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The Federal


BryanZ
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There's little doubt that the Federal is a top-notch bar/restaurant. I sent Fat Guy there when he was interviewed by the News and Observer, and he agreed with what is becoming a consensus. Sometimes the place wreaks of ammonia from their institutional cleaners, but that's my only complaint.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I've been to The Federal I few times when I have been in the area and I agree.

Not only do they have an excellent craft beer selection (which is why they originally appeared on my radar) but, unlike a lot of good beer places, the food is excellent to boot.

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We enjoyed our first meal at Federal early in January and will return in the future. Just a head's up here: since service moves at what I would call a casual pace, Federal might not be the best place to eat if you're going somewhere afterward and have any time constraints.

CBHall

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I think the thing that is so good about The Federal is that it works very well in Durham as a Durham place. It collects alot of the things that make Durham the coolest city in the Triangle (and I say this as a Raleigh resident): a familiar place to hang out, killer french fries, big screen TV for sports and a tendency to lean on Loretta Lynn and Wilco.

I wish the kitchen would stay open later, it fits the bill perfectly as a place to grab a late nite bite but all things considered I'm just happy to get there to eat.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
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The food Andy Magowan puts out at the Federal is easily in the 99th percentile of bar food. The place is a real gem. Except it does, as Dean says, smell bad. Luckily, you can sit outside.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I had heard some good things about the food, so when friends and I stopped in for a drink (and as we ducked getting trounced at the trivia next door at the Joyce), I tried the polenta special. Polenta with cremini mushrooms and asparagus and a salad. It would have been phenominal anywhere. The fact that it was in a place where the phrase "I'll have a PBR" probably gets said 10 times more than "I'll have the polenta" made it even more special. Really was stellar.

~Ed

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I eat at the Federal frequently. I really like what they're doing there. The place feels right - that it's where it should be in time (during NC's quiet craft beer revolution) and in space (the only other place it could exist would be in Asheville).

I have to chuckle at this thread with the "best Bar Food in the Triangle" moniker. What makes it a bar? There are more tables than bar seats. The lunch service is busy as are dinners. Is it the focus on craft beer? If they focused on wine instead of craft beer would it still be "bar food"? Is it bar food when you can get gruyere on your burger (au poivre)? And finally, one of today's lunch specials was boeff burginion (beef burgundy) is that bar food?

Sometimes I think we rush to put things into a taxonomy for our own purposes...

TomV

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As to being called a "bar," well that's what the owner's call it. I would've said tavern or pub but that's a little pretentious don't you think? Either way, it owns.

I talked to one of the owners and the Andy is moving on to different things (I didn't inquire any further) and is being replaced by the long-time sous chef. His name is in the Chronicle piece.

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I asked our waitress for the scoop on Friday night and she said that Andy and Aby are leaving to start their own place. Let's just hope it's in Durham.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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