Describing The Hay Merchant to anyone that has never been there will make it sound like a cheesy sports bar, but thankfully this Westheimer mainstay is anything but.
Does it have great food? Yes.
Does it have great beer? Yes.
Does it have sports on the big tv’s? Yes.
See what I mean?
The Hay Merchant definitely uses a proven concept, but because it’s a Chris Shepard concept (who just happens to own the notable Underbelly right next door) the food ideas are stretched to another level. The elevated ‘bar food’ offers things like House Made Wagyu Beef Jerkey, Citrus BBQ Pork Buns, a 44 Farms Chili Dog, and Blackbirds Cajun Meat Pies.
And what sports bar does brunch? The Hay Merchant does, and they have options like, French Toast Sticks; Fried Shrimp Taco, and Corned Beef Fried Rice.
The food menu used to change weekly, but as different things became more popular it seems like they were more inclined to just leave some things alone. On my most recent visit a welcomed addition was the 44 Farms Chili Dog. A jalapeno/cheese hot dog slathered in chili, cheese and jalapenos was a perfect accompaniment to my Saint Arnold Endeavor that was on cask. The extra bonus was that the chili dog was part of the late night menu, so the price dropped from $6 to only $3. I know!
As the featured picture for this post suggests, the beer menu is pretty expansive. No rhyme or reason (maybe there is) to how they’re listed on the wall, but the actual beer menu does a great job of breaking the selections down by style. Looking for something hoppy, malty, or cider-y, then let your eyes flow over the different options available at the time. Local beers are bold, and asterisked styles are discounted during happy hour. Smack dab in the middle of the menu are the cask selections. These hand pulled varieties give favorites an entirely new complexity, highly recommended.
The beers are served at proper temps for each style and poured into proper glassware to be enjoyed to its fullest. If you’re so inclined, take notes while you’re there so you can at least purchase some new glasses to enjoy them properly at home.
There are a ton of great beer places in town, but there is definitely a smaller list of places that offer great beer, food, and a nice place to watch your favorite Houston sports team. (Oh by the way, they have drink specials for when the local team wins).
The Hay Merchant
- 1100 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006, 713.528.9805
- Monday to Friday 3pm – 2am, Saturday to Sunday 11am – 2am