Frank’s Social Club is serving sourdough toasties, small plates and spicy margaritas in Paddington
A cosy spot nestled at the end of an iconic heritage-listed theatre building in Paddington has recently been reborn as a neighbourhood bar. Frank’s Social Club officially opened last week on Latrobe Terrace, enticing those passing by with a tip-top range of toasties during the day and share boards and cocktails at night. We stopped by for a sticky-beak – here’s what we saw …
For Jack Nicholson, the inspiration underpinning his new Paddington haunt Frank’s Social Club can be traced back to time spent in Edinburgh. Though it boasts a quarter of the population of Brisbane, the city’s small bar scene was vibrant and dense – every pocket of town had a dependable neighbourhood bar or two. “Local pubs and bars were a big part of the community,” Jack recalls. “When I came back here, the trend had seemed to move towards these enormous venues. I didn’t think there was really that personal connection, really.” Last week, Jack (a hospitality lifer) and his partner Sophie (a teacher) took the first step in addressing that imbalance by opening Frank’s in a brick-encased tenancy at the end of the heritage-listed Plaza Theatre building on Latrobe Terrace. Here, they’re drilling down into what it really means to be a neighbourhood local – the kind of congenial cheer, all-are-welcome accessibility and an offering to match. “That’s what we wanted,” says Jack. “Something small where we know our regulars names and know what they’re going to have.” Frank’s home – previously the old Wildflowers & Reading Hours space – boasts a two-room layout. The light-filled front room is where you’ll find Frank’s curved marble-topped bar and cosy kitchen, as well as a number of lengthy high-top tables. This is where most punters have been congregating throughout the day and afternoon, with perches closest to the windows filling up first. Out back sits a more intimate space, where low-set black furniture and sage-green walls create a moodier ambience.
As Frank’s straddle day and night trade, careful thought was put towards an offering that would appeal to both the coffee crowd and the cocktail-seeking set. “Because of our limited space, we just thought to keep it simple,” says Jack. “I’m a big believer that people just want good quality.” During the daytime hours, Frank’s kitchen pumps out coffee from Bear Bones alongside a five-strong selection of toasties – you’ve got a cheesy provolone, manchego and cheddar-packed option, a classic ham-and-cheese, a Reuben-like riff, a deli-style choice and the vegan-friendly Bombay Club, which boasts rosemary roast potatoes, shredded beetroot, pickled onion and green chutney. At night, it’s all about share-style snacking. “We wanted small plates to really encourage people to come in with their friends and sit down and make it a bit of a social thing,” says Jack. With that in mind, after-dark arrivals can nibble on charcuterie and cheese boards (a vegan option is also available), as well as burrata with garlic-toasted sourdough, felafel with hummus and marinated olives. These can all be enjoyed with two kinds of martini (the classic espresso-laced and an Earl Grey-infused variation), three kinds of margarita and three types of spritz, plus beers from Revel Brewing Co. and a tidy list of wines by the bottle or glass.
Frank’s Social Club is now open to the public from 9:00 am, seven days a week. Head to the Stumble Guide for more info.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.