Maybe it’s because you need a password to get in. Or perhaps its because of the plush velvet interior, the crystal chandeliers and the roaring 20s soundtrack wafting through the doors. Whatever it is, everybody is talking about Frank’s Bar.
Located on the edge of Palermo Hollywood, you wouldn’t know it was a bar-unless you knew it was Frank’s. A “Joe Mafia” guards an inconspicuous facade and only the secret password scores you entrance. Once inside, you’ve entered a world reminiscent of the American prohibition era, where l´bonne vie reigns and the alcohol flows freely. Burlesque dancers, home-made liquors and bow-tied bartenders round out the list of reasons why Frank’s Bar is the place to be in Buenos Aires.
The owners, a group of three life-long friends, always dreamed of owning their own space and having a piece of the vibrant Buenos Aires nightlife. Combining their backgrounds in the fashion, banking and music industries, they imagined a bar oculto, a budding trend that offers a little bit of mystery, a touch of exclusivity wrapped into the idea of a unique weekend experience. After spending some time in Chicago and New York visiting historical speakeasies, part-owner Juan Manuel Porada envisioned Frank’s as being exactly that, a throw-back to the era of secret bars and homemade concoctions, and so the bar was born, named as such because as Juan explains, “Who didn’t know a guy named Frank in the 1920s?”
Walking into Frank´s, you can´t help but feel a little sexy. After entering the code into a phone booth with a trick door, you walk down a long wooden corridor that opens up into the elegant two story bar. A welcoming hostess will either lead to an antique chaise lounge upholstered in sumptuous red velvet that begs to be sat in, or up the staircase adorned with statues whose grandeur could only be matched by the Titanic. Or grab a stool at the bar, fashioned out of blood-red oak cabinets and equipped with gold hooks to hang your coat, and admire the collection of crystal glasses and an opulent top shelf that implore you to order a drink. In between cocktails you can saunter over to the erotic lingerie shop that neighbors the bar, where you can get your kicks trying on your own frills and laces if you so choose to put on a burlesque show to keep up with the prohibition era attitude.
Frank’s signature cocktails are made with seasonal fruits and signature liquors, all of which are prepared by a team of attentive bartenders who really know there stuff. We suggest the bialowieza punch, made with sky vodka, homemade falernem, cucumber, cranberry juice and celery. Or their most attractive cocktail, the sherry cobbler, which tastes like a creamy berry popsicle straight out of your childhood. Made with jerez liquor, pineapple, orange and seasonal berries, its beauty matches its flavors, with sparkling red fruits floating in a highball glass. The classic old fashioned cocktail was the best we’ve tasted in Buenos Aires, and we were assured it’s the most popular at Frank’s. Much to our delight, a classic dirty martini is a house staple.
Whether you come for the international DJs, the luscious drinks or the luxurious atmosphere, Frank’s is the bar indispensable to the Buenos Aires trendsetter.
Photos by Jaime Ospina