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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.81/5
Based on:
36 Beers
201 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 341
Reviews: 200
rAvg: 4.57
pDev: n/a
Taps: 48
Bottles: 150
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

25 Ionia SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503
United States
phone: (616) 451-4677

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @hopcatgr

Notes:
Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008

Rated #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine.

Hours 11:30 AM - 2 AM seven days a week.

In-house brewing system up and running as of January 2009.

Large outdoor patio open year-round.
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Ratings: 341 | Reviews: 200
Reviews by malty:
Photo of malty
4.83/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere is a very open and airy, but still warm & cozy. 20 ft. ceilings with cool old style beer prints staring down upon you from the ceiling. The same prints are found on the backs of various high-sitting stools around the tables throughout the bar - very nice touch of keeping the cool art flowing. Spectacular handmade custom bar that's as nice as I've ever seen - all real wood and very high class. The lighting is very natural during the day (big windows facing the street corner) and adequately (a bit dim) lit at night. Men's bathroom has cool retro rock & film icon prints on the walls: Garcia, Cash, Dylan, Waits, Newman, Pacino, Dirty Harry, etc. War time pin-up prints are fun too. Music is always unique and fresh on the jukebox. The sound system is very full and clear. Not too loud, but still very perceivable. Haven't been there when there's live music or DJ though.

Quality is top-notch. Never had a bad draft or bottle. Always fresh and served in appropriate glass. They even rinse every clean glass with a sprinkler gadget right before the fill it with your beer - just to make sure your glass is perfectly prepared to receive the beer of your liking. 48 taps of fantastic craft beer. Always changing, always fresh. They do have a few certain mainstays, but that's just because demand is so high for these, (ie: Short's Huma Lup IPA, etc.). Their one cask always seems to have something special. I've had so many great cask beers from it, I can't remember them all. There bottle selection is extensive and wide ranging. Many good Belgians, Germans, (Mmmm...Plank) and high gravity special releases. I love their $3 Michigan pint/goblet 2-4pm weekday specials. Just last week I had a (normally $7) chalice of Founder's Canadian Breakfast Stout for $3. Makes it hard to just pick one when you have to go back to work. Every once and a while they'll have a highly recognized person from the industry visit and showcase some special brews and events. Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery is coming later this month, I believe April 26th (Monday). I'll definitely be coming to this! Michael Plank even brewed a special beer to initiate their brewing system their first summer!

Service is the best. Jeremy and Ernie command the bar like super-cool malt & hop ninjas. Always eager to please your pallet and offer smart suggestions, leaving no beer without proper representation. it can get a little slower when the bar is fully packed, but that's what happens when the bar is packed two deep. To say they're friendly is without question. To say their knowledgeable is correct.

The food is amazing. Great twists on American standards. Soups, burgers/sandwiches, salads, unique appetizers and their infamous 'Crack Fries'. They also host the most amazing beer dinners (usually on Sundays at 6pm) I've had the pleasure of attending. Their commitment to world class craft beer and fresh, clever and tasty food is the best I've ever had under the same roof.

The overall value is reasonable when you take into account the total package of HopCat. They do have great daily specials to help your wallet. They don't cut corners, so remember this when you look at the prices. There are cheaper prices out there, but we're not comparing apples-to-apples when putting them next to 'pedestrian'- type bars either.

I was lucky enough to make it to the 'BA Grand Opening' on a Thursday night in early January '08. It was the night before their official Grand Opening. Everything was Half-Off. I thought I was in heaven. I've been here many, many times since and every visit is always as good as the last. They've made the blueprint, now I'm spoiled for life.

More User Reviews:
Photo of donnierickles
4.3/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Great happy hour deals on food and michigan beers. Their taps are pretty impressive. They always seem to have at least one beer on tap that i have never seen anywhere else.

Photo of beerdedrinken
5/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

The staff was awesome, very friendly and helpful for my brother-in-law who is not familiar with craft beer. Food was also on point.

Photo of KurtE
4.63/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

this was my kind of bar!!!

Photo of BryanA
3.59/5  rDev -21.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Lots of Options on tap, one of the best for Grand Rapids, food was decent, but service was pretty slow

Photo of Jeffrey84
3.6/5  rDev -21.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I Don't like the service. Servers/bartenders have an elitist attitude. It's like they think that if you don't work there you know nothing about beer.

Photo of beerfan39
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Great place. Incredibly welcoming and accommodating. Amazing selection.

