This favorite Jackson, Mississippi, restaurant and bar lives in an old train station on the perimeter of the state's capital city. Characterized as "rough around the edges" by some, it's been around for decades and is part of the fabric of Jackson's unique character.
One of the first things you notice when you enter Hal & Mal's is the decor. The four different rooms that make up the restaurant and bar ooze with Southern soul, blues and rock 'n' roll -- which means Elvis in this state. (You can't have a venue for live music in Mississippi without a shout-out to Elvis.)
Hal and Mal's began in the 1970s as the brainchild of brothers Hal and Malcolm White. It took a bit of time for their dream to come to fruition, however. It wasn't until 1985 that Hal and Malcolm, along with Vivian Pigott Neill, got the business up and running in the old GM&O freight depot, where it still operates today.
What began as a family business has remained one, even after Hal's untimely passing. His brother, daughter and son-in-law continue to pack Hal & Mal's rooms with live music and serve up hearty Southern cookin' with a New Orleans flair.
Hal & Mal's entertains Jackson with an eclectic array of music offerings, from live stage performances to a cozy-themed room with an authentic jukebox. Musical acts include local and regional, as well as nationally known artists such as Snoop Dog.
Hal & Mal's most iconic event is the annual
St. Paddy's Parade. Started by Malcolm White, only a small number of people attended the first year. It has since grown to attract 70,000 people from across the state and country.
Hal & Mal's follows an open seating policy with general admission to its live music venues. There are seats available at the full bar and at tables and booths in each room. These are available on a first come, first served basis. The facility is accessible to those with disabilities.
Capacity in the restaurant/bar varies depending on the room. The Big Room has a capacity of 500, while the Red Room holds 250 at capacity. The other two rooms will hold about 100 people each.
Mississippi's capital city is home to a multitude of historic sites, dining and shopping venues, entertainment sites and parks. Governmental buildings pepper the downtown area, sharing the space with many of Jackson's historic attractions.
Hal & Mal's is on the periphery of the downtown area, putting it in a great location between historic, iconic areas and the modern sprawl of a thriving suburbia. Jackson offers a mass transit system that can get you from the downtown hotels, such as the Old Capital Inn or the Jackson Marriott, to just about anywhere else downtown.
If you're a fan of Discovery Channel's "Man vs. Wild," then you probably saw Hal & Mal's during Season 4 of the show.