Wednesday, December 12, 2012

To be frank: Frankie's Pizza

The guys behind, arguably, Sydney's favourite bars - Shady Pines Saloon and The Baxter Inn - have gone a different path for their latest venture, Frankie's Pizza: late night pizza and a dive bar, right in the heart of the CBD.

Frankie's Pizza neon sign, Hunter Street, Sydney
To start with, Frankie's Pizza has street signage and serves food beyond peanuts and pretzels, unlike its older siblings.

Just opened on Friday last week, they've taken over the underground space of the previously highly dodgy Hunter Bar on Hunter Street, just down the road from Rockpool Bar and Grill.

And with its seven-days-a-week, 4pm to 4am trading hours - and just because it comes from Anton Forte and Jason Scott - it's certain to be a hit with the late night drinkers, munchers and industry crowd.

Entry stariway
Descend the stairs at the Hunter Street entrance past the hanging bunches of garlic and chillies into the checkerboard-floored space covered in holiday snaps and other Italian-esque memorabilia, where candles in Chianti bottles sit atop plastic-covered red-checked tablecloths. It is the pure stereotype of an Italian trattoria.

Italian styled dining space
There's a menu of 10 pizza varieties at $16 each, while select pizzas are served by the slice on paper plates at $5 a large slice.

Pizza kitchen
They come fresh out of a little sliding door from the dedicated kitchen into the bar space, to be picked up by customers who need to keep an eye on the red LED-lit numbers at the bar.

Pizza kitchen and bar
You could dine at the tables and booths there and completely neglect to investigate the dark, double swing doors to the right side of the kitchen bar.

Dive bar
The adjoining dive bar at Frankie's Pizza is another world: it's dark, loud with the 1980s (or 70s?) and a few musical selections that seem more at home at Shady Pines, and absolutely covered in band and gig posters.

Dive bar
The posters even paper the walls of the bathrooms, of which the unlabelled ladies' is immediately to the left of the bar entrance.

Dive bar
There's a now trademark long bar where familiar bearded faces and tattooed arms serve a bucketload of beers: those on tap in comical, colourful plastic beer mugs and a huge variety by the bottle.

Beer served in plastic mugs
There are also spirits and some wines available, and frozen margaritas at $10 a salt-rimmed pop.

Frozen margaritas
Served in picnic-friendly glasses with bendy straws and a lime wheel, the frozen margarita is a cheek-pinching eye waterer. We could barely take a sip without wincing immediately after, for the simultaneous tequila and lime hit.

I wouldn't call it refreshing, but it might well be a deliberate ploy to push drinkers towards the excellent beer selection.

Pinball machines
While there are retro pinball machines for your amusement (one is just 20 cents per play, if it doesn't eat up your coins), there's more entertainment in the pages and pages of the beer menu. I'm going to need a fair few visits to work through even a page of it.

Hawaiian pizza
Our group takes up the area near the pinball machines to devour a multitude of pizzas: I taste or catch glimpses of the Hawaiian, Sausage, Salami, Capricciosa and Meatball as the round, silver pizza trays fly across the table.

Meatball pizza
The pizzas are thin and the bases are not in the slightest bit soggy (even the ones with mushroom), with chewy, golden, perfectly-formed crusts.

Sausage pizza
My favourites of this sampling are the Capricciosa with an abundance of fresh mushrooms, olives artichoke and real ham, and the Sausage which is fennel scented and presumably pork with mushrooms and an aroma of truffle.

Salami pizza
The Salami pizza is of a particularly spicy cured pork sausage, which almost makes the frozen margarita more palatable. But really, it's a story of pizza and beer.

Pizza and beer - good times
The bar's theming is a not as defined as Shady Pines or The Baxter Inn, but you get the feeling that Frankie's Pizza is the kind of place that Forte and Scott just want to hang out and chill, eat pizzas and drink beer.

To be frank, the pizza probably won't win any awards but then, that's not really the point. Hungry, late nights in the Sydney CBD now have a saviour - and his name is Frankie's Pizza.

Frankie's Pizza on Urbanspoon


Vivian - vxdollface said...

haha yeah late nights after lots of drinks. would be a great place with a few friends :)

Missy Piggy said...

These place sounds GREAT! I like having more eating options in the city...hidden little gems are the best. And thin bases too...perfection!

joey@FoodiePop said...

I don't stay out late enough to visit places like this. :-)

JB said...

OMG. Have we come full circle already that the bar where the old Hunter Bar used to be is *gasp* cool again?

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

This place is going on my hit list. Need to find a great pizza joint in sydney!

Jacq said...

Walked past this place today and I was wondering what happened to seedy old Hunter Bar lol. This looks like the perfect late night CBD hangout

Simon Leong said...

i'm already missing the vietnamese place it replaced for my lunch time fix of crispy chicken :-(

Melissa L said...

My jaw dropped when I saw the photo of all those garlic ropes. That is one joint vampires will fear to tread. ;)

penny aka jeroxie said...

Hell yes! Great to dig in after a night out.

Tina said...

Hi Vivian - Sure is, especially in the current festive season ;)

Hi Miss Piggy - Not the best bases around but lots of fun :)

Hi joey - They open at 4pm ;)

Hi JB - Haha, not sure I was around when it was first 'cool'... ;)

Hi Tina - I'm afraid Frankie's won't reach the heights of pizza greatness, but ticks boxes in terms of a fun night out.

Hi Jacq - Hunter Bar in its later days was horrible; yay for change!

Hi Simon - Well, you can have 4pm pizza and beer; not too bad a swap ;)

Hi Melissa - Haha, I did think that when we entered :D

Hi Penny - Yup, not much beats hot pizza after several/too many drinks :)


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