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Cocktails: Chick’s vs. The Franklin

April 20, 2010

Everybody knows The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. has the best elixirs and the best bartenders in the best digs in town.  Or do they?  When Chick’s Café & Wine Bar was suggested as a destination for crafty cocktails, I was skeptical.  Although I had never set foot in the place, Chick’s website elicited scenes of tea parties and cucumber sandwiches in my mind.  Imagine my surprise when I entered the corner bar and saw the complete opposite: dark décor and furnishings, a tin roof, candles flickering, cocktail garnishes aplenty and a bigger collection of bitters than I even knew existed. 

The lady behind the bar was a little intimidating.  I ordered a drink with a long and complicated name, which I merely pointed to on the menu.  The cocktail was sort of a spin-off from a traditional Old Fashioned, with honey instead of sugar.  The taste was very good, and my date ordered the drink for his second round.  My second round was a gin concoction, served up, with a smacked sage leaf.  Literally, the sage was smacked by the no-nonsense hands of our mixologist.  The woman knows how to make a mean drink. 

My cocktail companion and I visited The Franklin on a whim a few days later.  I started with my usual, an Old Fashioned.  You have not had an Old Fashioned until you have had one at The Franklin.  There is magic in the air (or is it the ice?) at that place.  My second drink was one of the new additions to the spring menu, the Pandemic.  Made with several ingredients including (but not limited to) reposado tequila and ginger and agave syrups, this cocktail was something else.  Worth every penny of the slightly higher price tag (all cocktails on the menu are $12, with the exception of a small handful).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, The Franklin reigns supreme in my book, but Chick’s is certainly one of the closest seconds I can think of, in the good company of APO and Noble. 

Return visit?

A resounding YES for both establishments. 

Chick’s Café & Wine Bar
614 South 7th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
112 South 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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