Photos by Brian Addison.

The Federal Bar–a Long Beach offshoot of the popular North Hollywood gastropub and music venue–made its official debut last week, bringing an entirely new vibe to the historic Security Pacific Bank building on Pine Ave. Downtown.

The opening of the bar and restaurant on the corner of Pine Ave. and 1st St.marks more than just a new attraction to lower Pine’s nightlife–it’s also the first time that a major L.A. hotpot has looked to invest in Long Beach for a second location. 

“We hope to be an anchor tenant to the area; one that is not only a gastropub, but also an entertainment complex,” said Morgan Margolis, president and CEO of the bar’s parent company, New York-based Knitting Factory Entertainment.

Long Beach’s Federal Bar replaces the Madison steakhouse in a high-ceiling, historic-landmark building that dates back to the city’s 1920s heydey. In keep with the building’s historic charm–and similar to the bar’s North Hollywood location–the gastropub will retain much of the classic details including an old bank vault built into a wall next to the bar and hand-painted gold designs that adorn the entire the wooden ceiling.

“Its an old and gorgeous building. We are staying with the 1920s theme but with a modern flair,” said Margolis. “The interior of the building sports oak hardwood flooring, wood paneled walls, tall vaulted ceilings and an old mahogany bar that dates back to the time-period. In connecting with the community, the bar is decorated with art pieces from local galleries.”

Along with the bar and restaurant, Margolis says The Federal Bar will also soon double as a music venue. The basement of the two-level restaurant–formally the bank’s vault–will be transformed into a state-of-the-art venue that comes with the Knitting Factory’s decades of venue-management experience. The layout of the basement will be spit in half, the front portion serving as the music venue, while the back will remain a 1920s style speakeasy.

Construction on the venue is scheduled to be finished in about three months and once completed, the venue will host live music and party rentals.

“We’ll do national and local acts, room rentals, party events,” Margolis said. “Jazz to rock, indie, all sorts of music. We hope to foster the local music scene, the O.C. and Long Beach have great music scenes.” 


Like to the bar’s sister location in North Hollywood, The Federal Bar hopes to appeal to a broad demographic and already its philosophy differs from that of the high-end, date-night restaurant that it replaced.

Margolis hopes to create a family friendly establishment that anyone will enjoy. Being from Southern California, Margolis understands the local community and hopes the restaurant will reflect the working-class neighborhood.

“I have history in the area, I have been coming down there for years with my family. I’ve seen the area take a dive recently and just wanted to help revive it. 90% of our staff come locally from Long Beach. Hopefully this restaurant can add to the neighborhood,” he said.

federalbar4The gastropub will bolster an affordable menu and a wide selection of craft beers from local breweries–such as Los Angeles’ Golden Road–as well as a menu of classic and reimagined comfort foods by executive chief Shad Davis.

Food options are the same as they are in North Hollywood and include a wide selection of eats, from pizzas to artisan cheese plates. A standout item on menu is the IPA braised short ribs, served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and fried shallots. It is suggested to be paired with a pint of Stone IPA.

Along with the two Federal Bar locations, Knitting Factory Entertainment owns several other venues around the country and plans to make Long Beach another key part of its family of locations. The company grew from humble beginnings in New York, to becoming the second-largest music venue in the U.S., behind the House of Blues.

“We hope to be a part of the fabric of Long Beach and bring the Knitting Factory brand to the area,” said Marglois. “We have an iconic history in the music world, we want to be more than just a restaurant and be part of the community.”

Federal Bar is located at 102 Pine Ave., (562) 435-2000, thefederalbar.com

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