The Knitting Factory crew has turned an old carriage house next to their Williamsburg venue into a gastropub called Federal Bar, part of a chainlet with two other locations in L.A. It's got a warm vibe; there's a huge glowing blue globe hovering over the bar area in the back, giving the room a surreal, cosmic glow to offset the de rigueur vintage light fixtures, reclaimed wood, and Masonic symbology. And two cozy booths tucked away on either side of the front door offer an ideal Williamsburg people-watching bubble.
Federal Bar is a no-brainer for pre-gaming if you've got concert tickets next door. Vegetarians must try the spicy roasted cauliflower with farro and collards and almond gremolata; it's enough for two to share, but it's so tasty you may want your own. The Dry Aged Burger, made with a 1/2 Pound LaFrieda Patty, comes with a Black Pepper & Garlic Aioli that my carnivorous companion summed up as "fucking awesome." Both of those dishes paired improbably well with the Dusk ‘til Dawn, a stiff concoction made with Mezcal, Yellow Chartruese, Sweet Vertmouth, and Bitters. A couple of those and whatever band you see next door will be the best band ever.
But save room for the only dessert currently on the menu: a bread pudding made with donuts from Peter Pan bakery in Greenpoint. Maybe it was the mezcal talking at last month's press preview, but that was the best bread pudding I've ever had—not too sweet, with a consistency perfectly balanced between firm and gooey—and I didn't even want dessert. (Chef Brendon Doyle, who previously worked the kitchen at Pork Slope, says "there’s a certain whimsy" to his approach, and it really shines there.)
In addition to the tight cocktail menu you'll find 14 draught beer lines, most of them serving craft beer from Brooklyn and New York State. And if you don't have time for a full meal before your show, you can order from a limited version of the menu inside the Knitting Factory. Federal Bar is also open for brunch Friday through Sunday (Friday brunch?!), starting at noon.
367 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn // 347-529-6696