Franklin Mortgage Is Getting A Make-Under: Meet The Franklin Bar

The de-fancy-ization of the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. is currently underway.

It’s not that we’re over a great cocktail, but that we’re a little tired of the performance of exclusivity that has so often gone hand-in-hand with the revival of cocktail culture. This is Philly, after all, and we like it when things are great, but we get a little prickly when things are too self-conscious about how great they are.

It’s in this spirit that head bartender Sara Justice and the team at The Franklin Bar (a shortened moniker for the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company) are currently undertaking a makeover of their upstairs space to bring things back down to earth and plunk the drinks back where they belong: on a beloved bar, one that’s even a little divey.

The upstairs space at The Franklin Bar has most often been used for classes and events, but they’re in the process of opening it for regular service by cozying it up a little relative to the cool, subterranean cocktail den below. They’re hanging a selection of curated tchotchkes and decoupaging the walls with pages of a Bicentennial editions of Time and Playboy, bringing in a 1970’s vibe that works surprisingly well with the chesterfield-style banquettes. They’ll soon begin work on a mural to mimic the text of a billboard that used to hang over the Schuylkill (originally commissioned by a Chamber of Commerce) that read “Philadelphia isn’t as bad as Philadelphians say it is.

While the focus of the downstairs bar will remain on offering rigorous, original cocktails, don’t expect your granddad’s muddled maraschino Old Fashioned upstairs. Cocktails at “The Upstairs Bar” as it’s currently being called, will be a little more straightforward (think 4-5 elements, instead of seven-plus), but the ingredients will be just as solid as those downstairs. The Kensington will match bourbon with both sweet and dry vermouth, orange marmalade and Peychaud’s bitters. Chaos Theory combines rye whiskey, hibiscus, lemon, orange flower water, egg white, and bitters. And The Upstairs Daiquiri is a worthy blend of two rums, passionfruit, allspice, and lime. Plus, the menu will also include a nice little collection of craft beers and sherry for sipping.

If these are still too fancy for your taste you might prefer the late night happy hour (10:00pm-1:00am) which includes three shot-plus-beer deals (one of many nods to Bob & Barbara’s Lounge, a big inspiration for their transformation). One call will get you the house shot of Old Grand-Dad and a cold High Life for a cool $4.

Renovations are underway, but you’ll be able to add The Upstairs Bar to your line-up of Rittenhouse drinking dens within the next month or so.

The Franklin Bar [f8b8z]