How Beckaly Franks Is Brewing A Top Cocktail Scene In Man's World

Beckaly Franks was the first woman to be voted Bartenders’ Bartender at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards in 2023. In an interview with SheThePeople, she describes her experince touring India, and brewing a paradigm shift of spirits in a man’s world. 

Sreyashi Ghosh
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Beckaly Franks

Beckaly Franks | Image from Shubham Paul

From a little girl hanging out in her parents’ bar in Portland, Oregon, to becoming an award-winning bartender in Hong Kong, Beckaly Franks' journey shatters many glass ceilings and how! She owns The Pontiac, in Hong Kong and has recently opened venues Call Me Al and Artifact with her wife and fellow hospitality pioneer, Ezra Star. In 2023, she became the first woman to be named the Bartenders’ Bartender, the only peer-voted category in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards. 


We chanced upon meeting Beckaly Franks in Kolkata earlier this week. In an interview to SheThePeople, she described feeling calm being in Kolkata; the sights, sounds, smells, colours are all inspirations for her. From here (Kolkata) she will head to Pune, Goa and other parts of India (five city, six event tour) to spread her magic. As the Indian market of millennials, especially females is catching up on this badass culture of developing a discerning palate for international cocktails, Beckaly inspires a paradigm shift of spirits in a man’s world. 

Beckaly bewitches the cocktail aficionados with her charm and wit alongside dexterously yet effortlessly multitasking a carpe lemon, a pink Gibson or hob nails. Much different to her signature cocktail from her regular John at Ponctiac she concocts a pink portion with an onion floating atop like a strawberry and her fans wash down the anise seed good refreshing carpe lemons to beat the Indian heat at AM/PM, Kolkata last Saturday. 

Beckaly@work | Image from Shubham Paul
Beckaly in Kolkata AM/PM  | Image from Shubham Paul

Beckaly’s journey to find her calling began in her early twenties when she was recruited into performance bartending at the famous Dixie Tavern in Portland—a high-volume, rock ‘n’ roll establishment. Transitioning to craft cocktails, she honed her skills and ventured out on her own. Her hard work paid off as she earned her stripes at Clyde Common under the guidance of renowned bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler. 

'India Is Wicked:' Beckaly Franks

Beckaly’s influence extends beyond her bars; she advocates for equality and uses her voice, as she calls it “voice of my tribe” to create a space and more so pave the way for women in the industry. Her venues, including The Pontiac, have become icons in Hong Kong’s nightlife, showcasing serious cocktail credentials while spotlighting female talent alike. From May 2015 she started penetrating the bar scene, in the eight years since she moved to Hong Kong, Beckaly has become a true powerhouse in the city’s food and drink industry. She describes India as “kind of is crazy because it's like it just like city jungle, It’s wild, like, the trees are growing through the buildings and it gets so bad. It's just it's wicked.”


Beckaly proudly declares that bartending is part of her DNA, shaped by her upbringing in a community-focused bar culture where inclusivity thrived. Beckaly says “people, at their heart, are the same” the patrons of Hong Kong bars are of the same taste as USA bars where she drew her inspiration from. 

"There's something about even though there's, like, there's funky and stuff everywhere. Like, you know, if it's the colours, the great smells, the great feels, all the kindness," Beckaly says “I just love it here. So, I'm super happy to be back.” 

In a spirit of camaraderie she says “whoever is sitting at your bar deserves for you to love it”. She set the bar scene at AM/PM at Kolkata’s iconic Park St. night scene on fire last weekend. Straight out of a scene from Cocktail as Tom Cruise deftly conjures up drinks Beckaly concludes the vibrant evening by saying,Secret ingredient is always love, baby. Love and sugar.”

women bartenders Beckaly Franks