The 13 Going On 30 BarSep 16th, 2009 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
Those of you who read my blog regularly know that the restaurant where Jennifer Garner hit on the 13-year-old boy in fave movie 13 Going On 30 has long been a thorn in my side. For whatever reason, it seems that no matter how hard I tried or how badly I wanted to stalk it, I just couldn’t seem to track the place down! I came fairly close last year, when Mike, from MovieShotsLA, managed to find what was used as the exterior of the restaurant on a cobblestone street in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. But, as fate would have it, the SoHo location turned out to be a clothing store that was used solely for exterior filming, while the interior scenes were shot at another location altogether. But where???? Finally, last week, I decided to enlist the help of fellow stalker Owen, who promised to track down a few of the 13 Going On 30 crew members and hopefully get an answer for me. Ironically enough, I had told Owen that time was of the essence in this particular stalking endeavor as I wanted to stalk the restaurant during my upcoming trip to New York. Well, come to find out, much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, it turns out that the location I was searching for was right in my own backyard the whole time! It wasn’t an hour later that I got a text back from Owen which read “Interested in hitting on 13-year-old boys? Head to Hal’s Bar at 1349 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice”. Well, let me tell you I almost fell over right then and there! I could NOT believe that the this WHOLE TIME the restaurant had been in L.A., literally right under my nose! LOL So, of course, I immediately dragged my boyfriend right out to FINALLY stalk it.
For those who have never seen 13 Going On 30, the scene that takes place at Hal’s restaurant involves Jennifer Garner (as a 13-year-old stuck in a 30-year- old’s body) drinking some cocktails at a bar in New York with BFF Judy Greer. At one point, Judy leans over and whispers to Jennifer “Mr. Hottie behind you is totally scamming on you right now!” So, of course, Jennifer gets up to go talk to him, but instead of walking up to the older gentleman standing at the bar, she heads over to a 13-year-old boy sitting in a booth and tells him she thinks he is cute. Judy freaks out, grabs Jennifer, and says “What do you want to go to jail? I meant that guy!” to which Jennifer replies, “The man? Oh, gross!” LOL LOL LOL You can watch the entire scene here.
Amazingly enough, while the decor of the 13 Going On 30 restaurant is pretty much exactly the same in person as it was in the movie, I had a really hard time recognizing the place once there. In fact, even though I have been actively searching for this location for years, had I randomly eaten at Hal’s, I probably never would have recognized it as the 13 Going On 30 restaurant. LOL As you can see in the above screen captures and photographs, while most of the background paintings were changed for the filming, for the most part the restaurant looks very much the same in real life as it did onscreen. One of the things that threw me, though, was the fact that, in real life, Hal’s is a fairly large restaurant, but, because 13 Going On 30 only showed one small section of it, it appeared to be tiny in the movie. When I first walked in, I was shocked at how big the place actually was.
But the biggest shock for me was actually the lighting. In real life, Hal’s is extremely bright and open, with one wall made up almost entirely of windows. In the movie, though, the place seemed very dark and cozy, much like a real New York restaurant would be. As you can see in the above photograph and screen capture, producers actually had all of Hal’s front windows covered over for the shoot, which really made a difference in the look and feel of the restaurant. In fact, the entire time we were there, I kept saying to my boyfriend “This place is so bright, but it was dark in the movie!!!! I don’t get it!” LOL Ah, the magic of Hollywood!
In an ironic side note – While attempting to locate the restaurant, I had spent WEEKS trying to figure out what the sign behind Judy Greer in the above screen capture spelled out. Countless times, I had Googled the terms “New York” along with all sorts of different combinations of words ending with “–ECKAS” and the phrase “bar & grill” to try to figure it out – all to no avail. Which makes sense now, being that the sign was a fake put up for decoration at the New York location where exterior filming took place.
But what doesn’t make sense is that when I finally got to stalk the restaurant, I noticed that producers had used part of the Hal’s Bar & Grill logo for their fake sign in New York. You’ll notice in the above screen capture and photograph that the oddly-placed “S” in the Hal’s Bar & Grill logo is EXACTLY the same as the oddly-placed “S” in the fake restaurant sign that was at the New York location. I’m not sure why producers went to all the trouble of creating a fake name and a fake logo that incorporated a part of the real restaurant’s real logo. Why not just use the real thing??? LOL But that’s Hollywood for you!
And, as if getting to eat at the 13 Going On 30 restaurant was not excitement enough for one day, while walking to our car afterwards we happened upon Desperate Housewife Marcia Cross sitting on a bench outside of a nearby shop. Ironically enough, the only reason I noticed her at all was because, as I walked by, she looked up and gave me an absolutely ENORMOUS smile. I was a bit taken aback by that as people in L.A. don’t typically smile like that at strangers. And it was while smiling back at her that I all of a sudden realized she was Marcia Cross! I so wanted to ask her to take a picture with me, but, as it was an extremely busy afternoon on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, I didn’t want to attract a bunch of attention to her. But, after we walked across the street, I begged my fiancé to snap a quick paparazzi pic of her for my blog – for which she also smiled. So cool!!!
I cannot recommend stalking Hal’s Bar & Grill enough! The food is EXCELLENT – especially the burgers! – and I had an absolute blast being there.
Big THANK YOU to Owen for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Hal’s Bar and Grill, aka the 13 Going On 30 bar, is located at 1349 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. You can visit their website here.