LONG BEACH -- An upscale gastropub that has made its mark in North Hollywood is opening its second location in downtown Long Beach next month.
For a city trying to return the one-time bustling vibe to Pine Avenue, the addition of the Federal Bar will be a boost, a downtown official said.
"There is a lot of great momentum happening in downtown Long Beach, and this is yet another example of that," said Kraig Kojian, president and CEO of Downtown Long Beach Associates. "I think The Federal will be very complimentary to the transition of Pine Avenue, and it will definitely drive some of the critical mass back to an area that has remained dormant over the past few years. "
The Federal will
Built in 1925, the pre-Prohibition, brick building with high ceilings and original wood floors is exactly what Knitting Factory Entertainment CEO and President Morgan Margolis was looking for when he started the search six months ago for a new space to expand the Federal brand, he said.
Margolis hopes to have the front part of the main level open before the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which runs April 19-21.
The two-level space is elegant, and Margolis intends to stay true to the bones of the building, only updating the main floor accents
The basement, on the other hand, will be transformed into a hip, comfortable lounge with a state-of-the-art sound equipment, lighting and a stage for live entertainment, Margolis said.
Margolis, who heads the company that started in 1987 in New York City as a small art gallery, cafe and performance space, said his goal is to bring a new family-oriented bar and restaurant to downtown.
But that doesn't mean that space won't feel grown up, he said.
"Exposed brick, warm lighting and a room with leather booths, antique lamps and incredible accents will all lend to a great Prohibition-era style atmosphere that has come to define The Federal," he said.
Knitting Factory Entertainment has grown tremendously since its start in Manhattan and is now the second-largest music venue in the country, after the House of Blues, with venues around the country, including Brooklyn, Boise, Spokane and Reno, according to the company.
The company also oversees other non-branded venues in New York and the Northwest. It it the 14th-largest concert promoter in the country, and 25th in the world. with two record labels, an artist management division, a TV and film production partnership, and branded merchandise like phone covers, skateboard decks and T-shirts.
The Federal Bar, along with the new pan-Latin eatery Bow & Truss, owned by the same company, have won awards for serving the North Hollywood nightlife scene. When construction is complete in Long Beach, Margolis said he intends to provide the same "sophisticated pub fare and impressive collection of draft and bottled beers, in addition to an iconic array and location and national music and entertainment to the residents of Long Beach. "
Some dishes residents can look forward to, which will be prepared by Shad Davis, the executive chef of The Federal Bar, include the Federal Dog, an all beef hot dog topped with shallot rings, pickled jalapenos and mustard, the IPA-braised short ribs served with melted leeks and hulk smash potatoes, a selection of seven cheeses and three flatbreads, curry cauliflower, a roasted beet salad with arugula, and more.
The former highbrow, high-ceilinged eatery will be non-recognizable to those who dined at The Madison Steakhouse. Margolis said he will reclaim the 1924 Gilded Era antique finishes from the building's bank days.
"We want this space to take on a more casual contemporary riff on the classic pub setting, which will include both the bar/restaurant and a performance space," he said. "The Federal Bar intends to do in Long Beach exactly what a gastropub was meant to do "" serve great beer, great food and diverse, always engaging entertainment, with a unique and inviting atmosphere - but also serve as an anchor and focal point for a vibrant neighborhood. "