The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Beer Bars
3. The Hay Merchant
Photo by Joshua Justice
Now celebrating its first anniversary, The Hay Merchant has had very few noticeable hiccups in its infancy. Server knowledge here is stellar, as Hay Merchant easily boasts the most well-rounded and well-trained staff in the city thanks to owner Kevin Floyd's university-style training courses. As with most other bars on this list, nights and weekends can be hectic. But if any bar can handle the traffic, It's this one.
With a selection of bottles and taps that is second to none for breadth, the recent addition of a younger sister in Sugar Land seems to have elevated the original Saucer's game.The bar now boasts a dedicated cellaring area in their cooler for aging bottles and kegs and service is at it's best in recent memory. Despite being well over a decade old, Flying Saucer is still a force to be reckoned with. We had a hard time choosing between the two locations, but gave the nod to the original over its streamlined new sibling largely for nostalgia and central location.
The first Houston bar to focus solely on American craft beer has finally expanded the kitchen as well as the backyard. Further improvements -- proof that no one should leave a chalkboard menu in the hands of a bunch of bearded man-children -- include re-writing the once nearly unreadable beer menu in a legible format. Is it coincidence the first female bartender in Petrol Station's history started recently? Never afraid to shy away from its nerd roots, Petrol Station had sectioned its beers into Youngling, Padawan and Jedi the last time we visited. At just under 40 taps and no bottle selection to speak of, the bar doesn't have the selection of our second and third place winners, but the selection of rarities combined with untouchable special events makes Petrol Station our Best of Houston® winner for Best Beer Bar.
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