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Former Hay Merchant Manager Will Open A ‘Cool Bar’ Outside The Loop

He’ll be joined by former Underbelly sous chef Madeline Cabezut

This space will soon become The Branch
The Branch/Facebook
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

It’s a common complaint that much of Houston’s dining scene — and the conversation surrounding it — mostly concentrates on restaurants that exist inside the Loop. Now, a former Hay Merchant manager hopes to change all that by bringing a “cool bar” to Spring Branch.

CultureMap reports that Kyle Pierson, bar manager at The Hay Merchant, is working on a new beer bar called The Branch, set to open in Spring Branch next year in the former Otilla’s space. Originally, the plan was for Pierson to open a “Belgian soccer bar” in the EaDo neighborhood, but the move to Spring Branch came after Pierson recognized a need for a “cool bar” on the arguably “uncool side of 610.”

In addition to Pierson’s carefully-cultivated selection of craft beers, former Underbelly sous chef Madeline Cabezut will serve a menu of “snacky, shareable” Tex-Mex inspired bar fare, like a fajita-spiced cheesesteak topped with queso blanco and served on a torta bun.

Construction will soon begin on The Branch, with a projected opening date of March 2017.