By 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, craft beer bar Hay Merchant was packed on its first day of official public opening — even with a hard rain outside.
Respected beer blogger Ronnie Crocker spoke closely with founder Kevin Floyd in one corner; eat-before-you-die chef Chris Shepherd (of the upcoming neighboring Underbelly) surveyed the scene from another, while the beer buyer at H-E-B Bunker Hill recommended brews to noobs.
Everywhere you looked, beer nerds abounded.
Water vases at Hay Merchant are hilariously made from repurposed Bud Light bottles.
If you scored a table, you quickly realized that the publicized pouring of Bud Light 40-ounces onto the newly installed patio a few days ago wasn't just for show; water vases at Hay Merchant are hilariously made from repurposed Bud Light bottles.
More than at Floyd and Bobby Heugel's Anvil, though, Hay Merchant welcomes a sports-loving, mainstream crowd. Double dart boards line the same wall as a flat-screen TV, and the space seems to beckon a better sort of game-watching.
The beer list is divided into easily navigable types, from Social & Refreshing to Sweet & Sticky (you thinking what I'm thinking?) with the most knowledgeable staff imaginable. All of it recommends pursuing a spot as a "Mud Turtle," an incentive program whose top prize necessitates beating Floyd in a taste test but gets you a free trip to Belgium.
In short, this crowd isn't going anywhere. And why would they want to?