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The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., Phila.


weinoo
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The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., recently opened by a number of the principles from Death & Co. in NYC, has been getting a fair amount of positive Philadelphia press and blogging.

The best place on to get info about them right now is their Facebook site; the bar's actual website (actual website) is not yet (to my knowledge) fully functional.

Perhaps some of you have been and care to let us know what you think. Ice, drinks, scene, trouble getting in, any important info would be great.

Oh, it's in Rittenhouse Square, at 112 S. 18TH STREET (215) 569-1160.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., recently opened by a number of the principles from Death & Co. in NYC, has been getting a fair amount of positive Philadelphia press and blogging.

The best place on to get info about them right now is their Facebook site; the bar's actual website (actual website) is not yet (to my knowledge) fully functional.

Perhaps some of you have been and care to let us know what you think. Ice, drinks, scene, trouble getting in, any important info would be great.

Oh, it's in Rittenhouse Square, at 112 S. 18TH STREET  (215) 569-1160.

I've been a few times since it's opened. The drinks have been universally excellent, the music relaxed --- though sometimes a little loud. It's definitely a hit with me, and all of the friends I've brought there have really enjoyed. Unfortunately, at $11 a drink ($10 each if you go for a carafe for four of their delicious punch) I can't make it there too often.

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It's a little unclear how much of a connection to Death and Co there is. The initial press was just as you said, Mitch, that some folks from that bar were opening a spot in Philly, which was pretty exciting. I don't know how much it matters, but I get the sense that the connection is a little more tenuous - some consulting? a bartender or two working both spots? There is some connection, but I don't think it's owned or run by principals from Death and Co.

Regardless, it has the dark, cozy speakeasy vibe of a place like D&C, and along with the no-sign obscurity, and doorman-controlled capacity, it's certainly in the tradition of many of the new cool cocktail bars in NY and around the country. It's quite nice-looking, the leather banquettes along one wall giving it a classic style. If there's any major disappointment, it's that the bar itself is pretty small - 5 seats? and a little cramped. I always prefer to sit at the bar and interact directly with my bartender at a place like this, but the odds are pretty bad...

I've only had a few drinks, which have generally been pretty good, occasionally very good, but I need to make my way through more of the menu. I've had a hard time remembering the names of some of the original concoctions, and the menu has changed a bit since an early version was posted at foodie.info but I'll try to take some better notes in future visits!

The Center City Swizzle is quite refreshing: a tall glass of nuggetized ice nodules cooling a concoction of rye, sherry, ginger, lemon, falernum and bitters. Oddly, it tastes like none of those things to me, but the combination is quite tasty, and the presentation makes it an almost perfect summer cocktail. I'm not sure about that particular style of ice - I don't think I've encountered those little iceballs before - I think I might prefer old-fashioned crushed ice.

That ice showed up again in the Pimm's Cup, both their "Simo Cup" twist on it and a well-made more traditional version, and other than it tending to jump out of the glass upon even mild stirring, it certainly seems to have done its job, cooling the drink without excessively diluting it. The Pimm's drinks were good, we preferred the traditional...

I tried "Tommy's Sazerac" which adds a little cognac to the rye, and it was fine, but I think I prefer just rye in that drink. I did have one of their original concoctions that I liked quite a lot, and I can't for the life of me remember its name - I recall gin, lemon, bitters and a splash of sparkling wine - maybe another element. Whatever that was, it was very nicely balanced, and very interesting.

So it's a little early to pass final judgment on the cocktails, but they are interesting, and well-made. None of them have grabbed my attention as dramatically as drinks I've had at PDT or Pegu or Violet Hour or Cure, but it's entirely possible that I just haven't ordered the right ones yet. I look forward to more research.

In any case, I'm happy to have yet another source for interesting drinks in Philly. I'll be curious to see how the scene evolves here: the Franklin is set to be a serious cocktail place, but in a neighborhood perilously overpopulated by wild partiers. I wish them luck!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Drinks - creative and interesting. Center City Swizzle and Hoff's Law my two faves so far, although that julep was pretty danged tasty too...

Ice - three kinds. 'Nuff said.

Atmosphere - speakeasy-esque, but the dearth of bar seats will be hard to take. I've been lucky the times I've gone in, but not a place to show up with a group and expect to sit at the bar.

Staff - aces, each and every one. Doesn't hurt that I know a few of them from prior employment. Everyone has been well informed and an excellent 'tender.

