Guide Live: Frankie’s Bar is Back

June 18, 2012
Eater Dallas: Frankie’s Reopens
August 20, 2015
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Frankie’s is the newest old bar in Dallas.

It’s old because Frankie’s Bar and Grill was an Uptown staple for 13 years, providing a sports-watching crowd on McKinney Avenue a rowdy place to yell at TVs and drink frozen Red Bull vodkas. Owners Bill and Johnnie Katz closed the Dallas bar in June 2013, promising to reopen somewhere, someday.

That’s the new part: As of Wednesday, Aug. 19, Frankie’s has reopened in a new, but very old, neighborhood, downtown Dallas. The two-story bar occupies part of the nearly 90-year-old Davis Building on Main Street.

Many of the best things about Frankie’s didn’t change, like its giant menu of wings and burgers or its bartenders who are happy to crack open a Coors yellow belly if that’s what you drink. The ground-level bar, called Frankie’s Downtown, has 27 TVs, much like its Uptown original.

And yet, it’s a sexy spot. It’s classier than the old bar was, with cozy nooks made for sipping one (or two or three) drinks from Dallas barman Eddie “Lucky” Campbell’s cocktail list. Downstairs, in what’s called the Underground, is an expansive basement bar that’s mysterious and inviting. The brick walls covered in industrial cages make it feel like a speakeasy, but here, there’s no annoying password.

It’s like the old Frankie’s bought a new black dress and moved to the city.

Owner Bill Katz describes it this way: “We want to be downtown’s living room.”

He hopes football season will bring crowds out to Frankie’s like it did back in Uptown. In its prime, Frankie’s would be standing-room-only from open to close on busy game days, most notably on Texas/OU weekend. (Frankie’s gives a nod to its unruly days with a sign above the ATM: “Please, no texting your ex after 2 a.m.” That’s more like it.)

Campbell’s cocktail menu is described as “fast craft,” which means moderately complicated cocktails that don’t take five minutes or more to prepare. The stout menu includes four varieties of a Moscow mule, five margaritas — including one with Red Bull — plus beer cocktails and other Campbell specialties. To handle crowds, four cocktails are pre-mixed and come poured right out of a tap.

And why not? This isn’t some stuffy mixology den.

Frankie’s is taking a gamble that downtown’s bar district will take off. “I want this to be the new spot, on Main Street between Field and Akard,” Katz says.

“This is the biggest, bestest, baddest Frankie’s ever. Let’s blow downtown up.”