The Central Coast has a new rooftop bar which is all about quality not quantity.
As well as offering Woy Woy locals a chic new watering hole and cocktails with a view, Frankie’s Rooftop Bar, which opened atop the Bayview in late 2017, is promising to up the Coast’s bar stakes.
The visionary behind the venue, Frankie’s General Manager Jordan Harris, said he wanted to create a new premium drinking experience for the Coast, something that will push the boundaries while also trying to re-educate locals about how to drink.
“With the influx of Sydneysiders relocating to the area, the Coast is lacking in Sydney-like drinking and dining experiences and this is what I hope we can achieve with Frankie’s,” Jordan said.
As one of the Sydneysiders who flocked north to the Coast 15 years ago after doing the hard yards under Justin Hemmes at Merivale venues like Establishment, Slip Inn and Angel Bar, he didn’t want people to feel like they had to go to Sydney to have a premium bar experience.
“They can have the same offering at Frankie’s that they would have at The Baxter Inn, Lobo Plantation, Jacoby’s or Earl’s Juke Joint. People have seen what’s possible in Sydney – we want to offer the same level of class and style,” he added.
While the odd guest will order a Midori Splice or a Jim Beam and coke, that’s more likely to be on order downstairs at the Bayview.
Frankie’s, run by the Harris and Narvo hotel group and named after footy legend Frank Narvo, is mostly stocked with craft liquors.
Boutique Sydney distiller Archie Rose is the house gin. Jagerbombs and shots aren’t on the menu. If you’re going to order a $15 nip of tequila, you should enjoy it neat, or over ice – that’s the Frankie’s ethos.
“We’re not offering a cheap product or a cheap experience, we want to offer the best the Coast has to offer. We want the Coast to realise what good drinking is. It’s not about getting smashed. It’s better drinking one drink at a time,” Jordan said.
“We want to do things Coasties have never seen before and push the boundaries, progressively offering more extreme, challenging and unique drinks.”
He’s referring to Heston Blumenthal-style molecular concoctions with smoke techniques and drinks such as The Death Flip, which is one of many “borrowed” recipes from cocktail kings around the country. Without revealing all the secrets of Chris Hysted-Adams’ famed beverage from the Black Pearl in Melbourne, apparently it contains raw egg, tequila and yellow chartreuse.
There are 40 whiskies, 15 gins and 12 rums behind the bar but it’s another liquor that is expected to bring alcohol enthusiasts from far and wide – Chartreuse.
Originally created as the ‘elixir of life’ by monks in a French valley back in the 1600s, to this day only two monks know the secret recipe of 130 botanicals which are sourced from all four corners of the globe.
Frankie’s is one of only a handful of bars in Australia to offer the whole Chartreuse range and Jordan said he was looking forward to introducing more Coasties to the medicinal and mysterious French beverage.
While Chartreuse is considered medicine in France and is tipped to make its way onto oysters and into ice cream as Frankie’s menu evolves at the hands of chef Angela Campbell, it’s currently available to try as “treuse and juice” or in cocktails such as “You can’t handle the treuse”, which is like a grown up espresso martini.
It was a beloved beverage of Queen Victoria and zany author Hunter S Thompson but while Frankie’s educates the Coast about the unusual spirit, other cocktails, like the Pornstar, are proving the most popular.
The vanilla and passionfruit martini is served with a half passionfruit and a chaser of prosecco to add some theatrics and leave the dry or sweet balance of the cocktail in the hands of the drinker.
All Frankies cocktails are made with deluxe, fresh ingredients and cost $18.
While there is no happy hour per se, ‘throwback Thursday’ sees a classic cocktail offered for $12 a pop.
In the spirit of alcohol education, the bar is also offering a “break even bottle” concept where they sell a top shelf spirit at cost price to introduce patrons to a quality drop.
It might be the most expensive bottle on the shelf, such as Macallan Scotch, which is priced at $40 a nip, a rare rum or even a limited edition Chartreuse.
Coasties can also look forward to spirit, wine and beer events such as gin-making classes.
While food is incorporated into the cocktail list a la the Bloody Mary which is served with a bacon rasher, and alcohol is set to be incorporated more into the food menu – think Chartreuse souffle – the enticing lunch line-up and tapas-style share snacks are perfect for the setting and location.
Lunch includes a Ploughman’s Lunch, Reuben on rye and Moreton Bay Bug spaghettini while bar snacks range from crunchy fried school prawns and oysters to salmon skewers and sticky pork belly.
Frankie’s offers table service so you don’t ever have to hop off your Parisian chic stool and pull yourself away from the dazzling water view.
“You’re our guest. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view, while our staff look after you,” Jordan said.
The hospitality stretches as far as the bill with every guest given a pineapple lolly with their cheque – apparently the pineapple is the international symbol of hospitality.
In line with the evolution of Woy Woy into a fresh and modern coastal suburb, the bar is decked out in chic flourishes courtesy of local design outfit Stewart + Highfield.
According to Cate Stewart and Xanthe Highfield, the brief was to create a space that distinguished itself from the pub and bistro downstairs and made the most of the idyllic waterfront so they created an open air oasis with a strong focus on the sparkling views of Brisbane Water.
It begins with the electric blue neon sign that points to the rooftop bar, signifying that Frankie’s is a very different experience to The Bayview, despite sharing the same roof.
The design studio likes to support local artisans so a lot of the touches have been sourced from the Coast including Beachbox Interiors, Maison & More, Magnolia Home and Gifts, and even boho cushions from Woy Woy neighbour Blonde Onyx.
With funky tiles, exposed brick, a white-pebbled cactus garden inspired by a recent trip to Palms Springs, trendy handwoven stools and a herringbone timber ceiling, the fit out is as classy as the drinks offering.
Frankie’s is open from midday until midnight Wednesday to Sunday.