Froggy’s Inn has white curtains on the front windows and a vintage wooden door with three circles cut into the wood. A neat sandwich board proclaims that the kitchen is open daily for eat-in and takeout. Taken together, they are clues that this is more than a typical neighborhood corner bar. And this is no raucous watering hole.
Located at Perry and Babcock streets with the nonstop swoosh of traffic on the 190 close by, Froggy’s is in the shadow of the huge brick building housing Austin Air on Elk Street. Previously called Tigs, Froggy’s opened in 2005 and exhibits signs of past bar history of interactive days and nights: The wood-topped bar is scarred from legions of cigarettes past. The bar is loaded with layers of souvenirs, a lone TV is showing a fuzzy rendition of an NHL game.
Froggy’s is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. “except for holidays,” said Debbie, owner Luci Rickard’s cousin, who works the bar on occasion. One of the bar’s taglines is that its “short order kitchen is always open.” The menu, an impressive array of bar favorites as well as comfort food, features a Friday-only fish fry (broiled or beer-battered) that comes with an array of sides: fries, rye bread, macaroni salad and coleslaw.
The menu includes sandwiches served on locally made Costanzo’s rolls, homemade meatloaf, burgers, hoagies and wings. The fish fry is $9 and many stream into Froggy’s for that specialty, especially during Lent. The fish fry may be ordered as Fish and Chips, sans sides, for $7.50. All sandwiches range in price from $3 (fried bologna) to $7 (rib-eye steak). On a recent visit, the 10-ounce New York State strip steak dinner special was $9.
Drinks are as reasonably priced as the food, with $2.25 Genny products and $2.75 domestic beers. Heinekens and St. Pauli Girls are $3 each. Shots at Froggy’s also are $3 and mixed drinks are either $3 or $3.50 – wine is of the boxed variety and is priced the same.
Pleasant seasonal decorations are a feature of the classic mirror behind the bar and a frog motif is repeated throughout the barroom and the back room. Debbie said customers bring in frog-related bric-a-brac and these are displayed proudly on shelves overhead. Both rooms are neat and tidy and feature several tables and chairs for dining-in, the tiled floor is impressively spotless.
The back room has a pool table ($1.25 a game) and shuffle bowling (50 cents a game) with a necessary can of wax to speed along the small metal puck. A shuffle bowling league meets at Froggy’s on Tuesday nights. Between the two rooms is a hulking jukebox with fairly mellow selections from the 1950s through the early ’90s including Tony Bennett, Elton John, Foreigner and a helpful compilation titled “Music for All Occasions.”
Froggy’s, with its early, nightly closing time, is not a wild scene but a tranquil and homey place for a drink and a bite. There was a quarreling couple sitting at the bar on a recent visit but they were keeping it quiet, and eventually their argument gave over to good-natured ribbing and laughter. Really, who could stay angry at a place called Froggy’s?