Bar toys - I'm pea green with envy. The most beautiful cut crystal beakers in which to stir with fancy Japanese bar spoons. Gorgeous stemware, cool bitters bottles, all of it. I want them for at home, not for at work, though.

I recommend everyone check out Franklin. It's nice to see someone raising the bar (so to speak). A rising tide floats all boats, so here's a toast to Franklin creating more cocktailian customers for all of us. Cheers!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 1 month later...

I'm almost reluctant to say too many nice things about this place, because, even in the slow days of summer, the Franklin seems to be finding an audience, making it harder for me to score one of those coveted bar stools...

But despite our initial skepticism, we've been getting some truly excellent cocktails, especially from those rare seats at the bar. My favorite drinks have been off-menu, either some obscure recipe that one of the bartenders had at the ready, or some new concoction they've been experimenting with. We've found that really interesting things happen if you give a bartender a base spirit and a few hints about the kinds of flavors you're in the mood for - or maybe just throw it wide open and see what shows up.

The best news is that you've got pretty good odds no matter who's behind the stick. At first, I was only confident taking chances when Nick or Alex were there, but as it turns out, we've been getting delicious and interesting drinks from whomever is working on any given night. They seem to have a very deep bench, so go ahead and challenge them, they're all pretty serious.

Of course, you're going to have a little more luck getting a thoughtful, complicated concoction when they're not completely slammed, so you might wait for a slow time to ask for something really whacky, but you shouldn't be reluctant to go off-menu at any time.

Which is not to say that the drinks on the menu aren't good - I really like a few of them, like the Doc Daneeka, and the above-mentioned Center-City Swizzle. I've just been more amused by being surprised by what they can come up with. It's easier to communicate with your bartender when sitting at the bar, but given the small number of seats, odds are you'll be at a table. The good news is that your server might be one of the bartenders, and even if not, he or she probably has a good amount of drink knowledge, so you can always ask them for advice or communicate your desires for a classic or custom drink, and your request will very likely get delivered to the bar intact.

I just wish they had a bigger bar, and something to eat - even just salty snacks of some sort.

I'm certainly going to continue getting cocktails at Southwark and Chick's, and APO on quieter nights, and from Katie over at the Oyster House, but the Franklin has also made it into the regular rotation. I guess that just means I have to drink more...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I just wish they had a bigger bar, and something to eat - even just salty snacks of some sort.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine at a few of the cocktail bars here in NY. Hey, would a few pretzels or nuts (go ahead, charge me) be that difficult?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Just went last evening for the first time. Wonderful addition to the bar scene. Enjoyed the Doc Daneeka Royale. We sat at a table, but had a server who knew his stuff and was able to recommend drinks (including some off-menu) based on our preferences.

It is so nice and cool in there, that it was a welcome oasis after sitting outside at Parc and nearly sliding off our chairs in the heat. I wanted to lay my head on the cool marble tabletops.

The only thing I walked away thinking it needed was a bowl of salty snacks on the table. It was interesting to log on here today and see the same comments in the last couple of days.

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We had some more really enjoyable cocktails recently at the Franklin. Our bartender Catherine had picked up some Muscadines and Scuppernongs (they're grapes, but I think they're grown on Venus, or maybe synthesized in some laboratory that makes delicious grape-like objects.) She proceeded to muddle some of them and include them as elements of some very interesting drinks.

Here's one with Scuppernongs, Junipero, Dolin Bianco, and a few mysterious dashes and drops of something:

gallery_23992_5408_31531.jpg

This was so clean and refreshing and delicious, just a great summer drink.

Here's another one with Tequila, and jeeze, I forget, whatever it was made it just as tasty as the first one.

gallery_23992_5408_7483.jpg

There was another one with ginger that I liked quite a lot, but probably still needed a tweak or two. Hey, I'm happy to be a test subject when the experiments are this tasty.

Later, for a change of pace, I asked Nick to make a Hanky Panky, and he offered to make something kind of like that, but not quite - so here's his Not a Hanky Panky:

gallery_23992_5408_30881.jpg

Very complex and tingly, sparkling with minty Fernet.

And speaking of which, we have been entertained by exploring the Fernetification of their drink menu: substituting Fernet-Branca for some element in each of their cocktails. It works better than you might think!

