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Federal, The

Not Rated.
Federal, TheFederal, The

16 Ratings
Ratings: 16
Reviews: 13
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 6.71%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

914 West Main Street
Durham, North Carolina, 27701
United States
phone: (919) 680-8611

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(Place added by: beerinator)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 13 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RDBJ
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

RDBJ, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of jerefreakinmiah
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%

Always a treat to eat and drink at The Federal! I ate the spare ribs MANY times when it was on the menu. The rest of the menu is good too, but the specials are the real appeal to me...

...Other than the cool Bottle Reserve list they have. I've been annoyed a few times when they've had items on the list that aren't there (Devil Dancer listed for over a month when they were out!), but I've found gems like Black Note Stout, KBS, vintage Breakfast Stout, etc. Plus, you can buy bottles and take them home; love when restaurants make that option available for their guests.

The draft list is small, but enjoyable. Allagash White is always on tap and that's just fine with me.

jerefreakinmiah, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of KevinGordon
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

KevinGordon, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

SmellsofMahagony, May 21, 2014
Photo of Leftbob
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Looking at a number of the current reviews The Federal seems to be described as a dive.... If that's the case I guess I like bars that are a dive.

Yes it is near Duke....most of Durham seems to be. The Duke flavor can be a bit much but no more than the Tarheel flavor down the road.

This is a beer website so I had better discuss the beer. They don't have a zillion taps so someone has had to be selective and they do a pretty good job at it. Taps cover the spectrum of beers and are a nice mix of local craft brews.

I'm an IPA type they usually have Bells 2-Hearted and Founders Centennial (my preferred) and just recently for a brief period were offering Bells Hopslam.

They usually have some Belgians as well. My experience is that the restaurant can tax the staff numerically but if you're sitting at the bar and are at all amiable they take care of you.

All in all it's a bar I can relax in ...enjoy a couple pints and usually a enjoyable conversation with someone in the place.

Leftbob, Jul 16, 2012
Photo of Beerness
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

Well, I'll talk about the beer, but I first must acknowledge what I think is one of...if not THE best burger in the triangle...Au Poivre style....damn good. They have a nice menu besides, with creative specials based on fresh, local ingredients, but I always get the burger, so I don't know about those. Oh, and the fries are pretty great too, with garlic and parsley sprinkled on them.

It's a pretty cool scene, with a nice variety of seating options...booths, bar, tables in the back, and patio out front. Always a plus for me when places provide a multitude of atmospheres just based on the seating. Yeah, they've got a little bit of the smokey, hipster college bar thing going, but...still like it. Though, they do get negative points from me for being full of dookies ;)

As for beer, they have a solid draft list, with rotating local seasonals, along with beers like New Belgium 1554 and Bell's Two-Hearted. Then a bottle list about twice the size, that puts some emphasis on local selections. And of course, related to the hipster thing, there is no shortage of PBR.

Beerness, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of BernardusHo
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%

This is a college bar next to a few others that has outdoor seating. Decent selection of taps, Bells 2 Hearted, Hop
Wallop, etc. Bottles of Chimay, Delirium, and I think 3 Philosophers. Menu selection limited but sort of upscale with Mussels and an Italian sandwich with delicious meats. There was a Duke basketball game being played a half a mile away but a couple of Dukies had to ask to turn the TV to the game - strange. This is a cool place to mellow out or sit outside. Other than that, its just a college bar.

BernardusHo, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of jimbotrost
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Did not expect much from this smallish looking place up by Duke University. Upon sitting down, that all changed as the unpretentious atmosphere welcomed me to an actual beer bar. Quite a mix of patrons but that wasn't what I was there for. Great bottle list, less taps than the multi taps in the area but the selections were well thought out. I was drinking Foothills Oktoberfest which I thought was good and was exactly what I was looking for, some malt, some balance, not overpowering on this evening stop. Great pizza next door at I love Manhattan pizza. I would stop back

jimbotrost, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of tastybeer
4/5  rDev -4.1%

One of my favorite Durham food with beer places. Dark but friendly with an old school feel. Always a decent amount of good beer options. I definitely appreciate that if you want bud light or something equal you have to get it in a bottle. They save the taps for more yummy beer use. Occasionally something less available turns up on tap which is nice too. They have Bell's two hearted, Victory prima pils, Avery Czar + hercules, among various other tasty options. The food is great though I heard that it was amazing before when they had a different chef...but who's to say. I love their pulled pork on nachos with salsa fresco on the side. Great deal for two to three especially if you want way more than enough for dinner and still have plenty money left over for beers to help it down.

Always a good place to check out.

tastybeer, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of wedge
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Walking into a place like this, you wouldn't expect the kind of quality in tap selection as the Federal has. About 15 taps, including (at the time of my visit): Avery Czar (9 oz. pour), Tripel Karmeliet, Hercules...good stuff. All in a place that might be considered a "dive" by people that don't know any better. Most of the stuff on the walls is old brewery signs, ads, clocks, pictures and the like...very retro and dark. You seat yourself if you're in the mood for some food. My girlfriend and I had the nachos with pork which more than satisfied our hunger. A pretty cool place to go and it wasn't too packed when we went, although most of the Duke students were probably on their way home for Thanksgiving. I'll be back.

wedge, Nov 24, 2006
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Federal, The in Durham, NC
92 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.