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The Hay Merchant

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

79 Ratings
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: n/a
Taps: 76
Bottles: 25
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1100 Westheimer Rd
Houston, Texas, 77006-2727
United States
phone: (713) 528-9805

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @haymerchant

Notes:
Place added by: champ103 on 02-16-2012

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Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 23
Reviews by champ103:
Photo of champ103
4.6/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Edit: I have to upgrade the food score to 4. While not everything they do is great. Like the fried pigs ears (just bad IMO), bone marrow is never up to snuff, and the very average burger. The other stuff is very innovative and interesting. Pork Sliders are excellent, and my stand by. Blood Sausage Queso is out of this world good. As are the mussels and any other fish they come up with. Don't dismiss the food, very different than most any other pub grub you will come across. The rest of the bar speaks for itself.

The long awaited arrival of Hay Merchant is finally here. An ultra funky bar that is split into three sections (in one large room). The bar area is directly in back with some high top tables, the metal bar, that looks and feels like slate, goes along the entire back. With the tap handles covering the back wall as well. A sectioned off chalk board that lists all the beers, and the tap handles are all pieces of steal or other objects. Like a can of Cult 45 or Billies Beer. The cask engine handles are custom made as well. A slightly larger dinning area is in front with some custom made low top wood tables and booths. The third area off to the left with some more tables, two dart boards and a TV. A really unique feel, and comfortable. Though when it fills up, it is loud.

The service is incredibly knowledgeable and well trained. Though with the massive amount of people coming to the soft an public opening it can get slow. I can't really hold that against them though.

The food is interesting. Pub grub like burgers and wings. Though other stuff like ox tail, chicken and waffles, lamb ribs. It is certainly good, I just have not been wowed by the food yet.

On to the beer! At first I thought they had only 60 taps, but it is well over that number that always rotates as well. No crap on tap either. Tons of locals that range from Karback, Live Oak, to Jester King. To stuff like the Lagunitas, and even some of the Dogfather lineup. The regular tap wall is impressive enough, but for me the real treat is the cask selection. They will have 5 casks at all time, and that is probably the most ambitious cask programs in the country. Cask for the opening: Dry Hopped Hopsicle, Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet 1.5, Avery Czar, Saint Arnold Whiskey Barrel Stout, Jester King Das Wunderkind. Did I mention they do growler fills, and you can even buy kegs to go.

The quality can't be beat, just like at Anvil, the attention to detail is amazing. Two coolers for the kegs. One for the lagers at a certain temperature, one for the ales at another temperature. Every keg has its own regulator, and the lines are always clean. I have rarely, if ever seen attention to detail like this at a bar.

Just an excellent place to grab a beer. The shear number of beers is not what is most impressive, but the knowledge, drive to being a place just for beer, and the attention to detail is what separates this from the others. The best beer bar in Houston bar none. If not one of the better beer bars anywhere. I will be here a lot.

More User Reviews:
Photo of rwf08
5/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Love this place. Go often enough to where the bartenders know me. Special events for Mud Turtles are always good. They'll do beer dinners with Underbelly also. Those are amazing as well.

Photo of Kuges
4.84/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of marieli
4.91/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

You can go quietly try a brew or two, you can enjoy with a friend or group, you can take your family to brunch. The selection of beer on tap is very impressive. Not always perfect, but generally there's something for everyone and something new to try if that's what you're looking for. Not sure what a 5 for selection even is. But what makes this a place that stands above others, at least in Houston, is the awesome menu that is accessible to foodies and those more traditional, and the quality of the food itself. Even if the beer selection wasn't as good, this would still be a viable place to eat. If you're into food, I would suggest many other great restaurants before this, including Underbelly right next door, but you have to make time for a stop in The Hay Merchant.

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.34/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of BoljaBoy52
5/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place is phenomenal. I came in with a group of 9 on a busy Saturday night, and the manager came right to us and didn't stop helping us until our group was all sitting together. The beer selection seemed endless, and the food was absolutely amazing and cooked perfectly. I wish i didn't live 2 hours away, because I cant wait to go back.

Photo of Jvrdz24
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Pro_Magnon
4.95/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

GROWLER FILLS!! HUGE SELECTION OF DRAFT BEER!! PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY WINGS!! Also, very attentive service. Never had to look around wondering where my server was. Plenty of tv's for games. Nice-ass spot.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.66/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Scobu
4.96/5  rDev +6%

Photo of GregJ
4.4/5  rDev -6%

Photo of MLDucky
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Great atmosphere, excellent selection and great specials tied to Houston pro sports teams and Houston area breweries. To me, it's great to see local support like this. When I'm in town I always stop by for a visit. Unique food selections as well.

Photo of Can_has_beer
4/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of BlackNotesIII
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Dogleg
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of srletend
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Great selection of American crafts (i.e., Jolly Pumpkin on cask). Good food and atmosphere.

Photo of caffeineTX
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

This is around the corner from me and it is a great bar. It loses points from me because it gets too loud inside for me and the porch is very small and often crowded unless you come in for lunch or something.

The wall has rotating taps of a wide variety of beers ranging from easy drinking session beers to polarizing sours, smoked beers, and IPAs so there is stuff that will appeal to the casual drinker and the craft beer snob/enthusiast.

Photo of halo3one
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of cfrobrew
4.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Jon4than
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Smanke
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.71/5  rDev +0.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

My favorite bar in Houston and one of my favorite all time bars anywhere. My biggest problem is trying to decide what to get. There are always an incredible amount of drafts to choose from and always many cask selections which is one of the biggest selling points for me. They usual have some vintages on tap at very reasonable prices. My last visit I had a 2011 Stone RIS at the same price of a fresh Stone RIS and so I could try it aged with no effort on my part. The only food I have had is whats on the late-night happy hour such as the pig ears and they were quite delicious. Excellent and attentive staff even when the place is packed.

Photo of Links41
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of Fbonno
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%

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The Hay Merchant in Houston, TX
100 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.