The loose archipelago of great neighborhood bars along Parsons Avenue got a bit longer several months ago with the opening of Hal & Al's, a small music and comedy spot south of Thurman Avenue.
Nearby neighborhood blight along the Gateway to the South may seem a bit scary to those who frequent more established nightlife districts, but owner Dan Ores insists that you've always got a friend on Parsons.
"My goal is to have this place be the start, midpoint or end of a really great night," Ores said. "That would make me smile."
No big challenge there.
Colorful and inviting, the interior bears some similarities to Carabar, its neighbor to the north, with a black-and-white tiled floor, elevated stage, a smattering of chairs, popcorn machine and emphasis on cheap beer in cans.
That's clearly Hal & Al's strongest suit - more than 10 beautiful brands in aluminum. For $1. At all times.
In addition to Tecate, Busch, Blatz and other kindred spirits (pun!) for a buck, Jim Beam is served up for $2. A great happy hour, which lasts a hefty five hours, makes things even more enticing.
Once you're oiled up by the cheap drinks, you can order a frozen DiGiorno pizza for $7, then explore a South Park pinball machine, foosball table and small side patio. Plans are in the works to expand the outdoor area into an adjacent lot before the weather turns.
Hal's also offers an interesting entertainment slate bound by the delightful motto, "No cover bands. No cover charge."
Instead of off-key renditions of "Brown Eyed Girl," you can hear local and touring acts on Saturday. There's an acoustic open mic Tuesday, local comedy Sunday, underground sounds Friday and guest iPod night Wednesday, when patrons compile half-hour sets and compete for a cash prize.
"Word's getting out, so we're getting people from German Village, Merion Village, the Short North," Ores added. "Having the variety is nice, because we're getting different crowds."
Hal & Al's celebrates beer in cans. Here's what lies waiting in aluminum.
Miller High Life
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Click to ColumbusAlive.com for a complete guide to Columbus bars and clubs