>> 8/2/11

112 South 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 467-3277

If you were ever in Philadelphia and ever wondered to yourself, as I have on more than one occasion, "Where can a guy get a decent drink around here?" (other than the bar at the Ritz Carlton lobby... and even then), then you need ask no more. Philadelphia does in fact have its own true cocktail lounge.

If I were to compare The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company ("The Franklin") to a New York bar, it would most fit the profile of Little Branch. It's dark, it's under the street and the staff wears Prohibition-era-esque clothing. The drinks are stunning and the bartenders know their shit more than you might think possible (Date Tip: guys, do not sit at the bar if you want your girl to look at you, because the bartenders here ain't the uggos you might see slinging hooch at McGeneric O'Plain's Irish Pub). One major difference between The Franklin and almost any NYC speakeasy is the speakeasy part. They skip the hidden aspect. No teensy weensy little plaque nobody can see; they fly a huge flag over the sidewalk. But once you're inside, it's back to speakeasy-as-usual.

I spent the last several days with Bro in Philadelphia and one lovely, scaldingly hot evening, we decided we needed to go-a-drinkin'. The Franklin was our first stop. If the lounges here were any indication, there'd be a line that we needed to beat. In fact, we did not beat the line. But the wait wasn't too bad. About ten minutes, but we did have to sit at the bar.

Our stay at The Franklin netted us six drinks (three each), leaving us with a good, pre-very-late-dinner buzz. I started with the Coal Cracker Cocktail, rye whiskey, galliano, sasparilla, blackberry syrup and bitters. For those of you out there who aren't very big whiskey people, this is a good drink to start with. While it's far from a sweet drink, it's more mellow than something as hard-nosed and old fashioned as, say, an Old Fashioned, which is what I ordered for round two. Rye, bitters, and sugar. Thankfully, they didn't dumb it down with a maraschino cherry.

Bro started with the Regime Change Punch, Bourbon, Applejack, Galliano, Allspice dram, lemon juice, honey, demerara, honey, tea and bitters. It's a mouthful and there's no way I could make it at home. But it was very good. His second drink was a Classic Mai Tai. Have you ever been on a cruise or at some resort where you can swim up to the bar and ordered a mai tai. You get a drink with rum, Malibu, pineapple juice, OJ and a jungle of garnishes to fight your way through? Yeah well, this ain't that. Rum, sugar, triple sec, lime juice and Orgeat, an almost syrup. It's creamy and light and doesn't taste like it came from a can.

We ended our experience here with an Airmail (rum, lime juice and honey, topped with champagne) and a Corpse Reviver #2 (gin, Cointreau, Lillet and absinth). Again, fantastic drinks, and they closed out the night here properly.

These six drinks plus tip came to about $92.

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