Photo of bwood06
4.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Huge list of beers whether it be on tap or in bottles. Beer list includes beers from all over the world including Germany, Belgium, UK, Netherlands, Canada, and the US. Love the atmosphere in this bar. Lots of wood in this bar that gives it a very down to Earth feeling. The only thing that I can mark HopCat down on is that the bartenders poured absolutely no head on any of my 3 beers. For me, the head is essential for aroma release. Granted, the bartenders have to be speedy due to the number of patrons and developing a head takes time, but for bottled beer I would rather just pour it myself. Overall awesome place and I will definitely be back!

Photo of brockg
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Beer was amazing...but u havent lived till u try crack fries

Photo of simplejj81
5/5  rDev +9.4%

The brewery has a huge selection of beers (about 200 i was told), and when i was there they had 3 house brews. It also has delicious and reasonable priced food, I had almond crusted duck tenders for less than $8. The 2 bartenders i talked with provided great service and answered several questions!

Photo of ttaxtell
4.94/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This is a must stop in Grand Rapids. There is a reason why this place is rated one of the best beer bars in the U.S., it is a great experience. I make the trip from a few hours away to go there. My daughter goes to a nearby University and make any excuse I can to go see her so I can go to Hopcat. Every time I have been there the service and treatment was great, even during very busy times.

Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.01/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.25

We made a quick walk through the darkening evening of Grand Rapids, seeing the bright yellow sign loom before us like a grinning beacon to beery goodness. I love the black cat holding a beer logo for this place! We were arriving late and the kitchen was only doing a limited bar menu, but we were so hungry that we didn't want to go looking for something else. Besides, they had a huge beer menu! They don't really do samples, but our waitress was great and brought me a taste of each of the house beers. Those were mostly mediocre. The Jerk beer had an interesting array of tropical and spicy flavors, but I wouldn't drink much of it. The Blueberry Sour was quite disgusting (coming from a sour beer lover) with hot burning acid and enteric flavor. I appreciate the effort, but ended up ordering a cask Oak Aged Hatter from New Holland. It was only later that I noticed the huge bottle beer list on the back of the menu! They had pricey but very rare Belgian beers on there for up to $40! The bar food was decent, but not light! I had the tasty but deadly (to my heart) Crack Fries with cheese. I really liked the vibe in this place and the staff was great, but more as a beer bar than a brewpub.

We actually ended up here again a few days later and bought one of those expensive bottles. Had another good experience at that visit as well.

Photo of TheSamKuehn
4.76/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Long overdue review from one of the best beer bars in the country I've ever been too. Right up there with Churchkey in DC for anyone familiar with that establishment. My first visit was during KBS release 2013. It was such a great experience I remember it that well even to this day. First of all HopCat had one of the best draft beer lineups I've ever seen. Tons and tons of great MI breweries and not just the big boys. Lots of smaller MI breweries which was awesome to sample so many breweries in one place. The service was more than I could've reasonably expected. Emily was our server. My sister and I were there every night of our 4 night visit to GR and Emily was there each night to help us. She went above and beyond in explaining the different offerings with really great information about some of the beers. Very, very impressed and I will stop in every time I am in the area.

Photo of BoyDrinksWorld
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

HopCat is my favorite brewpub and they have fantastic food to match their impressive beer list. Crack fries are a must, but you cannot miss on this menu - I personally recommend the Sloppy Joe's. Best place to be to enjoy a worldwide variety of beer in Grand Rapids.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.68/5  rDev -19.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

The famous HopCat! This was our first beer stop in Grand Rapids. Located on a nice little street filled with bars and restaurants, two doors down from Grand Rapids Brewing.

We were there on a Friday afternoon at around 4pm and the place was busy but not crazy. HopCat is pretty big, with a long bar, booths right next to it and a lot of tables by the windows looking at Ionia Street, but it fills up quickly.

They had three house beers when the wife and I visited, including a nice Oil Rigger Imperial Stout, and a large draft menu divided in styles from lager to fruit-spice-smoke. Lots of local/Michigan beers, including Night Tripper, The Livery, Arbor, Short's, Vivant... and mainstays like Ommegang, Green Flash, Brooklyn. Some cool Belgians as well, such as Troubadour and Rodenbach.

I wasn't terribly impressed by the draft menu, though, considering how epic HopCat is supposed to be. Nothing super rare, barrel-aged or unique. And same with the bottle menu, which is pretty long but carries no surprises despite a vintage Old Guardian and Festina Peche here and there.

Service is alright but not great and the atmosphere is nice. A cool bar, for sure, but... one of the best in the nation? I beg to differ.

Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.64/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Came here on Mother's Day. It was very accommodating.

Our server was excellent and very good.

Beer selection was fantastic.

Food was a little salty for my taste, but nonetheless very well.

This place is worth every penny.

Great times at HopCat I can't wait to return!

