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Savannah Marie searches for the best restaurants, wildlife and attractions that Harrisburg has to offer.

7 Reasons Why I Love the Federal Taphouse

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Dec 30, 2013 8:40 AM

Walking in to the Federal Taphouse's wide open doors, the soft gray walls juxtaposed with rich amber wood-grain floors welcomes me into its warmth. Amid the glow of the dim lighting reflecting off of deep wooden lacquered tables, the metallic industrial accents give the room just the right amount of edge. I find myself captivated by the rows of taps that line the counter and the steady hum of patrons laughing and sharing stories. As I exhale, I think to myself, "This is a place I can kick my feet up and stay for a while."

 1.    Prime Location

Within close proximity of the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, the Federal Taphouse is nestled perfectly on Second Street with other Harrisburg entertainment and nightlife. However, once I sat down, I knew I wouldn't need many options for other venues. I really didn't have any trouble with parking as there are many garages and street meters available within walking distance. I love how easy it is to get here from Route 15 and 581.

 2.    Availability and Space

Travelling to any bar or restaurant on Second Street is typically difficult on a weekend, and I expected that attempting this visit on a Friday night would be a nightmare. However, despite there being a big crowd around 8:00 p.m., I was amazed at how much space was available to seat guests. I never felt like I was intruding on anyone's conversation. My friends and I had a wonderful four-top right next to the bar, and we were served in minutes.


3.    Comfortable Atmosphere

 As my first impression describes, I almost felt "at home" sitting in the Federal Taphouse. With its openness and welcoming staff, my friends and I stayed around for hours. Every once in a while I'd take a glance around at the different tables, and I was surprised to find so many different ages and groups of people. One table was full of Harrisburg employees enjoying a successful day while some college students were hanging at the bar. The vibe indicated that anyone was welcome, and we all accepted each other harmoniously.


4.    Exquisite Food

 Even though it was late, I was excited to discover that the Federal Taphouse served their full menu well into the evening. In perusing the menu, it surprised me to find Wood Fired Scottish Salmon next to Artisan Pizza. Being a Taphouse, I stereotyped briefly, expecting typical bar food and pretzels. Instead, dishes flew past me decorated and garnished with near-perfect presentation. The food displayed five-star culinary creations, demonstrating that you can feel casual and comfortable while dining on luxurious, high-quality prepared foods.

 5.    Extensive Beer List

 With precisely 100 beers to choose from, there is no other place that compares to its variety and consideration for different tastes and types. From American-brewed to International delights from Dublin, this is the place to indulge and take a risk. I've overheard many of my friends talk about different beers, and I wanted to take a challenge and try something new. My taste buds were delighted to discover some new craft beers like Ithaca Apricot Wheat. I was also excited to find a selection native to New Orleans. Purple Haze from Lazy Magnolia Brewery was my beer of choice when living in New Orleans, and I was impressed to find it at the Taphhouse. In having so many to choose from, I felt no need to leave.

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 6.    Affordable Fare

 While I glanced over the menus and absorb what seemed to be an extremely classy, up-scale venue, I began to get nervous about the cost of these indulgences. However, I was pleased to say that the cost for dinner and a beer or two would be what you would pay on average for good, quality. Everything was presented so eloquently that it was hard to believe it didn't cost an arm and a leg to dine there!

 7.    Live Music

 One of my favorite parts about the Federal Taphouse is its live music sets. With the stage nicely incorporated into the dining space, it gives you a close and personal music experience. While I didn't know the artist by name, I could appreciate the acoustic guitar set and smooth vocals. The sound was not overbearing and my friends could continue to have a conversation while appreciating the music around us. The Federal Taphouse even brings in bigger artists such as Tegan and Sara.


After my first experience here, there is no doubt that the Federal Taphouse is an excellent venue. With its extensive beer list and mouth-watering foods, I feel like I can leave the city streets to pull up a chair and enjoy some good times with my friends.

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  • Kori Bonafair img 2014-01-20 09:29

    All 7 reasons are completely true and it would be a fantastic place if the service wasn't the absolute worst in town. The bartenders treat patrons like they are a bother and servers are not attentive or seem to know anything food service. It's sad because a staff like that can ruin a place and it has for me.

    • Savannah Marie img 2014-01-20 09:38

      That's a bummer. I didn't have a bad experience with the service, but I agree that bad service can completely ruin an establishment for patrons!

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