Our weekly feature “My Top 5” spotlights enterprising Houstonians who are taking an active role in shaping the character and culture of our city, inviting them to share their own favorites, tips and things to do inside Houston. This week we hear from Kevin Floyd, co-founder and manager of Hay Merchant, who reveals his own top spots inside the Loop.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Kevin Floyd
- The Menil Collection – It’s right in the middle of everything, but completely tucked away and quiet. While it’s internationally renowned, it has the feeling of being hidden and undiscovered. My wife loves Magritte, and there is a great exhibit right now. I find the antiquities exhibit the most fascinating — the stone statues and works of archeological interests that are thousands of years old, and they are literally hanging on the wall right in front of me. The space and architecture of the building is amazing, and the green space around the museum is relaxing and calming. Before I got so busy, I took many naps at Menil Park. Not so much anymore.
- Bike trails along Memorial and Allen Parkway – There is a lot of cycling that goes on in Houston, but unless you are incredibly comfortable and competent on a bike, braving Houston’s surface streets can be daunting at best. The city is working to make Houston more bike-friendly, and they are adding new trails in existing green spaces that provide cyclists an alternative route to get from one place to another. The trails are all fairly new, well-maintained, wide and fairly level. My favorite route starts at UH Downtown, and you can go all the way to Shepherd on the Memorial side, loop at Shepherd and come back on the Allen Parkway side to Sabine. I think the whole loop is about six miles, so if you do it a few times, that’s a good workout. If you’re into mountain biking, there are great trails at Memorial Park — just across from the jogging loop. Novice riders should probably avoid these trails on weekends — they get really busy. Terry Hershey Park has a combination of trails that offer less traffic during the week and some cool, swift trails.
- Saint Arnold’s Brewery – The one that started it all. The tours on Saturdays are so much fun — it’s just as social as it is educational. Bring a lawn chair. Hanging out with all the Houstonians who love beer on Saturdays is one of my favorite things to do.
- Brothers Tacos – This is a really small taco shack that generally has a line… but it goes pretty fast. I always get a taco that has chorizo, and then I go from there.
- Joystix – At the corner of Franklin and 59, near the George R. Brown Convention Center, there’s an old-school arcade. If you ever have an interest in buying a pinball machine or old-school video game, you can do that here, too. On the first and last Friday night of the month from 9pm to 2am, they’re open for public game play for a $15 cover charge. There is a bar, but because the hours are so varied, not that many people know about it. All the machines are well-maintained, and there are a lot of cool games.
About Kevin Floyd
In the short time since native Houstonian and local beer nerd Kevin Floyd opened The Hay Merchant, the highly-successful Montrose venture has raked in national accolades and consumer kudos for its craft beer program. The bar, which was named one of the top 100 beer bars in the country by Draft magazine, has quickly established itself as the go-to destination for beer aficionados, thanks to its 80 expertly-selected beers on draft. Kevin and business partner Bobby Heugel opened their first venture, Anvil Bar & Refuge, in 2009, which was also recognized nationally for its beer selections, in addition to its renowned cocktail program. In addition to an extensive knowledge of brew, Kevin also brings operations expertise to the table, having worked previously as a manager of Logan’s Roadhouse, opening 25 restaurants throughout the Midwest. Kevin manages the operations of both Hay Merchant and sister restaurant Underbelly.