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.
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 don’t waste your time on them if you’re 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, DIPA’s etc.
No crap on tap, solid choices, excellent venue.
(VIsited 02/2013): Hay Merchant is located on Westheimer Rd off Montrose. Actually didn’t visit on my previous visit to Houston because I couldn’t see the place even though it was right there. Parking is available in the surrounding streets.
The interior is rustic with a lot of wood and brick walls. The doorway opens to the host stand and table/booth seating, with the bar in the rear. Cards on the wall behind the bar list the beers available.
As for the beer there around around 75 taps with Texas breweries like Deep Ellum, Real Ale, (512) St. Arnold and Live Oak. Other domestic craft breweries like Oskar Blues, Victory and Alaskan. Many bottles available too.
Service at Hay Merchant was good on our visit. The server was familiar with the beer and made good recommendations.
Food at Hay Merchant is good and includes some eclectic appetizers like sweet & spicy pig ears.
Overall this is a great spot to visit in Houston. Recommended.
theisti (848) Kansas | December 17, 2015| Updated February 22, 2016
Visited after dinner on a Tuesday. Easy to find along the busy Westheimer strip. Parking in lots around the restaurant, as well as in the surrounding neighborhood. Cool old brick exterior with a wrap around deck. The interior has several levels with table seating on each. The bar is large, and there is a fair amount of standing around space. There are many small design details which really make this a beautiful place. In particular, I loved the unique tap handles designed from antiques and found materials. I sat outside, which was a nice place to chill out. The draft selection is extraordinary - the web site cleanly lays out what is available and was current when I visited. Many interesting and harder to find options from local, national and international craft brewers. The food looked great as well. Service was perfect both at the bar and outside. The best beer place I have been to in Houston.
94 = ★★★★½ (World class)
I only use the total score, not the component parts.
I visited The Hay Merchant on a busy Saturday, but still managed to get a seat at the bar. It is a pretty large, modern split - level place with a good deal of space. Looks like they spent a decent amount of money on the set-up. As others have mentioned they have a very large selection of taps (80) which covers plenty of Texan breweries, quality US beers and also some International stuff. The range of styles is pretty diverse. On my visit the selection was surprisingly similar to those on at Flying Saucer in downtown, so actually not as much new to me as expected, although I still had some pretty tasty stuff. Food was also delicious - I opted for the Korean chicken (maybe you should to). The Hay merchant should definitely beer on your must - visit list if you visit Houston.
ben4321 (465) 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. I’ll 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.
I see lot of people complaining over the service level, and I can sort of understand it, but I don’t see any reason to complain much about it when I visited. No one greeted me velcome when I arrived, so they could’ve had a visible seat yourself sign, but I quickly found a server who told me to get seated wherever I’d like, and got the menu within a minute. Saw almost no smiles among the staff, seemed like everyone was there just because they needed the money. On the other hand, I’ve seen that too many places, so nothing special. The food I got was decent, the beers I chose were nice, and the selection is broad and mostly interesting. Definitely hope I get the chance to visit this place more times during my stay in Houston.