Preceded only by legends long since gone [Aku Aku at the Stardust, Don the Beachcomber, and a brief stint with Trader Vic’s], Frankie’s is the quintessential tiki hangout for Las Vegas locals. The bar itself has been around since the 1950’s where it existed simply as Frank’s. In 2008, owner P. Moss of Double Down fame contracted Bamboo Ben to remodel the smokey, red vinyl laden interior into a tropical oasis in the desert. Over 12 days Ben crafted the space into what many would call a refuge in the desert. It’s still smoky to this day, and because of that there are no food options, but don’t let that deter you from a trip through the exotic at Frankie’s.
The bartenders are longstanding, the drinks are as strong as you want them [see the 1-5 skull ratings and heed them accordingly], the atmosphere is straight out of something Eli Hedley would dream up, and if you collect mugs, this is your place. At any given time there are up to ten mugs available to purchase separately [$20] or with a signature drink [$25]. For those of you that want the experience but might not want to take home a Bearded Clam or Lava Letch–why I don’t know–the drinks are $10 on their own.
The menu is fairly robust, containing long-standing tiki favorites, as well as some of the staff’s own creations. There is even a recipe book to purchase if you want to attempt some of these on your own, but I will tell you, no one makes a Fink Bomb like Mike. If classic drinks are more your style, the Mai Tai and Zombie are sure to delight, but for the more adventurous, try a Three Rum Scum or the aptly named Tiki Bandit–you won’t be disappointed.
The decor is true to Ben’s style [no white walls or ceilings] and filled with carvings from all of your favorite artists. There is even a vintage vice testing machine re-designed by Shag to fit the theme. The bathrooms, always a topic of conversation, are marked by a male and a female mask–look for the lipstick, ladies–with interiors covered in vintage exotica. The bar itself is a standard long bar with spaces for players, but also some without [ask about their players club card]. There is a large corner booth, perfect for your low-brow gatherings, and a large oval table for the slightly smaller groups. Various other tables dot the remainder of the space, with ambient lighting from puffer fish and glass floats illuminating artwork from BigToe, Doug Horne, and other masterful tiki denizens. The music is appropriate, and although there are TV’s in the bar, what’s played also fits the theme–think 1950’s pin-ups and tigers. Frank’s was an institution and Frankie’s is following in those footsteps, except it’s wearing creepers instead of wingtips.
Pay homage to the High Roller [Crazy Al Evans] when entering and leaving, and as always, Mahalo for reading, denizens!