Hal's Bar & Grill
1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
- Mon - Fri
11:30 am - 11:30 pm
- Sat - Sun
10:00 am - 11:30 pm
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Hals house special is NOISE. My friend and I went to Hals specifically to hear a musician who was playing there. We had dinner, and then left after the first set because we could not hear the music. The room is divided by a low partition, and it has a very high ceiling. One side of the partition is tables and booths; the other side is a long bar stacked 3 deep with people. (This was 8:30 Sunday evening.) The noise from the bar required the people at the tables to shout at each other in order to be heard, which only added to the din. We caught the attention of the owner to ask if the noise level lowers later in the evening only to learn that no, it doesn
I have loved going to Hal's, especially when meeting with my girlfriends, and at least twice each month on Fridays. However, for the last three times the female waiter for the bar tables either does not like her job or is not fit for it. She comes to the table and ask, anything to drink? do you need to see the menu? duuhhh! After getting our order finally, the food arrives and she never comes over to check on us girls, but I see that she does that twice with the good looking man on the next table... When we are almost done with our drinks, she comes over to ask if we were ordering more drinks and we say ""not yet"" and she simply places the bill on the table! Then we purposely take our times to finish the drinks... She passes by from picking up plates/glasses from another table and grabs our credit cards - we specifically say ""from the blue card you charge $26 and the rest on the other"" and she goes ""how much on the other""; we say ""about $42""; she asks again and we repeat it twice. She comes back with the wrong charge. In this situation if she was offering good customer service, I would try to accommodate the situation and simply pay for the difference directly to my friend, but I think, oh please, she needs to learn a lesson. We call her back and explain, she goes like ""but the amounts will not match"", finally I write on the bill: ""$42"" for my gray c.card and tell her ""the balance on the blue one"". She comes back with the bills and says ""here, sorry about that"" - but with little sincerity in her voice. We left the absolutely minimum tip and I wrote on my bill: ""should improve service"". But we will think twice before returning there... it's a shame, because we used to love the place, especially Dennis at the counter-bar - he is a gentleman and so professional and absolutely polite!!!
When my boss suggested Hal's as our next stop, I immediately thought. Nothing good can come out of the name Hal's. Hal's sounds so ... Dive barish? Country? Old? I would never name my kid Hal or Hank or Butch for that matter. Then again, this is the girl who wanted to name her first boy Skylar in the 7th grade.
OK before this launches into a diatribe against non-sexy names. I must say, Hal's is a mighty sexy place. High ceilings, large piece of art, really buzzing even around 10. In fact, SO busy that we had to chill at the bar for a good 20 minutes. I had a vodka tonic which was amazingly strong. My boss told us that this was an industry hot spot back in the day and has been in AK since 1987. Wow.
For food we stuck with appetizers because we ate and drank back at Otis. We shared the rustic pizza, calamari, ahi and scallop sashimi, and hummus. I noticed a great dinner menu also - veal, roasted chicken, flat iron steak, etc. I'm definitely up for coming back for dinner. Even though the place was crowded, service was on point. We got our bread quickly and our waters stayed full and they always notice your alcohol level and offer to bring you another one.
The pizza was good and I haven't had pizza in almost a year so Mmmmmmm. Pizza. Cheesy cheesy pizza with yummy sausage. I really enjoyed the calamari but the highlight of the meal was the sashimi! The scallop sashimi tasted really fresh and sweet and went well with what I assume was ponzu mixed with a bit of sesame oil. It was more of a carpaccio rather than 'japanese style' sashimi. The hummus was meh. It was bright green :-/ I suspect there was a hint of wasabi in it because it was spicy.
Well color me surprised. Besides coming in the AK area for brunch one time, Venice really isn't my hood. I do start to appreciate the hustle and nightlife of Abbott Kinney and excited to come back and try Hal's dinner menu. Maybe even date a Hal.
I am happy to report that Hal's is doing so well during this economic downturn that it does not need its longstanding female customers.
I love Hal's and as in line with some of the other reviews, I probably love Dennis the bartender more. That said, other staff members, particularly James the bartender and management have a lot to learn about customer service. After going there to watch a playoff game, being promised that we would get to see the game, and ordering drinks and food based on that promise, James proceeded to turn the channel for customers that arrived after us and when asked about it, responded that we should stop yelling at him. (This was after he had already been rude and disrepsectful to us, which I had politely asked my guest to ignore as he would be off-shift in an hour.) When we we reported this behavior to management, the only response was that the TV was a ""hard issue"" for the bartenders. I still fail to see what the issue is, we asked first, were there first, and ordered our drinks and food based on the promise that we would get to see the game.
Moreover, when I told the manager that I had been coming there for years and had never experienced anything similar, she actually had the gall to say that she had never seen me. Perhaps best for both of us, it will remain that way.
I USED to LOVE Hal's... but, the events over the past week has recently altered my entire view. I realized that I don't LOVE Hal's as a place to eat; I love Hal's as a Saturday night bar... more so, I love Dennis, the heavy handed, friendly bartender!
