Despite the Marco Pierre White and Frankie Dettori association, Frankie’s Sports Bar and Diner falls short of fine dining. It does, however, raise the bar for sports-dedicated drinking holes. Be prepared to book a table in advance on match days – this is Stamford Bridge, after all.
A short stroll from Fulham Broadway, Stamford Bridge and West Brompton stations, Frankie’s is easily accessible to most. Nestled within Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium, it is as easy to find as it is to get to. The entrance leads directly to the bar below a seemingly out of place disco ball. To the right is a more formal dining space, while the bar area to the left consists of high tables and chairs on a black and white checked floor – a little closer to the promised American diner image. Lighting is soft and warmed by the copper-coloured walls, while every angle is covered by one or more flat screen TVs, fulfilling the promise to show some variety of sport all day, every day.
The atmosphere varies depending on what is being broadcast. Expect to find a soundtrack rather than commentary covering more niche sports, but be prepared for a more boisterous feel on match days. The clientele is mixed and obviously subject to what’s on the box, but you will find a blend of both sexes when sport isn’t their sole reason for visiting.
The menu at Frankie’s has a clear Italian-American feel, divided into small bites, burgers, pizza and pasta. The former collection serves the bar-drinking carnivore relatively well, with a ‘three for £15’ deal. However, vegetarian options are a little uninspiring.
The calamari (£7.50) comes simply adorned with a wedge of lemon and a flavoursome aioli, and is generally well executed, offering tender squid in a crispy batter. On their own, the New Orleans crab cakes (£7.50) are a little underwhelming, though the lively mango and chilli salsa does brighten the dish.
Among the meat options, Frankie’s meatballs (£5.95) are a little dense but well seasoned, and served in an abundance of rich tomato sauce; a meagre portion of toasted flatbread doesn’t quite do the rest of the dish justice. On the other hand, the antipasti board (£7.50) consists of a generous serving of cured Italian meats accompanied by a portion of roasted yellow peppers, green olives and artichoke hearts. Though well presented, the board cries out for something pickled to cut through the rich, fatty meats.
The drinks menu at Frankie’s isn’t expansive, but offers a selection of cocktails, beers, wines and soft drinks, with a chalkboard wall separately advertising a range of American whiskey. The main beer list is standard fare, running from £4.40 to £4.75 a pint, with one or two more interesting brews hiding in the bottle menu – try, for example, the Sierra Nevada (£4.95) or Meantime (£4.50) pale ales.
The cocktail list contains just six drinks, all costing £7.75. The Bramble is pleasant enough, if a little sweet, while the Melarosa – a Frankie’s original – tastes very similar, but is toned-down on the sugar front. White and red house wines are £5 a glass or £19 a bottle, and rise to £32. Prosecco and Champagne are also available at £32 and £50 a bottle respectively.
The Last Word
Despite its name, Frankie’s is always going to be more of a sports bar than a sit-down eatery – and given its location, it is probably unfair to treat it as anything else. Taking these sports bar credentials into account, it certainly is a step up from your run-of-the-mill, football-focused pub.