I've only had one, brief experience with the Franklin about a month ago, and will avoid it in the future based on that. We went about an hour before closing for cocktails and a snack. We would have gladly sat at the bar, but there were no seats. Not one of the booths was occupied, though, so we asked the waitress if we could sit in one. Denied. My DC and I never really unnderstood her coldly delivered reason, but it had something to do with not serving cocktails at the tables. What? We pointed out that there were no seats at the bar, but she essentially said, "too bad." I felt like we had walked into a secret club and didn't know the password. We spotted one seat at the end of the bar, so my friend sat down and I hovered, and then a nice patron said she was leaving anyway, so after some seat shuffling we were able to sit together, AT THE BAR like good little customers.
The bartender was efficient, but not friendly. My Sidecar was abysmal. It tasted kind of like butterscotch, which I love, but not in a Sidecar. My friend had a lemongrass cocktail, I think, which was too sweet. We split the zucchini sticks with gruyere, which was practically tasteless. Just plain, unseasoned strips of steamed zucchini topped with slices of unmelted cheese. Ick.
The atmosphere wasn't the cozy neighborhood vibe I was expecting, and the music was too loud to talk over.
I don't know how the Franklin used to be, or can be on a good night, but for us, it was pretty bad on that day.
I think the food is as good as ever, the bartending is generally solid, and the waits are a lot shorter on weeknights these days thanks to a lot of new competition in the neighborhood. I'm not crazy about the by-the-glass wines, but there are plenty of wine values by the bottle.
As discussed elsewhere here, the owner is adding another location not too far away in a new condo complex in Southie near the end of the Broadway Bridge.