Counterpoint! I live just a couple blocks away from Hall of Records and it is now my new favorite bar. I like my bars to be a happy medium: not too posh, not too fratty, not too expensive, not too divey, not too anything. Just a damn bar. One with decent food, reasonably priced drinks, good music, and an ambiance that allows me to use the bathroom without a Hazmat suit. And until Hall of Records opened, this kind of bar—just a solid, normal bar—didn't exist on the block. I don't want to sit around feeling ugly at the hip hip hip Aalto Lounge. I don't want to fight for tablespace with the Belmont Inn bros. Hall of Records is just right.
I don't give a shit about buying records, but the music at Hall of Records is guaranteed to be good. Friday nights get busy and the bar hosts open tables, where anyone can sign up to spin on the bar's turntables, so whenever I've been there, there's been an interesting crowd and music that's a welcome change from the constant drone of the Decemberists elsewhere in Portland.
Finally, here's the clincher: Monday night is half price sandwich night. Half price! $3! For a tasty sandwich! That tips the scales for me. I love the place.