Yet more great cocktails, and an entertaining evening all around. All that was missing was some pretzels.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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And speaking of which, we have been entertained by exploring the Fernetification of their drink menu: substituting Fernet-Branca for some element in each of their cocktails.  It works better than you might think!

Yet more great cocktails, and an entertaining evening all around. All that was missing was some pretzels.

One of Alex's favorite things, if I remember, is using various amari...his Cobble Hill and Sweet & Vicious are two great drinks - see if they'll make either/or for you.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 2 weeks later...

My girlfriend and I managed to score 2 of the 4 bars seats at around 6:30 on Friday. I love this place. Cool, quiet, very fun and engaging staff. The two bartenders (I think the guy's name was Chris, didn't catch the girl's name) were completely awesome and didn't even roll their eyes when my gf was so shocked that they didn't have vodka, then proudly proclaimed that she was a "vodka girl". I cringed, but like a true professional Chris offered to make her something to take her mind off of vodka. I was at least expecting them to get a good laugh at her expense, but they saw it as an opportunity to drop some knowledge. There was ZERO pretention on their part, which is half the reason we had such a good time. The other half, of course, were the drinks.

You can tell they are all about people understanding what they are drinking, but more importantly that you are enjoying what you are drinking as well. I had a Doc Daneeka, a Center City Swizzle and an excellent martini. Everything was delicious. Yes it's a little on the expensive side but certainly worth every penny. Can't wait to go back.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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  • 1 month later...

My drinking-partner-in-crime Jon and I were grabbing dinner and drinks at Village Whiskey last night, and I mentioned to him that I'd heard about this place and wanted to try it soon. We were already on our third round at VW and it seemed like a great idea to head over there and continue drinking. Unfortunately I couldn't remember the name or address of the bar, so about twenty minutes were spent with Google and my phone's GPS trying to find it. And, as anyone who's been there knows, you can pretty much trip over this place and not see it!

I'm so glad we DID find it, though. We were lucky enough to be the only two people there (9 PM on a Sunday), and after striking up a conversation with the incredibly friendly and knowledgeable staff (all of whose names I got and none of which I remember) I decided on a Center City swizzle and Jon got some kind of tequila-based drink. The Swizzle rocked...it's very well-balanced, to the point where none of the individual flavors are noticeable but just blend together into refreshing goodness. I definitely noticed a little spicy kick at the finish of each sip, which I think may have been the falernum (although our bartender said he thought sherry was the dominant flavor). Regardless, amazing drink.

We really had planned to just have one drink to check the place out, but at this point we were having so much fun that we didn't really want to leave. I actually think it was one of the staff who suggested a Ramos Gin Fizz, and Jon didn't take much convincing since they seemed so excited to make it. They cranked up some fast music and we all took turns shaking the hell out of the drink. I've had a RGF before and wasn't very impressed, mostly because I thought the long shaking process made the end drink too watery for my tastes, but this one was much more like what I'd imagined - creamy, fizzy, and tart. While Jon drank the RGF I had an Aviation (in the interests of comparing it with Village Whiskey's version). I think I like Franklin's Aviation better, although by this point in the evening I can't imagine my palate was at its most discriminating.

Our bartender was nice enough to show us the draft of their new fall menu, which looks great. They have all the classic drinks, a whole section of tiki-style punches, plus some new drinks that sound intriguing.

In short it was a fun, memorable visit and we will definitely be back. I agree with Philadining...this is one of those places that you're almost reluctant to tell people about, because those six barstools are going to be hard to come by this winter....

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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New Fall menu started today. I stopped by there last night and got a little preview of a couple of the drinks from my buddy Colin. Can't remember exactly what was in each, but the Spicy Friar was really delicious and Alex's drink with gin, lemon, absinthe and just 2 other ingredients was also quite tasty. I love that there's such unabashed creatitivy going on behind the bar there. Makes me feel like I have to keep up... :wink:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 weeks later...

The new menu is awesome. I blush to admit I've been there three times in the past week, and every time I find a new drink to love. Sunday night it was the Kensington, which is a riff on a perfect manhattan with just a smidge of orange marmalade for sweetness. I don't usually like sweet drinks but in this one the orange flavor comes through bright, not cloying, and it's delicious.

We're definitely going to swing by there as part of our Halloween bar crawl....

Sarah Fernandez aka "mssurgeon81"

Philadelphia, PA

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