The Upstairs Bar
This is a really cool place of interest. This was a speakeasy during Prohibition in the late 1920s a Philly gangster named Max “Boo Boo” Hoff put up a front called the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company. It is said that they ran more liquor than Al Capone. 80 years later after the the abolishment of prohibition, this is still the place to come to drink, but only if you want really good quality craft cocktails. There are plenty of pubs in Philly if you just want to chug. This is a place to relax and enjoy what cocktails should be.
Now there is a delightful twist, and it is that there is a Tiki Speakeasy inside of this Speakeasy If you want The Franklin, you have to walk downstairs and are greeted at the door by a host. But if you want Polynesian cocktails, you have to head upstairs but only before you encounter another host. It might sound complicated, but it isn’t and even if it was, this is very well worth it.
We had to come back an hour later because they open an hour later than stated and the downstairs was closed for a private party. This was not a bad thing, because they serve no food. And everyone knows or should know the rule, eat while drinking to avoid serious sickness. We headed over to the obvious place where people normally go after heavy drinking (Pat’s and Geno’s Steaks), but the logical thing to do is eat fist.
Once finally we got upstairs to the Upstairs Bar I was immediately jealous of this huge cocktail for 4 overflowing with dry ice. Fortunately I got my own very cool cocktail billowing with dry ice clouds called Dr. Penn, one of their own inventions with the description “From the South Seas to the Pennsylvania Dutch, a most curious elixir. The Doctor is in. Maggie’s Farm Queen’s Share rum, Branca Menta, Pomegranate, Aromatic Fog. I definitely tasted the mint and the rum, but not the aromatics of the dry ice fog, but who cares? This drink was so very cool and tasty. The fog brought all it needed to. No need for its aromatics, present or absent.
The bartender was kind enough to explain the cocktails to us since the menu was really not all that descriptive and very vague. I call her the bartender because she took the order but I think they were actually mixed by a mixologist behind the bar since we were seated at a booth. All the cocktails were delicious. This is a definite must visit tiki place if you are in Philadelphia and you are in love with Polynesian cocktails.
The decor is very retro, its a cross between tiki and vintage 1970s color magazine ads. The place is great fun. The music I am not quite sure about, it was not exotica but thankfully it was not 1980s music either.
The Franklin – 112 South 18th Street Philadelphia PA 19143
www.thefranklinbar.com / Phone: 267-467-3277