In terms of the highly competitive Fort Worth sports bar scene, Frankie’s is a newcomer, a rookie still learning the way the league works, the way it breathes, the way it hits. In the way in which it presents itself, Frankie’s tries as hard as it possibly can to look like one of Fort Worth’s primetime players. However, it is unable to accomplish this. Ultimately, inexperience wins out and spoils the feeling of what could eventually become a truly top-notch sports bar.
Upon first entering Frankie’s, the first thing that one notices is size. Frankie’s is a large establishment, laid out in, essentially, an “L” shape, extending in both directions a considerable distance, filled with long tables and surrounding a large square bar with ample elbow room. Off of this main floor lie a few secluded lounges, one wallpapered with a panorama of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington taken during the 2010 Playoffs, and a spacious patio. It is also at this moment that one will discover the one size element on which Frankie’s banks: televisions. Frankie’s sports the largest single TV in the city, covering almost an entire wall, top to bottom. This massive viewing screen is flanked by dozens of other smaller TVs, though still not small taken on their own. This is Frankie’s primary hook: enough TVs for every sports fan to watch his team play on any given day, making for a highly exciting atmosphere. There is always a game on at Frankie’s, always a score to update and a play to make.
Beyond the size aspect, Frankie’s caters primarily to a more upscale clientele, around the 25 to 40 years old range, mostly young professionals. While this is evident, Frankie’s does not allow itself to be defined exclusively by that. The wait staff, primarily young women, wear tank tops and jean shorts, an attempt to present a casual atmosphere, even amidst the low lighting and cacophonous celebration of A.D.D. sports fandom fostered by a place like Frankie’s.
So, how is the overall experience? It is a good sports watching experience, but not a great one, at least not yet. The food is delicious (try the cheeseburger with the thick smoked bacon), and the beer is cold (and served from the tap in football-shaped glasses). Sports are everywhere you look, causing the patron to constantly whip his head around the place, twisting and turning constantly, especially on major sports days, like Saturdays and Sundays in the fall, when football is in its prime. Still, one can’t help but smile in there. Such a place would be a sports fan’s paradise.
Aside from this, though, Frankie’s feels incomplete, a work-in-progress. There are a few areas inside that lie bare and unused but look as though they were created with a specific purpose in mind. The wait staff is also a work-in-progress, with service that was, at more times than would be optimal, slow and even non-existent for long periods of time. Yes, it has only been open a short time and is experiencing its first football season in the heart of football-rabid state, still trying to get its feet under it, but this is no excuse for poor service with as many waitresses as Frankie’s has on staff, no matter how friendly they are. Sadly, it detracts from the overall experience, and that is something that is inexcusable to a place that relies on the type of experience it offers for its well-being.
All-in-all, Frankie’s banks on a premise on which all good sports bars should bank as well: sports everywhere, good food, cheap drinks, and cold beer. It has those things down, but it will not be one that I consider to be a great sports bar until it can pull everything together into one complete package. The detractors, such as poor service and unused spaces, are enough to derail what could potentially become a powerhouse of sports bars. In an establishment that trives on the environment it creates, this one just comes up short. Until it turns itself around, Frankie’s will continue to find its footing and try to make itself a sports fan’s dream.