The much-loved Parsons Avenue beer bar and vegan hotspot Hal & Al’s is celebrating their five-year anniversary with a full week of events, starting this Sunday, April 20. Festivities include the release of a new menu, beer tastings, food trucks, fundraisers and live music.
Owner Jay Cheplowitz is unveiling a new menu with a bit of a refocus. “We are known for frying lots of food,” he says, “so we’re doing more wraps and salads, and we’re upping our fresh offerings.” The new menu includes wraps like the spicy chipotle tofu wrap made with chipotle-pineapple barbecue sauce, or the tofu egg salad wrap. Other wraps feature hummus and falafel, while salads range from a standard house version to tropical- and Mediterranean-themed offerings.
Throughout the week, look for $5 specials like Scotch eggs on Sunday and Tuesday, and corn dogs on Monday. Wednesday will feature a black bean and corn taco special, while Thursday brings Asian Night, with Indonesian rice noodles with asparagus, carrots, shallots, ginger and peanuts. These items join the popular vegan brunch menu, served weekends and Tuesday nights, with breakfast burritos and biscuits and gravy.
But anyone familiar Hal & Al’s knows good beer always takes center stage, and this week is no exception. “We’re a committed beer bar,” Cheplowitz says. “We work hard to get really unique beers.” One of the bar’s best selling brews is Southern Tier’s Pumpking, an imperial pumpkin ale loaded with warm spices. It typically shows up on tap in the autumn, but Cheplowitz saved a keg from this past fall and will be tapping it this week.
Here’s what else is going on this week:
Monday, April 21: The bar is collecting gently used shoes to raise funds for Plant Pride, a group that provides planters along Parsons. Customers bringing in shoes will receive a specialty pint glass that can be filled with happy hour specials.
On Tuesday, April 22, Great Lakes Brewing Co. makes a return to Hal & Al’s taps with brews like Rye of the Tiger, Burning River, Chillwave, Rally Drum Red Ale and a special firkin of Commodore Perry infused with tangerine. A GLBC rep and CD102.5 will be on hand, giving out beer swag. And since it’s Earth Day, the bar is collecting old electronics from 4 to 7 p.m. They’ll be recycled by a local non-profit, Community Computer Alliance.
Wednesday, April 23, features a tap takeover from Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery, which entered the Ohio market earlier this year. Drafts include the Inversion IPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, the Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale and the special Mirror Mirror barley wine.
Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 will feature live music karaoke, respectively.
The week ends on Sunday, April 27 with a kick-off of Hal & Al’s food truck events. April through October, the bar hosts food trucks the last Sunday of the month, and each event benefits local charities. Sunday’s event focuses on food trucks, cycling and pets (“The dynamic trio,” Cheplowitz calls it). Food trucks include Tatoheads, Paddy Wagon, Mai Chau, and Donato’s new pizza truck, paired with beers from Lagunitas Brewing Co. The event benefits Pet Promise and Franklinton Cycleworks, who will be on hand doing minor bike repairs for customers. Lagunitas—known for being a dog-friendly brewery—will have a line of pet swag branded with beer and will make a donation to Pet Promise.
Cheplowitz will also have his Chevy diesel pick-up on hand for demonstrations; the truck runs on used vegetable oils from Hal & Al’s fryers.