Photo of Alextricity
4.38/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

--My review from Yelp.--

I hadn't known about HopCat until revving up BeerAdvocate soon after I turned 21 and learned that it was apparently one of the very best craft beer bars in the country. Logically, I had to stop by when I went on a mini-trip to Grand Rapids the day after Christmas. As it turned out, it was the first of many great after-Christmas presents.

We came in at about 12:45 on a Thursday -- the day after Christmas -- and were happy to see that there wasn't a wait. The area of HopCat itself is mostly quite narrow with a brewing area in the back. Incidentally, I didn't know they brewed their own beer until a week or two ago.

We all (my sister, dad, and I) all decided to start out with their house beers (which I took a picture of). From what I understand, they rotate a decent bit, but I was pretty shocked that they didn't have a single stout or porter on-tap, considering it's late December. Overall, their beer is pretty good, and better than I had expected, but it's certainly no Founders. For what it's worth, I do enjoy their brews more than their neighbor, Grand Rapids Brewing Company.

For lunch, I got the Spicy Pulled Pork sandwich just because I hadn't had pork for awhile, and read a few positive things about it... I'm sure a bit of beer on an empty stomach helped a bit, but it was truthfully one of the better pulled pork sandwiches I've had. It wasn't smothered in BBQ sauce so as to mask the pork, the choice of brioche for a bun was a nice choice, and there was a nice but not too spicy kick as well. I felt like the slice of Swiss was a bit unnecessary considering it got masked quite a lot by the pork and BBQ sauce, but it certainly didn't ruin it. A tasty, well-made sandwich. Their Crack Fries are also pretty outstanding -- think of them as Rally's/Checkers fries, with less grease, salt, and heartburn. They're pretty peppery and have a very nice flavor to them. I wouldn't quite label them as the "BEST FRIES EVER", but there's no doubting that they're damn outstanding.

My sister chose the mushroom black bean burrito wrap, which was a pretty hefty portion. She said it was good, and ate most of it. I didn't taste it, but it certainly smelled damn good. My dad got the porter braised beef -- he enjoyed it, and I didn't hate it, but we both definitely agreed that the pulled pork was much better.

I was sort of hesitant to give HopCat a 5/5 rating because it took about 45 minutes to get our food in a not-all-that-full restaurant, but it was a good time, for sure. The 2-5pm Happy Hour Michigan Beer special (all beers brewed in Michigan that are $8 and lower are $3) was a great deal as well. Some of the beer prices seem a tad bit high, though. For instance, twelve bucks for 10oz of Ten Fidy? It's a very good beer with a pretty large ABV, but that pricing is waaay off the mark.

As a whole, HopCat is a place I'd recommend to anybody visiting Grand Rapids.

Photo of redmount23
4.95/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

There is a reason why this is the best beer bar in America. Beer City USA is riding the backs of the glorious people that work at this amazing establishment. Every time my wife and I walk in those doors on Ionia in Grand Rapids we are met with open arms. This is the kind of treatment that everyone should get when walking into a bar or restaurant. We will be back for years to come.

Oh and their beer list is SPECTACULAR! And let the shout outs commence! The knowledge of their brewers (Bobby and Ernie) and their beer buyer (Trevor) as well as their Head Kitten (Allison) accompanies 48 beers on draft with one cask is the best around. We usually sample most of their beers over a two day period and start getting into a beautiful bottle list as well. The food is above average bar food. Can anyone say crack fries? The secret ingredient is love and sugar perhaps? If you are within 300 miles of this place and appreciate a well thought out beer menu and a uber personal staff this is the place to come.

I am already planning our next visit in March sometime. We missed this spot as soon as we left town.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.21/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Atmosphere: just a nice bar with cool decorations that are all about beer and pop culture.

Quality: i will have to amend this when i finally try hopcat beer, but their taplist alone is of the best quality as far as bars go

Service: good service while i was there. my waitress made it around enough so i always had beer but never too much

Selection: probably about 6 of their own plus a wonderful and varied taplist. I tried 5 different beers in one night and still missed a few. looks like they have great tap events too

Overall: one of the best multitaps with the best prices for what they have

Photo of kylelenk
2.83/5  rDev -38.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Residing in GR I am fortunate to be able to frequent HopCat quite often. Being a regular, I've come to realize there is much needed for the bar to live up to it's reputation.

Atmosphere is decent but is always overcrowded. You're giving a multitude of different seating arrangements which can be either booths, couches (upstairs), picnic tables, or traditional seating. The bar looks quite dusty but my recommendation is to always sit at the bar...no matter what...as the bartenders are the only experienced staff in the establishment.

