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Federal Taphouse

Not Rated.
Federal TaphouseFederal Taphouse
BA SCORE
88
very good

18 Ratings
Ratings: 18
Reviews: 5
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.79%
Taps: 101
Bottles: 50
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

234 N 2nd St
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17101-1422
United States
phone: (717) 525-8077

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: Slatetank on 12-28-2012)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 5 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.52/5  rDev +18.9%

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4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

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4.04/5  rDev +6.3%

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3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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4/5  rDev +5.3%

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3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of JKWBMH
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

I'm sorry that it took me this long to get to the Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg--the experience was certainly worth some repeat visits that I might not be around to enjoy.

The place is clean and open with a nice floor plan. Service is fine; I didn't really test the knowledge base of the staff. But there beer selection was robust. They've got about 100 on tap, well chosen--a handful of a few brews from each of several craft producers is a good way to go, rather than just listing out a catalog of singleton offerings.

And the food's really good. There's a lot of bad pizza out there in the world, so their wood fired stuff is a fine treat and complements the beer nicely. Appetizers including duck fat fries, a good "everything" pretzel, and pickles are all good matches, too. Entrees are well prepared and almost worth the price across the board.

My only critique is that, with such a beer selection, having more specials and making more of an effort to highlight that part of their enterprise would be welcome. But, they are doing other things well, too, so I'm being hop-centric, perhaps.

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of curl217
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.75

I have stopped in a few times peruse their huge beer list, and taste a few beers on my "to do" list. The bartenders on the day shift tend to be the most knowledgable on the staff. The night side staff lean towards eye candy on the weekends-you won't get much advice or conversation re beer. Tried to have a growler filled one evening, which turned out to be quite a calamity. Atmosphere is more bus station than cozy. Food average.

Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of SnoozeDoctor
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

After hearing much hype about the opening of this establishment in Harrisburg (and pre-hype about the one coming to Lancaster), I was eager to try this place out. Overall, it was a slight disappointment... with some caveats.

The selection of beer on-tap was impressive for central PA. They had a decent selection of 100 beer offerings from maybe 30-40 different breweries, with some stuff that's harder to get in this area (e.g., they had Firestone Walker "Reserve", Ithaca "Flower Power"). There were only a few BMC offerings, which I would imagine will cater to the late-night partiers who don't really care about what beer they're drinking provided it's cold, carbonated, and contains at least some alcohol.

The place was clean. The decor was nice. And the overall atmosphere was inviting. Could have used less background country music, but that's just one man's opinion.

The service was marginal. I recognize that they just recently opened, but the staff should be educated in styles of beer, proper glassware, and just generally being more responsive to the customer. We ordered three different beers, including an oak-aged imperial stout, and all were served in a 16 oz. pint glass. Not that big of a deal, but I could see plenty of tulips and snifters sitting on the shelves. A cicerone behind the bar would help out a lot.

I had a burger which was decent. My girlfriend sent back her "grilled" Caesar's salad (which when served looked like spoiled lettuce and is generally WAY too advanced for Central PA), and we weren't charged.

Now is the time to really work out the kinks. This place has a lot of potential, but just wasn't "there" yet for me. I sincerely hope they can tweak and make minor adjustments to what is a great idea so that the beer geeks will be as satisfied as the less discriminating nightlife that frequents that part of town in the warmer months.

Photo of Slatetank
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

I have been to Federal taphouse a few times now, twice with my bro tenderbranson69 and once with Stakem. The interior is spacious and is set up well with the bar close to the entrance to the right with a large chalkboard displaying the tap listing and all tap handles within view with a shelf displaying the bottles available which are mostly corked and caged Belgians or American belgian styles. To be honest I wasn't sure of the bottle selection when I added this establishment so they really only have maybe 10 tops including BMC so I will have to report an update. They do rotate taps frequently though which is why selection is very good rating wise with a nice representation of many styles including American, British, German and Belgian.

The service is very good as well, we got our beers and food quickly each time I came and they asked so we didn't have to flag our waitress down. I like the freshness and extensive menu with pizza, pomme frites cooked in duck fat and other choices including mussels, soups, salads and desserts with a mention of brunch coming soon on their facebook page. I had some quality beers from both local breweries as well as St Bernardus, Founders,Great Lakes, Firestone Walker and Southampton to name several so the quality is definitely there. I consider the prices above the average for the area, but don't mind paying a buck extra since the place is just down the steet from my workplace and only about 3.5 miles from where I live now so I guess paying for the convenience is what I am doing. I like the duck and fig pizza as well as the poutine fries and the wood fired oven is fun to watch in action while quaffing with friends.

Overall the place is a welcome addition to downtown since I never went to dragonfly and would prefer the option of around 105 or 6 quality beers to a club. They offer growlers to go too but the only thing I wish they would provide is pricing on drafts and growlers so you don't have to ask each time you order. I will be back either way though since they seem to have the major areas down.

Photo of orangesol
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Stopped in here last night for the first time to see what all the fuss is about. Very large space with an equally large bar area on the right. The 101 taps are listed on a large chalk board next to the bar. That amount of taps is definitely a lot of beer so I hope they can rotate them enough to keep things fresh.

Atmosphere was pretty good. Lots of people talking and eating all over the place. A few large TV's above the bar area. I will have to check out the concert space upstairs another time when they are open. Service was a little hit or miss. Our server would be all over us and then would totally disappear the next minute. She seemed to know a bit about beer but I did overhear her telling the people beside us a few suspect facts. Selection was decent, it had better be with 101 taps. Nothing overly exciting or rare, just plenty of solid long time favorites. They do have Great Lakes and Racer 5 on, both of which have not been available in this area...

Quality was pretty good. Beers were served in the correct glasses and the food was fairly high quality. I went with the poutine and a prosciutto pizza. The poutine was great but $8? Come on, its just fries, cheese and gravy. That should be no more than $5-6. The pizza was the same way. It tasted great but for $13 I was expecting a bit more than just a few slices of meat and a ton of greens. Draft prices were the same way. I got nothing overly rare, a Great Lakes Dortmunder and a Bear Republic Racer 5, and they were $13 combined. The prices were also not listed on the large draft board or the menu, a total no-no in my book. I don't mind paying for good beer but that is a bit much for those particular beers.

Overall, a welcome addition to the downtown drinking scene. Anything that gets good beer downtown is alright in my book. The prices are a little on the high side but the food is worth the stop. It wont be one of my favorite places but I will definitely return.

Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg, PA
88 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.