11 months ago

Beckaly Franks: Winner of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender 2023

Tahona Society congratulates Beckaly Franks, winner of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender 2023, and welcomes her to one of the most influential bartending communities in the world. Follow her on Instagram at @beckalyfranks.

At the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023 ceremony held on July 18th at Rosewood Hong Kong, Hawaiian bartender Beckaly Franks from The Pontiac bar in Hong Kong was shocked to learn that she was the winner this year’s Altos Bartenders’ Bartender award, considered one of the most important recognitions of the bartending scene worldwide.

The announcement came as a complete surprise because her path in the hospitality industry has been to simply do what is needed and survive. She has tripped, she has failed, she has fallen. But she always got up again and sought triumph.

She doesn’t pretend to be wise or perfect, but one thing Beckaly can say unequivocally is that she is authentic. She is right out there, giving her all, and she doesn’t put up a facade. It would never occur to her that anyone’s been watching, but it makes her very happy to see that the work she does has been noticed!  

Empowering Women in the Hospitality Industry 

Since first entering hospitality, Franks knew she wanted to build a platform to help empower women in the industry, as evidenced at The Pontiac, whose entire staff roster is female. 

Her interest in crafted cocktails and the art of bartending began at a bar called Teardrop Lounge in Portland, Oregon in 2008. The training program there was incredibly good and demanding; the cocktails were amazing and the thought process was intricate. She feels very fortunate to have found an avenue where she can be an authentic version of herself and create art in her own way.

After training and competing in international bartending competitions and representing the United States on a team with Steve Schneider , owner of Employees Only in New York City, LA and Singapore, Franks decided to set her eyes on the cocktail community in Asia, and opened the The Pontiac in Hong Kong.

Beckaly shares that The Pontiac is a space which promotes female talent with an open-arms attitude. In her own words, “I feel as though we lift up young women to become the best versions of themselves.” The bar is named after Chief Pontiac, who was an important indigenous Chief in the middle north of what is now the US.  “He was a warrior; I am a warrior. And this place has the authentic voice of our tribe. I wouldn’t say that it’s built in my image, but it is overarchingly synonymous with me and will always be close to my heart.”

One of the signature cocktails you can find at The Pontiac is the hobnail, created from blended Scotch, ginger syrup, herbal liqueur and bitters. It was invented by Beckaly and has remained a Pontiac fan-favorite since its debut.

Click on this video and learn a bit more about Beckaly Franks: Winner of Altos Bartenders’ Bartender 2023.