It hard to picture a liquor-free Australia, but just a century ago this was the bleak reality thanks to the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, John Franklin, more affectionately nicknamed ‘Bad Frankie’.
Franklin is held accountable for outlawing small pot stills used to brew spirits in the 19th century, in an era when food shortages required industrial effort to focus on food production rather than alcohol. As such, Governor Franklin has become the inspiration for this cheeky Fitzroy bar that celebrates how far the Australian spirit industry has come. What better way is there to celebrate Australian history with Australian booze?
Fitzroy’s Bad Frankie is the brainchild of Sebastian Costello, who pooled his abundant hospitality experience across Melbourne to create a platform for the industry to flourish and be inspired. Sebastian’s vision for Bad Frankie was simply a place that provided the all-Australian experience, showcasing boutique rum, gin, tequila, bourbon and vodka alongside local beer, wine and cider.
Bad Frankie’s cocktail list takes the fresh flavours of their artisan spirits and blends them with the best of local produce, like the cornflake old fashioned using Ironbark aged corn rye moonshine and Stonepine Honey liqueur, or the Golden Flip with 666 Butter Vodka with Tambourine Mountain Distillery wattle toffee liqueur and toasted black wattle seeds.
Bad Frankie combines the old with the new, allowing visitors a taste of nostalgia with their jaffle-centric menu. The iconic Australian childhood favourite features in a range of sweet and savoury forms, like the Anzac Bikkie jaffle – brioche bread toasted with rolled oats and soaked in golden syrup. For something a little more substantial, you couldn’t ask for something more quintessentially Australian than a Bangers and Mash jaffle, made up of wholemeal bread stuffed to the brim with pork sausage and onion jam then topped with mash and gravy.
One step inside Bad Frankie’s will send you back to 1830, with the décor taking cues from Governor Franklin’s day. Between the photos of Australian distillers scattered across the walls, the curtain of nautical ropes and the rustic marine-style interiors, you’ll feel as though you’re stepping through time before you even take your first sip. Like the produce, all of the materials are locally sourced, so you can feel at home knowing that every bar and every bite is as authentically Australian as can be.
Bad Frankie is providing the true-blue experience, and the way we see it, it’d be hard to name a more iconic duo than a hearty Aussie jaffle and a rum on the rocks.