He took in hamburgers and bourbon in Nashville, tacos and tequila in Mexico, and Pernod and Croque Monsieurs in France. Then Sebastian Costello came back home to Melbourne - just as the craft spirits industry in Australia began to blossom.
You’ll find Bad Frankie on Smith Street in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, where you can sip on local drops of the new world alongside tasty jaffles – the ultimate flash-back snack of Aussies everywhere.
Bad Frankie is Sebastian Costello's cocktail bar (and jaffle shop), which he started after falling in love with the quality of locally distilled spirits. He named his bar after early Van Diemen’s Land Governor John Franklin, who was responsible for outlawing small pot stills.
150 years later the ‘grandfather of Australian spirits’, Bill Lark, managed to have this law overturned. He recognised the perfect climate and amazing natural capabilities of Australia and wondered, 'why on earth do we not make craft whiskey here'? Good work Bill.
From small beginnings, the range of bar offerings at Bad Frankie has grown almost in harmony with that of the Australian craft spirit industry.
"There is new stuff coming out all the time and we've been lucky enough to be able to visit some of the distilleries, and really grow an understanding of the production and stories behind the booze," says Amelia, one of Bad Frankie's talented bartenders.
"These new Australian products come out at such a high standard, it's all too easy to get excited and passionate about working with them." Like us, Amelia is, of course, pretty down with the gin category.
"I think of gin as a finely brewed tea, taking a basic spirit and finding the right combination of botanics, having them play off and compliment each other resulting in a beautiful unique blend."
"In winter I love my gin neat. Four pillars in particular is such a gorgeous spirit to have by it's lonesome."
Bad Frankie is a great example of Melbourne's small bar scene; laid back, understated with an undeniable love for the little quirky details.
Amelia believes that the time for pretentious bartending is long gone, replaced with people who are hungry for knowledge about the products they're working with, and an unbound eagerness to share that knowledge with customers.
Make a point to visit when you’re in the area for one of their famous jaffles paired with a Bad Frankie styled Negroni.
"As we use only Australian spirits, our Negroni is made up of gin, Maidenii sweet vermouth and Quandong and Gentian Bitters liqueur as an alternative to Campari. Delicious."