise both hands in a gesture that could only mean one thing and shout “Americano!”

I had my doubts at first, thinking that my favorite drink would be diluted with bubbles, the thought gave me a shear sense of putridness. BUT to my surprise it was a good save by the crafty bar tender from the Croft Institute. The drink retained its bitterness with a splash of freshness. Kind of like when you usually listen to the Phoenix and then being told that they had gone to bed early, so their distant cousins The Local Natives step in. The Americano all in all rings an old flavour with a refreshing surprise.

Small Bar: The Croft Institute

First Post!

So five years ago I got my RSA and started an alcohol collection which I guess really isn’t related, seeing as I never worked as a bartender. I did a 2 hour course on making cocktails and learnt some of the basics. I wouldn’t say I know all that much about cocktails but here are some drinks I made during my 21st birthday. I didn’t have all the proper glasses for each of the cocktails so I just made do.

Strawberry Daiquiri
Sex on the Beach
Peach Tart
Orange Margarita
Strawberry Caipiroska
Japanese Slipper

Less text and more pictures.. yeah! That’s what a blog post should be like right?

So why do I post about something I made five years ago? Because one of these drinks led to “The DK”. What is “The DK” you ask? Just click on the damn link .

where the drinks are as shifty as the patrons