Franky Bradley’s brings back burlesque with a party and 9-week competition

Lexy Pierce

With the summer heating up and the city becoming more alive, one effervescent activity is back after a long period of hiatus—and it may just be more fabulous than ever. 

Philadelphians head to Mark Bee’s Franky Bradleys for multiple reasons. The restaurant dates back to 1933 when Frankie Bradley, a South Philadelphia native and former boxer, opened his first restaurant and helmed the establishment for over 50 years, garnering celebrity clientele such as Elizabeth Taylor, Dick Clark and Lucille Ball. It’s nostalgic, it’s fun, it’s upbeat and normally, there’s burlesque. 

COVID-19 knocked down many traditions, but not for good. As of this week, the rebirth of Franky Bradley’s cabaret space begins with Hope Strips Eternal, an elaborate burlesque show that includes a raffle, prizes, and drink specials. This particular celebration will be hosted by Sophie Sucre and Flirt Vonnegut. The burlesque extravaganza will also feature an opening set from Glitter and Garbage and additional performances by Philadelphia-based Drag Queens and Kings such as Hannibal Licker, Foxworth Vorn, and Jaeda Mei. 

The official description of the event on the July 1 reads that attendees are in-store for an evening of fun and funky entertainment, raffles, prizes and specials on craft cocktails, local brews and wine. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. with tickets priced at $15. 

Lexy Pierce

Since its inception, Franky Bradley’s has been a hotspot for celebrities. But the space was then converted into a nightclub and event space, favored by locals, tourists and the surrounding LGBTQA+ community. Being right in the heart of the Gayborhood, that ideology still rings true. 

“Our doors are finally open, and we’re celebrating the way we know how… with burlesque and drag shows!” said Dave Morreale, venue director of Franky Bradley’s, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome guests back into our venue for fun-filled late nights with extravagant entertainment for a summer to remember.”

But the fun continues even after the curtains have closed on the 1st. According to a release, following the return of cabaret comes the launch of Franky Bradley’s Snatcherella 3000 beginning Wednesday, July 21 at 8 p.m. The nine-week performance competition features a slew of famed performers from the Philadelphia area and beyond, competing every Wednesday for the Snatcherella title with a cash prize of $500, the sought-after crown, a laundry list of bookings and some arranged flowers. The esteemed panel of judges (also acting as event hosts) are comprised of Philly’s hottest names in the LGBTQA+ entertainment community such as Eric Jaffe, Icon Ebony Fierce, Pi, Vinchelle and The Moon Baby. Each week, Snatcherella will feature a guest judge, plus special pop-ups, surprises, twists and turns along the way.

Franky Bradley’s (led by General Manager Joe “Joppy” Ferrone) offers an extensive beverage menu, craft cocktails, beer and wine, in addition to an ever-evolving line-up of live events such as burlesque and drag shows. As the release states, currently, hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. Hours will expand as months go on as well. 

For more information on Franky Bradleys (1320 Chancellor St.), visit frankybradleys.com

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