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Casual taco-tequila joint brings a new place to hang in Fulton Market

Casual taco-tequila joint brings a new place to hang in Fulton Market

You can always make time for tequila and tacos. Especially when they’re coming from another collaboration between Four Corners (Benchmark, Kirkwood, Fremont) and Hogsalt (Au Cheval, Gilt Bar, Bavette’s, Doughnut Vault).

Federales (180 N Morgan St), the new Tex-Mex bar and restaurant, is the second venture between the two powerhouse restaurant groups. Opening on Monday, June 6, it’ll serve as a casual neighborhood hangout, something that Fulton Market is missing. Federales feels like a garage-turned-badass-playground with playful art, shot glasses made of ice and even a San Francisco trolley to shuttle guests to and from local events.

The menu features slow-smoked meat tacos like crispy pork belly al pastor, carne asada and shredded beef brisket available as a platter of four or a la carte. The bar will be serving up shaken or frozen classic mescal and hibiscus margaritas along with a full list of Mexican beers, including Tecate with a salt and hot sauce–lined rim.

One of the most notable things about Federales is not on the menu, though—it’s on the back wall. A sprawling black and white mural created by Jason Botkin of the artists’ group EN MASSE twists its’ way along the back of the bar. Staring at the trippy mural, you’ll find droopy-eyed pigs holding giant saltshakers, an astronaut driven by drunk robots in his helmet, frogs jumping into black holes and agave plants chasing tacos. You’ll also spot subtle Chicago references in between the characters.

 

Photograph: Courtesy of Federales

 

The 176-seat open air space, designed by Karen Herold of Studio K, is embellished with industrial details such as pegboard walls, dark reclaimed barn wood and shelving made from square steel posts hung over the bar. The building exterior is wrapped in sheets of cutout corten steel, which will naturally weather from dark metallic to a burnt, rusty orange.

Inside quickly becomes outside with a retractable roof and two massive garage-style fold-up windows. The hanging TVs can swivel to face the bar or the 154-seat tequila garden in front. Mismatched seating, tables of two and long communal tables make the patio a more socially focused space.

Four Corners director Ryan Indovina hopes Federales will become the kind of place patrons can easily spend a day hanging out. And, well, it won’t be hard to turn afternoons into nights with the fire pit plus tequila, tacos and twinkly lights.

 

Photograph: Courtesy of Federales

 

 

 

Photograph: Courtesy of Federales

 

 

 

Photograph: Courtesy of Federales

 

 

 

Photograph: Courtesy of Federales

 

 

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Comments

2 comments
Stephanie L

The only reason this place is busy is because of the amazing patio area. The food was bland and not good. The al pastor taco was the only one with flavor. Shrimp ceviche was a flop. It was just shrimp with a mango sauce on it...no flavor. Skip if you want to eat. Go if you want an outdoor party scene.

Chi-girlabouttown

Federales is new to the taco circuit situated in the trendy West Loop area and is a perfect spot to grab your friends and go for a few margaritas and tacos! It is a large outdoor dining spot that inside offers a retractable roof! Music was great! Upon being seated we were served the traditional chips and salsa, the chips were very fresh and tasty. Unfortunately the salsa was nothing special at all. Let’s drink! I tried a few, the first which is my usual favorite “The Cadillac” which I must admit I was not impressed at all by, it lacked the grand mariner I have come to expect in this drink. Sad to say “The Cadillac” tasted like a regular margarita to me. The next margarita I tried was the Mezcal which did not disappoint, it had that smoky flavor you expect with Mezcal. Lastly, I tried the regular margarita which was decent but of the three I enjoyed the mescal the best. Shots!!! Even someone like myself who normally does not do tequila shots could not help but try my hand at the drinking of the shots served in an ice shot glass once you finish you toss your ice shot glass at the bell out on the patio, well that is if you can throw that well! LOL I was with a very large group so we ordered a RIDICULOUS amount of tacos, which were very good! The grilled carne asada and the shredded beef brisket tacos were extremely flavorful! Unfortunately I was not quick enough to get the pork belly al pastor BUT the pulled chipotle chicken was AMAZING! I also cannot forget the beans and rice that accompany the taco platter they were excellent! We are already planning our next team outing! Enjoy!