Porn shoots, international headliners, and celebrity appearances: Frankie’s Pizza has pretty much seen it all.
It’s been a big year for Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice. They’ve picked up a slew of awards, including Best Entertainment Venue, they’ve won fans from all walks of life around Sydney (and beyond), and they’ve had their 4am license ripped away by the lockout laws… but they’re still killing it.
I chatted to Jordan McDonald, Frankie’s resident Beer Monster & Live Music Bookings dude (put that on your resume and smoke it) about what’s been going down at Frankie’s over the last year.
Spoiler: it’s a lot.
Here’s what you didn’t know about your favourite bar.
1. It’s been the location for an X-rated porn shoot.
Ever heard of Teagan Presley? Go on, Google her – but you probably don’t want to be at work. Last year Penthouse organised a photoshoot for her on Frankie’s very own bar top. If you’ll look closely at the walls you see a few of her more PG shoots up there; the X-rated ones are tucked away from public view.
It’s the only shoot Frankie’s has ever done. They get loads of requests, but Jordan always joked, “If it ain’t porn, forget it”. Porn at Frankie’s? No longer a joke.
2. You’ll find pretty much every band passing through Sydney there.
And we mean every band. Queens of the Stone Age, Mastodon, Avenged Sevenfold, Kiss, Greenday… they’re not even booked. They just rock up, and hey! There’s a back line (everything they need for a live performance except the guitars) waiting for them. Or a DJ set. Or just a drink and a chat with the fans.
You might even get a celeb appearance playing with Frankie’s World Famous House Band. Some of the names that have jumped up on stage include John Tempesta (drummer for White Zombie and The Cult), Marco Menboza (bass player for White Snake and Thin Lizzy), and Chris Kale (bass player for Five Finger Death Punch).
Who knows who’ll get up next week?
3. Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family might be serving your dinner.
“He’s in Australia a fair bit,” says Jordan. “When he comes in, he always chucks on an apron and serves pizza.” Okay, then.
4. You almost weren’t allowed downstairs in the fun room.
If you head down the stairs, past the mid-Western restaurant, through the main bar area, and down another set of stairs, you’ll come to the fun room, a tiny space with a few booths and a bar. Its original purpose was as a green room, so every band playing a gig would have a space to relax with a few bevvies.
Then the Frankie’s guys realised that denying the public use of the fun room was criminal, and opened the bad boy up. It’s still got that on-the-road feel; you’ll only get tinnies and neat spirits from the bar. Want a whiskey and juice? Head upstairs, ya’ pansy.
5. It’s not just rockers and hospo kids heading there.
Although they are Frankie’s most loyal clientele.
“Every night is a real societal cross section,” says Jordan. “The suit crowd [in the early evening] make way for the late night vampires. Then, there every step of the way are the hipsters, the dorks, the norms, the strippers, the rock star dudes in town…”
Whoever you are, you already fit in.
6. The walls are buried under an inch of posters.
When they were setting up Frankie’s, the boys wanted to give it an air of being used. A place with a history, if you will. Instead of just one layer of rock posters covering the walls, they have about ten.
It’s that level of dedication that makes you know the place is awesome.
7. They have a ‘shitload’ of drawings of Tom Selleck’s dick.
In order to find the right graphic designer for Frankie’s, they asked hopeful applicants to send in a drawing of Tom Selleck’s wang. It turns out there’s a lot of people in Sydney who put plenty of thought into what it would look like.
“They were so different,” says Jordan. “It gave you a real good look at how this particular person or designer kind of approaches tasks. I had big, smaller, ultra realistic, surreal, but more than just a few of them came with the trademark moustache.”
“I imagine it’s gotta be big,” I say. “No one would draw him a small dick.”
Jordan agrees. No one gave Tom Selleck a small dick.
8. They really care about their staff… and their staffies.
When the lockout laws came in, it screwed things around for Frankie’s. They had a 4am license, which meant a big hospo crowd came through the doors post midnight. Now, they shut their doors at 1:30am (and kick everyone out at 3am), but it means the staff can’t have a drink after their shift.
“Staffies is so important to our culture,” says Jordan. “We all work so fucking hard. We all do 16 hour shifts. It’s 16 hours of hard core, facing off with dudes and interacting, and at the end of it… you’re just in the zone.”
So they’re looking at renting out an apartment nearby for the whole Swillhouse gang to migrate to for a pre-dawn brewski. That’s dedication (and epic bosses) for you.
9. There’s a hard core pinball fanbase that swings by Frankie’s… on their way to New Zealand.
Well, that happened once. But you get the point. While the pinnies in the corner might be a temporary distraction for the average punter, there are leagues of top tier pinnie players that take the game seriously.
“They usually play in dealerships or sterile contest environments,” says Jordan. “When they’ve come in there, they feel as though they’ve reached Nirvana. They’ve actually got some girls to look at and some beers to drink.”
A Frankie’s manager still claims the top score on one of the machines, though. Respect.
10. Literally anything and everything can happen.
I can’t even print the stories here, so you’ll just have to go along and find out.
“Every single night I come home with a fresh story,” says Jordan. “I’ve got a fucking swag full of them now.”
Frankie’s has live music every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights.
Address: 50 Hunter St, Sydney
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 4pm-3am
Facebook: Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice