Recently opened on Pine Street in Long Beach, Federal Bar has taken an old bank and turned it into a swagged out gastro pub, restaurant, and lounge. The with a selection worth its weight in gold, menu is worth investing in.
Outside, granite columns give a clue of the building’s former glory as the home of Security Pacific National Bank. Inside, more columns, walls covered in polished wood, and gilded ceilings are signs that Federal Bar is embracing the big-money décor of the previous tenants.
The kitchen must be equally decked out. The dishes turned out by Chefs Anthony Overton and Vector Lopez were superb during my visit, with left overs being more worthy of a safe deposit box than a doggy bag.*
Labeled as “Pass-Arounds” on the menu, the appetizers could stand alone by themselves. Lamb chops and short rib poutine should excite the carnivores while the veg heads will delight in the grilled artichoke or the kale & Brussels sprout dip. If there’s a toss up, both parties will quickly agree to the mac-n-cheese (which can be enhanced with bacon or short rib! #teamcarnivore). Prices for appetizers range from $9-12 with a $2 discount in effect during happy hour (3-6 PM).
Entrees with an Emphasis on Burger
The big courses in the menu offer just as much selection as the apprtizers: flat breads, salads, and sandwiches/wraps offer plenty of options for entrees. Vegans will be especially happy to find a hot dog (The Gevan Weena) and a burger made with them in mind.
I opted for the namesake Federal Burger during my visit: a beef patty with garlic chips, smoked cheddar, bibb lettuce, black peppercorn aioli, and balsamic onion, all stacked up on a brioche bun ($11). Burgers are served with house salad or fries but I found the perfectly sweet accompaniment to the savory burger in a side of maple-glazed sweet potato tots ($6).
The seasonal dessert menu can sway even the most health conscious folks to temp a bite. Classics are present like “old fashioned” apple pie and red velvet cake. Dishes to spark curiosities include a sweet bacon cristo (chipotle peanut butter and chocolate, deep fried) and the Elvis Pie: a peanut butter mousse over a graham cracker crust, topped with chocolate and bananas.
Happy Hour, Too
While an epic meal is par for the course with a menu like the one at The Federal Bar, a short happy meal can certainly take place too. In fact, it might be worth it to just put in for a drink and a bite while checking out the scene on Pine Ave.
But with the convention center and other entertainment just a few blocks away and plenty going on in the surrounding area, the line to make a withdrawal from the Federal Bar is likely to be a long one.
- The Federal Bar, Long Beach
- 102 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802
- Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday – Open 11:30 AM; Sunday – Open 10 AM; Call for closing times
* Some items mentioned in this article were provided on a complimentary basis for the purpose of this review. Prices and menu items mentioned are subject to change without notice. This story was accurate when it was published and reflects the uninfluenced opinion of the reviewers.