Sydney's Best Small Bars


Sydney CBD
Frankie's Pizza
50 Hunter Street, Sydney

Frankie's Pizza, Sydney CBD

While many small bars are opening in disused shops and warehouse spaces, Frankie’s Pizza has simply taken over an existing mediocre Friday swill hole and turned it into something desperately needed in this part of Sydney. One thing you rarely see in the city these days is a neon sign, but Frankie’s animated sign beckons at night with its garish yellow light. Since it is bought to you by the people behind Shady Pines and Baxter Inn, expect a slight challenge with finding the door. Out the front is a makeshift velvet roped pen for smokers, but as you head in, for a moment you’ll think you’ve missed something: the doors are disguised by large sticker photos that change on a semi-regular basis. The owners seem to have a penchant for basement bars, so once you open the doors, descend the stairs into the pizza area.

In this space there is no reserved seating (Frankies does not take reservations nor is there a waitlist). Grab whatever seats you can, including the bar, booths and side tables. Be prepared for people leaning over the top of you to order if your seats are at the front or right of the bar. Here you can order pizza - the only foodstuff in the venue - and many basic drinks, including beer on tap (starting at $6). But this is not the main event. Head to the right of the bar through the double doors and the main bar opens out into the darkness. In one corner five pinball machines glowing invitingly. A long bar sells beer, spirits and wines. Not just one or two beers but pages and pages of bottled and tap beer or ales. In fact, it is easy to miss the pizza menu, which takes up a small section on the inside front cover, and the beer listings fill up the bulk of the items on offer. For food, it is pizza and that’s it. End of discussion. No salad, no garlic bread. You can get a decent slice for $5 or a whole one for $16. They are thin New York style with around ten topping options. The base is crisp but overall the flavour seems to be lacking a bit of oomph. It’s so close to the kind of pizza you’d rave about to friends, but it misses the mark. While still better than most offerings around Sydney, it’s a disappointment they get it almost right but don’t quite cut it (try Love Supreme in Paddington for a more flavoursome example).

The main bar of Frankie’s Pizza is dark and features 70s and 80s rock and roll memorabilia as tunes of the same vintage are played at an audible but unobtrusive level. Despite its heritage as a white collar booze basement, plus the dominating beer and pizza themes, the crowd at Frankie’s is a little cooler than the city suits that you’d expect to find here. It’s light-hearted and bustling, plus the 4am close means you can leave when you feel like it, not when the place has to shut at midnight.

In brief: Frankie's Pizza
Best things: 4am close most nights, bustling venue even early in the week
Don't miss: The beer selection or a choice of five pinball machines (some are older than the people at the bar)
Ideal for: Small groups, dates, catch-ups with friends, after work drinks
Date tip: Even on a week night, Frankie’s can be standing room only by 8pm. There are plenty of dark corners in the main bar area, and a few in the pizza area
Gripe: Long lines on Friday and Saturday nights and pizza’s are a let down. Since the venue has a 4am licence, the liquor laws state that drinks must be served in plastic. The plasticware is generally good quality, but not quite the same as a glass.
Rating: 9/10

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Last updated: August 2017
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