Can You Find Franklin's Newest Bar?

Breaking news: Downtown Franklin has welcomed a new speakeasy. During prohibition in the 1920s, these hidden bars were popping up all over the country to delight devious drinkers while alcohol was outlawed. Now, they’re experiencing a welcomed – and much more legal – resurgence, and we’re thrilled to welcome such a hidden (literally) gem to Franklin. 

Moving from its former home on Westhaven’s Front Street to a larger space just off the square, Amendment XVIII Cocktail Club maintained its menu of impressive cocktails and moody interiors, but with a mysterious twist. 

“We wanted to add a high-end craft cocktail bar that we believed to be missing from downtown Franklin,” shares Dean Marsh, owner of Amendment XVIII Cocktail Club. “We deliver a unique craft cocktail experience which compliments the high-end restaurants in the area. Many of our guests choose to come in for appetizers and drinks before dinner, or a nightcap afterward.” 

While a suppertime stroll down Main Street may entice people with illuminated signs and iconic marquees above restaurants and bars, getting to Amendment XVIII takes a level of insider info: You must walk to the alley behind Mellow Mushroom, go through the service door, then locate a gray metal box on the left side of the wall. Inside, you’ll find a “Frankenstein” switch that, when pulled, triggers a green light and alerts staff that you’re waiting. A host will greet you, and then lead you through an unassuming door that reveals swanky interiors. 

“We provide guests with an enriching experience that goes beyond just drinking,” Marsh says. “We aim to stimulate the senses, educate the palate, and create an atmosphere conducive to enjoying the artistry and craftsmanship of expertly made cocktails. The hope is that guests leave with a sense of curiosity, perhaps wanting to explore more about the history of speakeasies or the stories behind the cocktails they enjoyed.”

No matter your drink of choice, the experts behind the bar at Amendment XVIII can make something for every palette. There are pages of carefully-crafted signature cocktails ranging from a reimagined Old Fashioned, The Volstead, made with aged Haitian rum, rye whiskey, sherry, and coconut bitters for a Caribbean twist, or the vibrant From Mayan Sunsets made with tequila, gin, jalapeno, cucumber, agave, and Tajin seasoning salt. 

The bar also boasts a collection of beer and wine, as well as spirits to craft just about any off-menu cocktail desired. 

“The skilled mixologists behind the counter craft concoctions that transcend the ordinary, blending classic recipes with modern twists,” Marsh shares. “Many of our syrups & bitters are meticulously crafted, in-house, for each of our artisanal cocktails. Guests might take away a greater appreciation for the culinary aspects of mixology, seeing cocktails as more than just beverages but as culinary expressions.”

If you’re looking for a pre-dinner bite, Amendment XVIII offers a small plates menu including BBQ meatballs, breaded chicken bites, sliders, bacon-topped mac and cheese, and a charcuterie board, plus desserts from Merridee’s Breadbasket down the street (or, alley). 

Marsh shares that during prohibition, speakeasies sold “lockers” people could rent to store bottles, since consuming one’s own alcohol in a private establishment wasn’t outlawed. In keeping with tradition, Amendment XVIII launched an exclusive Locker Club. 

If you plan to frequent the new haunt (which, same), you can hop on the waitlist for the club, which offers access to a private liquor storage locker as well as reservation scheduling capabilities and access to rare spirits. 

It appears it’s, once again, the roaring 20s in Franklin, so don your best flapper dress and zoot suits and we *won’t* see you at Amendment XVIII.

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