The Galley Group, which opened restaurant incubator Smallman Galley two years ago, has launched its second project, Federal Galley. Located in the North Side’s newly renovated Nova Place, it hosts four restaurant concepts, featuring cuisine like Detroit-style pizza and Mexican fare, as well as Smallman Galley first-cohort favorite, Provision PGH. But what’s dinner without a great drink? The crown jewel of the project is a bar helmed by bar manager Cat Cannon and beverage director Tim Garso.
The Smallman Galley bar has proved to be one of the Galley Group’s most beloved and successful ventures, and it’s likely the magic will only multiply at Federal Galley. Cannon, a rising star in the Pittsburgh bartending community, spent two years bartending at Smallman Galley before being promoted to manage this project. However, it’s clear that her and her team’s drive and ambition are setting the course. “We don’t want this to be Smallman Galley 2.0,” she says.
The 7,500-square-foot location boasts a different vibe than Smallman. The building was formerly a bank and it preserves some of those features: lots of vertical space, an open plan and a touch of grandeur. The bar is inside the old vault, and its heavy, metal vault door still graces its entrance. At 190 seats, and with another 100 seats on the patios in the front and back of the building, it’s easy to imagine this being a lively spot. “It’s a high-volume bar,” says Cannon.
In keeping with the theme, the menu is written like a bank letter. Reflecting Cannon’s love for all things Pittsburgh and baseball, this opening iteration is addressed to Deacon Phillippe, manager of the Pittsburgh Filipinos Baseball Club, a real entity that played at Exposition Park in the early 1900s.
Four house cocktails are inspired by the flavors and culinary history of the Philippines. Six classic offerings focus on less-popular iterations, or drinks that have been lost to time, like the Martinez, which has been making a modest comeback over the past year in cocktail-enthusiast circles. Thirty taps, 25 of which are dedicated to beer, grace the bar. While there will be a strong focus on Pennsylvania beers, Cannon doesn’t plan to limit the offerings to an in-state-only list, as is the case at Smallman Galley. Draft wine (wine will in fact be served only via draft) and cocktails will also be available. Patrons can expect menus to flip every six months or so, with some substitutions throughout.
But above all, Cannon is focused on her belief in her staff. She plans to implement continuing-education programs for spirits, and is adamant that the bar be a supportive place for learning and professional growth. “My staff,” says Cannon, “that’s what I care about the most.”
Bar hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday; and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.
200 Children’s Way, North Side. https://www.federalgalley.org/