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Given the talent behind it—the Hay Merchant is run by Chris Shepherd of Underbelly—it’s no wonder this wood-and-metal pub succeeds so wildly. Just take a glance at the menu: sweet and spicy pig ears, wings doused in sauces like gochujang or caramelized fish sauce (a nod to Houston’s Korean and Vietnamese influences), and an in-house butchery turning out Akaushi beef for the Cease and Desist Burger. The beer program is just as serious, with 80 taps (75 drafts, 5 casks) of American craft brewers and international selections. There’s an emphasis on Texan brewers, including (512) and Lone Pint, and a fleet of firkins ready to nab breweries’ limited-release offerings. haymerchant.com