When you think about the birth of America, it’s not hard to imagine important meetings taking place in a tavern. With this in mind, a new tavern in Jersey City is mixing forward-thinking menus with historic decor. Franklin Social pays homage to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, offering modern twists on colonial-inspired food and drinks.
Though formerly a sports bar, the space where Franklin Social is built now boasts Colonial furnishings throughout the eatery. “We included elements from Franklin’s days as a printer,” says Dean Maroulakos. In fact, part of a printing press roll lists the specials. Likewise, vintage newspapers from revolutionary days decorate the entryway’s brick walls.
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However, while Franklin Social boasts Colonial decor, Dean describes the vibe as “relaxed with a lively energy”. Large windows fill the space with light. Meanwhile, come night time, dim lighting casts a warm and cozy glow. To further evoke that Colonial era feeling, oil lamps dot the space.
“We want guests to feel the same comforts of home while dining with us,” Dean explains. “The concept for Franklin Social was inspired by Ben Franklin and his ideals of self and community improvement; something he practiced through the course of his life.”
The bar is broken into several spaces. The 1,000-square foot main bar room seats about 50 and the 450-square foot Carriage House seats about 35. When the weather is warm, an additional courtyard and garden area can host up to 20 guests.
The Carriage House, a space which used to be a tailor shop during the 1930s, is ideal for private parties. “It’s a slightly softer, ethereal space with floral wallpaper, aged wainscoting, and a coiffured ceiling,” says Dean. The window display along the front pays homage to its tailor shop roots and changes seasonally.
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The menu at Franklin Social is meant to be familiar, with some surprising twists. For example, their Wild Game Skewer is quail and venison sausage with cipollini onions and carrots. Sourcing local ingredients, the team creates a rustic American menu that draws inspiration from early Colonial days.
If you come for brunch instead, the Shortrib Benedict is a savory crowd pleaser, says Digital Marketing Director Dominique Marinzulich. They serve the shortrib with spinach and hollandaise sauce on an English muffin. She also raves about the Belgian waffle with French chocolate and hazelnut. In fact, she suggests ordering one for the table to share. Click here to see the full menu.
Of course, the rustic oak bar is the star attraction at Franklin Social. The cocktail list derives from Franklin’s 13 Virtues and also draws from Colonial drinking records. In other words, drinks utilize popular spirits of the time, such as rum, maderia, and cider. Two favorites on the menu are “Silence” and “Frugality” (two of the 13 Virtues). In addition, their draught and wine lists include ciders and wines primarily from the US and Franklin’s beloved France. You can even try an amber ale with molasses and spruce, based off Ben Franklin’s own recipe.
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All Photos: © Peter Bonacci / Franklin Social