The Hay Merchant

BA SCORE
100
world-class

109 Ratings
The Hay MerchantThe Hay Merchant
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1100 Westheimer Rd
Houston, Texas, 77006-2727
United States

(713) 528-9805 | map
haymerchant.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by champ103 on 02-16-2012

PLACE STATS
Score:
100
Ratings:
109
Reviews:
28
Avg:
4.62
pDev:
4.11%
 
 
Taps:
76
Bottles/Cans:
25
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 109 |  Reviews: 28
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.51/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

The Hay Merchant is a place every beer lover should pilgrim to at least once in a lifetime. The quality of beer here is beyond belief!

Cool joint, unassuming from the outside but sprawling inside. Plenty of tables and a long funky-shaped bar. Nice decor, lots of hipster wood. They have a food menu, but me thinks it is better to go next door to Underbelly and then have some beers at the Merchant.

Damn busy on a Friday night, late August. Great patio to enjoy the sunset lights and some beautiful faces. We got great service at the patio from a knowledgeable server, even though the place was seriously crowded.

It is all about the beer! 76 taps, 5 casks, beer heaven. Old Stock, Stone Ruination, Karbach Cherries of Fire, Troubadour Imp Stout bourbon-barrel aged (in house, Buffalo Trace!), Brewdog Isle of Arran. Their menu is divided by styles, including one called "Not for the faint of heart".

I would literally move here if I lived in Houston.

 967 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.07/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Photo of kylehay2004
4.66/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Dicers
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of orangesol
4.48/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of greenspointexas
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Jason
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Bung
4.25/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

The best in Houston or Dallas that I visited. Still not quite up to the rating nationally, for Texas, sure.

108 characters

Photo of halo3one
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of champ103
4.6/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

 3,036 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4.64/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of markgugs
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of Todd
4.49/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.34/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Dogleg
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of LittleDon
4.69/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Escape the Houston heat and have a beer or two, or three, or more. Cool inviting atmosphere and plenty of fine beers from which to choose.

Thursday afternoon and I just happened to be in the Montrose area of Houston. It's late July and it's Houston hot, upper 90s and plenty of humidity. Walk into the Hay Merchant and I've been transported into a different world. Dimly light, cool, lots of concrete, iron, and wood. The front windows facing Westheimer are large and let in enough light to avoid giving the place a cave like atmosphere. Plenty of beer to consider. Four hand pumps and about 12 to 15 Texas brews. The pours are generous and the bartender knowledgeable and quick with a healthy sample when asked. Wound up with a pint of Karbach Hopadillo (3/pint happy hour) and an 8 oz. snifter of Real Ale Kraken (8/not on happy hour list). Alas, it's back into the Houston sun for the 45 minute drive in traffic back to the hotel. Looking forward to my next opportunity.

Liked the best: Cool atmosphere. Lots of top notch beer. Parking in back. Happy hour prices are great.

Liked the least: Close-ish to downtown so it's a hassle to get there and back if you're coming from outside the loop. Small, I'm curious how crowded it gets Wednesday night on.

Would I return: I'd make a special effort to do so.

 1,310 characters

Photo of cfrobrew
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of BdM
4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Daniellobo
4.48/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Sabtos
4/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I somehow missed rating this after my vacation last month.

This place is putting a lot of effort into building and maintaining a very large beer list. It reminds me of Bier Markt in Cleveland, with a very large amount of taps devoted to European, especially Belgian, beers. They just have an absolutely massive tap list and a beautiful wall of taps to make any beer lover excited. If you've been in the game a while, and you're also from Texas, you might not find a whole lot of new or cutting edge hyped beers on tap, but there is plenty to love regardless.

Food is the soon to be pretty typical, quirky, craft brewpub fare, aka kicked up bar food with a twist.

Atmosphere is sort of a mix between modern hipster + beer geek/gamer basement with some pinball machines and a cheesily large projection screen + rustic farmhouse. It's a little bit confusing but a lot of the woody/bricky farmhouse feel is where it wins for me. The place can get quite packed and you're better off walking up to the bar and getting the stellar bartender service than waiting for an overworked server.

 1,083 characters

Photo of Kiniey01
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%

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The Hay Merchant in Houston, TX
4.62 out of 5 based on 109 ratings.
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