This is why I no longer enjoy Hal's during the day...
Last week, I ordered a take-out lunch for my production team prepping a commercial down the road. Within 20 minutes, my food was ready for pick-up..awesome. As I went to pay the bill, there was an $18 gratuity charge included... not awesome. I asked how this could be on a CARRY-OUT order?! The woman responded and said on ""orders over $100, we charge gratuity because the guys work so hard in the back."" My order was a single bag; 5 items; minimal packaging. Ironically, my meal WASNT OVER $100. It was $90.. and the woman said, ""Oh, well $90 is close enough to $100."" I said I'd pay it, but that I was NOT happy. After speaking with one of the manager's, he credited me my $18 tip, but he was NOT happy about the whole situation. I asked if this ""18%"" gratuity for take-out, was mentioned on the website. He said ""it should be."" Alas, it is not. Ok, end of story.
Today, I received a MUCH friendlier reception from the wait staff. Very nice young man at the bar... sweet hostess. Yet, upon returning back to the office, my producer mentioned that his tofu tasted ""fishy."" But, he is good people, so he didn't insist on me taking back the food. I, however, discovered a 2 inch, dark black hair, within my grilled tuna salad. My hair is blonde. My producer's hair is blonde. My PM's hair is red. And, the ""$18 gratuity packaging"" involves sealing the container shut with tinfoil.... meaning, the only access to my food, is by the kitchen, then me.
Here is a synopsis of why I don't recommend Hal's for lunch... or any meal, for that matter:
*Your take-out gratuity (you know, that fee that doesn't pertain to ANY OTHER RESTAURANT) will cost far more than a single dish you order.
*If you're vegan, DO NOT EAT ANYTHING HERE, because it could be infused with fish matter/juices
***If you order a salad thinking you're going to be healthy, just prepare for a little extra ""protein,"" if you will. I'm not really a fan of thick black hair, so I'm gonna skip out on the next meal at Hal's.
The only thing I DO recommend, is late Friday/Saturday nights @ Hal's. Ask Dennis for his ""specialty drink."" Dennis is one of the few bartenders on the Westside, who I trust to make me something delicious AND strong.
Just dont order any food......
I have never written a restaurant review but this was a must. Went to Hal's a little early on a Friday night and were seated quickly to a great booth in the back. Enjoyed the evening with good friends, atmosphere was fun but extremely loud. It forced us to speak louder than normal. Unknown to us, Hal was sitting directly behind us. He came to our table of women, announced who he was, apologized for poor acoustics and then preceded to tell us to lower our voices. I surely thought he was joking. When asked if he was he very seriously pointed is finger at a friend and said ""ask her""! UNBELIEVABLE! We have never been so insulted and spoken down to like that before in our lives. He then sat back down at his table leaving us in shock over what was just said to us. We then quickly finished our meal, skipped coffee & dessert and paid our bill. Upon leaving this LOUD, cement cave I went to Hal's table to let him know that he was RUDE and that we were no louder than any other table in his restaurant and how dare he ""shush us"" like schoolgirls. He stood up and said to us ""you women do not know how loud you are"". He then began to walk us towards the door. I explained his table was directly behind us that is why we may have sounded a little louder. I also told him their acoustics were not our problem they were his. He started to scold me again, saying I was very loud. Hey Hal, take some ""people skills classes"" maybe ""restaurant management 101"". A bar setting for the entire restaurant is a bad cocktail. Needless to say the other 4 women and I were all in shock and embarassed at how we were spoken to that evening. We will NEVER return to that place. My suggestion to you is if you have to go to Hal's just don't sit by him if you want to have a nice evening. Better yet, go somewhere else where you can get much better food and the owner won?t insult you.
I have been to Hal's several times after work- parking is usually a pain on abbot kinney at night. I like the atmosphere at Hals- especially when they have live music. Just to go there for a drink is fine, but if you are looking for a dining experience I would not recommend Hals. The food has nothing special to write about, it's just a blah experience.
I'm surprised by some recent reviews. My first time there was last week based on a friend's recommendation. I had a Thurs, 7:30 reservation. I arrived early and had a drink with my date at the bar. Crowded, but friendly. Bartenders were FANTASTIC - very friendly, whatever they are paid it's not enough! We were seated right on time. The waiter was just right - not pushy and he never rushed us. The food was terrific. We loved the sweat potatoe ravioli and the calimari was outstanding! We shared dessert over coffee and even though we held the table for 2 hrs, we never were rushed to finish. The place was crowded, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. I don't always write reviews, but I had to in this case. I will return. I will recommend to others.
lazy table service, food is decent but not worth the wait, had reservation waited 40 min. can't hear yourself think. Long evening with no pony Nice bar
Cocktails are good but if it is food you are after, avoid this place on Saturdays between 7 and 9pm. We have been twice in the past months and, despite a reservation, have had to wait an hour for a table and another hour for mediocre food.
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