Visited on Tuesday 21/05/13 around 4.45 pm for a good few hours.
Modern and clean in appearance, medium to large split level single room, the Hay Merchant offers 80 taps. Good mix of stlyes and from across the US, perhaps 35% of beers on tap are Texan.
5 cask line in use on my visit, and of the ones I sampled the condition of the beer was good.
They also do their own barrel ageing but these offerings are of course not ratable so donít waste your time on them if youíre hear for the rates alone!
Service was great, despite being busy and samples were offered up when requested.
Food was excellent, Wingman and I both had steak at the bar.
The happy hour is awesome, 3 until 6.30pm where 30 of the 80 taps are available for just $3 a pint, spanning many styles including imperial stouts, DIPAís etc.
No crap on tap, solid choices, excellent venue.
This place has a drinking lodge type vibe to it. Lotís of wood tables and benches with wood paneling and wood supports as well as a lacquered wood bar ... lots of wood here. You can sit at a table to have a more restaurant experience, but sitting in the bar area requires you to place any orders with the bartenders, kind of a bummer, but even if you sit at the bar, it can be a bit of a struggle to get the bartendersí attentions to order another drink or food, even when they donít appear to busy or crowded. They do seem to know their beer and made some trustworthy recommendations, and as far as food, I highly recommend the BBQ pork buns - basically pork tacos, but served on a steamed bun instead of a tortilla.
GT (672) Oceanside, California | September 13, 2014
Type. . . . . . . . . . ..Gastropub + Bar Location. . . . . . . .Good Prices. . . . . . . . . ..Normal Tap Selection. . . .Extensive, ~60 Bottle Selection. .Unknown Samplers. . . . . . ...Unknown Full Pours. . . . . . .Yes Beer Level. . . . . ..High, Well Curated Food Level. . . . ...Excellent Staff. . . . . . . . . . ..Courteous, Slightly Cold Growlers. . . . . . ...Yes? Noise Level. . . . ..Loud Dťcor. . . . . . . . . ..Exposed Wood and Neon Good for Kids. . ..Sure Parking. . . . . . . ...Private Lot Cash Only. . . . . ..No Recommended. ..Yes Comments: Awesome beer focused bar with a variety of specialties from breweries like Prairie Artisanal. Great variety of Texas locals. Burgers and fries were awesome. Proper glassware appreciated. Looks like it becomes quite the fun sports bar on weekends. Found some beers from the west coast even that I was ISO for awhile. Lots of fun.
A purpose built pub with a nice patio to boot. Lots of hype and for good reason. Lots of really good beer and some that is quite rare and exciting. Cheap prices, especially during happy hour. Food is pub food, but done well. A great place, but get there early it gets busy quick.
ben4321 (449) Hoboken, New Jersey | December 5, 2013| Updated February 26, 2014
I was quite impressed by this place from a selection perspective. It was very crowded for a Tuesday night, and our service was only okay, but the tap list really makes up for all of that. By far the best selection I have seen in Houston, and the kind of selection that rivals the top beer bars in many cities. Iíll certainly be making a return trip or two to see what else shows up here. I also quite enjoyed my food. The Thai-style peanut ribs were excellent, and the pretzel and pigs ears were both tasty snacks.
Most knowledgeable staff youíll find anywhere. Incredible selection. Great happy hour food and drink prices. Comfortable surroundings.
My only complaints is how popular it is. Not enough parking in a crowded area. At peak times itís hard to move. Still worth it though
Smaller then I anticipated, but with a great selection of beer. Worthwile visiting. Food selectin is limited, but quite different, interesting. As I was driving only one beer. Service is OK, indeed music is loud. Interesting place actualy
This is definitely a must visit for beer nerds in the Houston area. Their selection is typically vast, and they are one of the few places that have a decent draft list of lower ABV but important beers (sours, non-blue moon wheats, etc.). They donít do as well on rare or one-off beers however, so it is unlikely that one would be greatly surprised by anything on the tap list if you are deep into craft beers. Their rotation is not very vigorous either outside of the standard seasonal rotations that take place, so unless you have a favorite beer it can get quite boring after a few trips. They share a kitchen with Underbelly, so the food is much better than average pub fare although the menu is small with a few entree sized plates and a few appetizers and is somewhat stale at this point (when is last time it changed?). During peak hours (as with pretty much any other popular bar), it can get very crowded with standing room only and the noise level is pretty high. They have a small outdoor patio that is pretty good outside of being right on Westheimer w/ traffic noise. The only game they have is darts, and the boards are not used very often and are often blocked by patrons standing/sitting in front of them. They have a pretty good happy hour where most mid-level beers at $3/pint; otherwise, you will be paying premium prices for premium beers. Parking, as with any other place in this area, can be a hassle as you will be looking for street parking deep into the neighborhood during peak times. They do have a small parking lot in the back, but typically full after 5PM.
Best beer selection Iíve found in Houston. Supports Texas breweries to a certain extent. Good, creative bar food. Attractive room. But the volume level can be insane, as in airport-runway insane. Iíve taken three people there on three separate trips and everyone complained about the post-Hay Merchant headache. Also, 1980s Genesis.