The service is obviously the Achille's Heel as the waitstaff are undertrained and unbelievably slow. I've walked in at 12:30AM with almost nobody in the bar and it has taken more than 15 minutes for a waitstaff member to come over. Additionally, I've had waitstaff confuse nitro beers with firkins...not something to expect with being named the 3rd best beer bar in the world.

HopCat has an outstanding collection if you're from out of town but often seems to cycle through beers if you're familiar enough with the establishment. Their bottle selection is quite a gem as they don't distribute menus unless you request. I was able to find some Mikeller even though it has sense stopped being distributed in the GR area.

People may rave about the Crack Fries, which are amazing, but the burgers seem to be quite generic (Sysco). Stella's across the street has hand formed burgers that come stuffed at the same price point...which is embarrassing concerning both restaurants share the same ownership.

I will say that HopCat throws some awesome parties. Their Wood and Wild Ale Fest last year brought some true whales to tap. Additionally, they throw parties when breweries enter the distro market and offer a chance to find some rarer beers.

Value is reasonable. Their specials often carry unreasonable stipulations like the $6 burger and beer combo being limited (last time) to a New Holland Kolsch despite the fact it carried the same price point as some of their own pub beers.

All in all I compare HopCat to DisneyWorld...Fun to take people when they're from out of town but you can see right through all of it's shortcomings. If they can't fix the service, at least fix the website as the taplist is sometimes months out of date...something in this day in age should be always synced.

Photo of neckbracesub
4.28/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited during the cold days of early February, 2013.

I had read about the astounding reputation of this craft bar a few weeks before we were set to make our trip up to Grand Rapids. I knew we should probably make it a point to stop in, so we did late on a Friday night. Needless to say, we were waiting outside for a good while before we could even get inside. This place is incredibly, incredibly popular.

The atmosphere is just about perfect. High ceilings, bustling business, and about as much seating as they can cramp into such a constantly packed house are distributed throughout.

The service was about as prompt as it could possibly be for having such a high volume of patrons at one time.

The selection of all sorts of styles of craft beer is truly remarkable and reason enough to go here. I was pleasantly surprised to find Dogfish Head's 120 Minute IPA on the bottle list. I was quick to order one of those, no doubt.

It can be a bit pricey, but some of the rare finds on the menu more than make up for it.

Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

A large number of taps plus an outstanding bottle collection. Knowledgeable and efficient servers. Week day specials. More or less proper glassware is used. Very attractive interior is rather noisy despite the high ceilings. Beautiful wood bar houses 6 sets of taps. All of the food that I ordered or saw was nicely presented and appetizing, but didn't venture from standard pub fare. Tap list emphasizes Michigan brews. Beer menu is nicely organized by style.

Photo of Fluffheady
3.48/5  rDev -23.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 1.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25

The bar is BEAUTIFUL. The decor is off the charts. The beer selection is great. The staff and patrons ruin it.

Lots of douchebags. On both sides of the bar. On one particular visit (with a group of people that has a lot of industry experience) we asked for a taste of 2 beers. The girl behind the bar told us ’they are basically the same’. We still asked for the tastes anyway, and they were very, very different. This was after waiting more than 10 minutes for one of the 5 bartenders behind the bar to even acknowledge our presence. It was a moderately busy Friday evening ( I have been here in several times, so I’m not just basing this one visit). The bartenders had their backs to the customers, and they were gathered around a phone. When we finished our first round, we waited another 10 minutes with empty glasses before the bartenders turned around. The guy looked super annoyed that we asked for a beer. Same experience when ordering the second round.

I have 2 words for this place. Over it.

If I were the owner, I would ruffle some serious feathers. This staff sucks. If the bartenders could do their jobs, I could have given this place a near perfect rating.

Photo of coldriver
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

We visited the night of June 24th after an easy walk over from Founder's. The first thing I noticed about this place was the great Hopcat sign over the door of their "black cat holding a beer" logo - it's really fits the vibe of this place. The Interior has beautiful classy woodwork and the vibe is relaxed and "right". It's classy without being pretentious. Being from Texas and not having much experience with what is considered rare in Michigan I can't honestly say how unique their taplist is, but I can say that after giving my bartender my style preferences that his recommendations hit it perfectly. I did not have any food but it certainly looked good. Prices are reasonable.

Photo of Mxsluis
4.51/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4

We live an hour away, yet find time to get here about a dozen times a year. Grand Rapids is growing and so is its reputation as beer city. This place has a very good selection of beer on tap. The selection changes so never a need to be bored with the same brews if you like adventure and variety. At times the service can be less than stellar, but the beer almost always is served correctly. The crack fries are good and I really like the chicken tacos. Nice place in an old building with character. If in town for Art Prize, I strongly recommend you check it out.

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HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 341 ratings.