“Dirty Franks….on the next episode of Hoarders South Philly” – Jayne Doe
It was a day when everything seemed to constantly go wrong, one of those “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” kind of days. Gum in the hair, stubbing your foot, missing all the trains. I needed to escape everything and everyone. I needed to find the “Anti-Cheers”, a bar where nobody knew my name.
Finding this kind of bar isn’t easy. I get around Philly; sometimes too many people know my name. Then it happened, like Alice, I stumbled upon my rabbit hole. While wandering the city on a dark and stormy night, still frustrated from a miserable day, I stumbled across a strange sight. A lonely unsuspecting corner was harboring a secret dive. There were no crafty signs, or flashing lights to indicate such a bar even existed. A duly colored mural of Aretha Franklin, Frank Zappa and a hot dog donned the outside. Did you figure it out yet? They’re all FRANKS. (Dirty Frank you clever bastard.)
A slight rumble of depressed voices came from a dimly lit bar. It Beckoned like a forbidden forest; I had to try my luck. Curious, yet nervous I skeptically walked inside. I was immediately hit with obscure items that littered the ceiling and walls. Mummers umbrellas, paper snowflakes, even an old tricycle hung eerily over a long, dark bar. Random art of all shapes and sizes seemed to clutter the back wall. An old school Pinball machine, a lonely dart board and Ms. Pac Man served as a source of light in a crowded dark corner. It was a scene straight out of a cheesy, yet stereotypical horror flick, a lonely abyss you might never escape. The juke box eerily played Lionel Richie’s “Hello” in a strangely welcoming way. I suddenly realized I was in an episode of Hoarders: Dive Bar Edition.
The crowd was scattered, mostly older folks who appeared to be regulars with the way they carried on conversations with the lone bartender. I could quietly pull up a chair and partake in the art of people watching. A few stragglers came and went, most with the same curious look I had when I entered. Some stayed and pulled up a seat in the comfortably worn booths that lined the outer walls. Others left faster than they arrived, appearing more confused then a Richard Simmons workout VHS. A few older gentlemen discussed the Phillies game that was playing on the midsized dinosaur of a television.
Slightly disturbed, yet intrigued, I figured a PBR could calm my nerves and help me sort this place out. While waiting for the barmaid, all I could think about was the fact that wetnaps might actually be handy in a place like Dirty Franks. I wondered if the customers came willingly or got stuck to the place like flypaper. Waiting patiently, I kept one hand by my side, the other slightly leaning on the bar’s edge grasping a $20. Tick tock, lots of time elapsed before the barmaid finally noticed I wasn’t standing at the bar out of admiration for the yard sale treasures perched above. “One PBR please,” by the look on her face you’d have thought I asked for a handmade mojito with fresh lime. I sipped on my rather expensive PBR pounder, $3.50 to be exact. I could see the price hike being used as a clever hipster aversion tactic.
I was content. I had indeed found exactly what I was looking for. No one cared if you had pink hair or no hair; it was Dirty Frank’s Diversion. I slunk slowly into a booth and heaved a sigh of relief. It may have been a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day but Dirty Frank’s was the perfect ending.
The Bottom Line:
|Hours: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Music: DJs | Live
|Price range: $
Accepts Credit Cards: No
|Dance floor: No
Outdoor area: No
Coat check: No
Dirty Frank’s is the perfect spot if you want a sense of escape from reality, an unpretentious and eclectic dive, where you can sip a generally cheap beverage and relax while admiring the unique atmosphere. Take note, this place is CASH ONLY! Don’t whip out your card like a big shot, especially, because the only gripe people seem to have with this place is the bartenders attitudes and generally subpar service. Oh and might I add an interesting fact. This is a dog friendly bar if you have a furry friend or don’t care for them so much.
347 South 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107