The building is small and somewhat well-worn, but itís just the kind of laid-back atmosphere I enjoy. We saw nary a hipster on our couple of visits, so Iím not quite sure if the previous comments in that regard are still applicable or if we just visited at the right times. Not an overwhelming number of taps, but they are dominated by well selected regional crafts. Large number of daily food specials (such as the excellent wild boar sausage we had on one visit) with dishes featuring unique items and local seasonal ingredients is pretty amazing, especially given the nice prices. Beer prices are maybe a bit high, but they do half pours if you need to. Service was great and pretty knowledgable about the beer and the food. Nice mix of background music isnít too loud, so you can strike up a good conversation.
This may seem like some to be a dive bar but they would be wrong. Located mere minutes from the Duke campus it is in fact an homage to a dive bar. Old school breweriana lines the walls and the tap handles are off beers gone by. (Just try and guess which tap goes with which beer.) The crowd looks like itís comprised of mainly Duke students and young professionals. I appreciated the music being played a level that still made conversation possible. The food is made with great care and fresh ingredient. I thought my cheeseburger was fantastic and I love the garlic fries. They had about 20 taps and with exception of the ironic Miller High Life they were local and national craft. Would definitely come back if I were in the area.
Strebs (213) St. Louis, Missouri | September 25, 2011| Updated March 7, 2012
The Federal is a very comfortable, out of the way joint ( and I use joint in a very genial sense). The food was good and cheap, and the beer selection, even though not large, was none the less interesting. I really enjoyed the laid back vibe.
Iíve been to the Fed a bunch of times and figured it was time to finally put in a rating. Itís a smallish, but open feeling pub style place with a rustic bar vibe. They have maybe 15 beers on tap with a rotating list that hits on a great mix of locals, American seasonals, and craft beer standards. Thereís something different I havenít tried every time Iím in there. The surprising part is the food. The menu looks like standard pub fare, and the quality of the standards is above average. The real gem, though, is the ever rotating specials menu. Those items are always made fresh and are a really eclectic collection of "foodie" items, so if youíre willing to try something thatís a little outside-the-box, youíll end up with a great meal. One of my favorite cheap dinner spots in Durham.
The Federal is a cool place on Main Street in Durham with low-lighting, big booths, and some nice vintage touches. It seems to have a hipster reputation but we didnít get a pretentious or stuffy vibe at all- just a good mix of Duke people and visitors on a basketball weekend. The selection isnít huge, but it has some great local seasonal taps (TDR Paulís Christmas Vacation (!), Foothills, French Broad, Highland, etc.) along with some other nice ones (Founders, Brooklyn, etc.). The food was very good and inexpensive. The staff was friendly and service good, especially given the crowd that night. Along with Tylerís and Fullsteam, we hit three excellent places in Durham in one day before hitting the college bars at night.