Hop Scholar Ale House owners expand, launch Sabbatical whiskey bar

Todd  Hayden (left) owns Hop Scholar Ale House, Rayford Animal Welfare Clinic and Sabbaticalu2014all located in the same shopping center.

Todd Hayden (left) owns Hop Scholar Ale House, Rayford Animal Welfare Clinic and Sabbaticalu2014all located in the same shopping center.


Despite having two businesses flood twice in the past two years, husband and wife Todd and Corey Hayden decided to open a third business in the same Rayford Road shopping center in October—a whiskey bar called Sabbatical.


“It was the worst time ever to open a bar after [Hurricane] Harvey because you’re just broke,” Todd Hayden said. “We had four feet of water at [Rayford Animal Welfare Clinic] and at Hop Scholar Ale House, but we thought, ‘If we don’t do it now, the space won’t be open for another three to five years.’”


Hayden said that while both businesses received one foot of water during the Memorial Day flood in 2016, it was nothing compared to the four feet of water that flooded both businesses in August 2017. The couple took over the space adjacent to Hop Scholar Ale House—which formerly housed a Subway location—shortly after it too, was flooded.


“I’m always concerned about flooding,” Hayden said. “Every time it rains I get worried. It sucks, especially for our employees because then they’re out of a job for awhile. But we want to be this community’s bar—that’s why we’re
not leaving.”


Hayden said it took about six months for him and his team to build Sabbatical—without any contractors.


“I got up at 3 a.m. every day for a couple of months to come to Sabbatical to work and then go be a veterinarian and then come back to help run Hop Scholar Ale House and then go to bed and do it again the next day,” Hayden said. “I don’t do anything part time; I do everything full time.”


SPEAKEASY SPIRITS


Located adjacent to Hop Scholar Ale House, which serves beer and wine, Sabbatical is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar that offers a variety of unique liquors including whiskey, rum, tequila and gin.


“Sabbatical is a whiskey bar, first and foremost,” he said. “It was designed for people to explore whiskey and become more educated consumers.”


In the spirit of educating consumers, each drink on Sabbatical’s menu, which will change seasonally, includes information about its age, creator and place of origin.


“I built Hop Scholar [Ale House] as a bar that I’d want to sit in and have a beer; I’ve built Sabbatical as a bar that I’d want to sit in and enjoy a cocktail,” Hayden said.


Hayden said while Sabbatical’s old fashioned is its No. 1 seller, the bartenders are always trying to come up with new creations. He said one of his favorites, the Glo-Po Chico, is Sabbatical’s take on the classic gin and tonic made with turmeric-infused gin, lime and mineral water and served in a Topo Chico bottle. 


The two concepts share a kitchen and are connected by a hallway, which Hayden said will transform into a gallery showcasing the work of local artists. The kitchen serves a variety of artisan hot dogs, loaded fries, sandwiches, salads and shareable appetizers for lunch and dinner. The kitchen also serves brunch on the weekends.


“I would describe this as a gastropub because the menu is fairly eclectic,” Hayden said.


Now that their third business venture is open, Hayden said his priorities are providing affordable, safe and enjoyable experiences for patrons.


“This is the No. 1 county for DUIs in Texas—I don’t want that,” he said. “This is about community and hanging out with friends and enjoying products, not getting drunk. There’s places for that, and it’s not my bar.”


As Hayden said he and his team are still working on happy hour specials for Sabbatical, he is most looking forward to the addition of an ice room, which will allow all cocktails at Sabbatical to feature perfectly cut ice cubes and spheres. He said the ice room should be completed by mid-2019.


“Serving cocktails is very different from slinging beers, but they both require knowledge,” he said. “You have to know what you’re selling because people come in and expect you to be an expert on your product—and our staff here does a great job at that.”


Sabbatical
610 Rayford Road, Ste. 642, Spring
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 4 p.m.-midnight, Thu.-Sat. 4 p.m.-2 a.m., closed Sunday

By Hannah Zedaker
Born and raised in Cypress, Texas, Hannah Zedaker graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and a minor in political science. She began as an intern with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 and was hired upon graduation as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in May 2016. In January 2019, she was promoted to serve as the editor of the Spring/Klein edition where she covers Spring ISD and Harris County Commissioners Court, in addition to business, development and transportation news.


MOST RECENT

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, which regulates groundwater usage in Montgomery County, is part of Groundwater Management Area 14. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
GMA 14 approves proposed desired future conditions; LSGCD objects to subsidence factor

On April 9, Groundwater Management Area 14 voted on its proposed long-term goal for the Gulf Coast Aquifer System.

Shenandoah City Council met to discuss the upcoming capital improvement plan April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shenandoah City Council discusses priorities of 2022 capital improvement plan

Among the top projects are the David Memorial Drive extension and wastewater treatment plant improvements.

Montgomery County continues cold case efforts including unsolved killings in The Woodlands area

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office launched a new regional initiative known as Cold Case Warm Up to solicit leads for unsolved county crimes.

Tomball ISD officials announced in a social media post April 14 the district is planning for a "mask optional" 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Tomball ISD plans for 'mask optional' 2021-22 school year

Tomball ISD officials announced in a social media post April 14 the district is planning for a "mask optional" 2021-22 school year.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gil Staley presented an annual report on major and mid-size employers in The Woodlands area at the Economic Outlook Conference on April 14. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wildcat PPE furloughs employees as federal contracts stall

Gil Staley, CEO The Woodlands EDP, said the jobs will return when federal contracts are resolved.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

U.S. Rep Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, spoke at the Economic Outlook Conference in The Woodlands on April 14. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady: 'This term, my 13th, will be the last'

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, announced he will retire after completing his current, 13th term in the U.S. Congress.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.