Tucked inside Franklin Lanes, the 11th Frame Lounge feels comfortably worn-in but far from worn-out. The bar’s cozy atmosphere and good fare has enticed West Side Nut Clubbers, Hadi Shriners, and businesspeople to the restaurant since 1942. “We just want to evoke a sense of friendship,” says manager Colleen Foster.
It’s friendship built on reliability. “We’re not opposed to trying new things, but a lot of our customers rely on tradition,” says Foster. That tradition includes a fading icon: a 1940s era jukebox with a play list that ranges from Meatloaf to Frank Sinatra. A newer piece of technology adorns the wall across the lounge: a flat-panel, high-definition, big-screen television.
Franklin Lanes was renovated some years back to add a “touch of class and a little bit of softness” to the restaurant, which was then known for its masculine atmosphere, says Foster. Many of those changes remain: Uniquely shaped liquor bottles line the bar; warm lights splash against the beige walls.
An inviting atmosphere mixed with good food is the combination Foster says patrons will find. There’s a range of appetizers, sandwiches, and soups offered at lunch and dinner through the week. A signature menu item is the 11th Frame Burger — two 6-ounce burgers made from beef bought fresh daily from a local butcher, and seasoned with a secret combination of spices, onions, and cheese. It’s not a fast-food burger; the wait time for this satisfyingly large hamburger is 20 minutes. In 2004, Franklin Lanes owner Dave King jazzed up the menu with items from Charlie & Barney’s, an Indianapolis-based restaurant that has won “Best of Indianapolis” awards for 12 years from the Indianapolis Monthly magazine. A favorite Charlie & Barney’s dish is a bowl of steaming spaghetti noodles covered with mild chili and topped with shredded cheese.
The 11th Frame Lounge is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 1 a.m.