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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

287 Ratings
Ratings: 287
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 9.61%
Active Beers: 45
Beer Ratings: 265
Beer Avg: 3.82
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:
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.

(Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008)
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Ratings: 287 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DukeKensington
DukeKensington

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev -4.4%

The selection at this place is pretty fantastic, but on the whole I think it's just a bit too small for my liking. It's not a problem if you can hit it up earlier in the day, or avoid weekends entirely, but that's a little tricky. So on most of the occasions I've visited, it's been at capacity, and it's been very loud. I prefer a slightly quieter atmosphere for my drinking.

Still, I have to give them adequate respect for their incredible selection and service. Even when crowded, the waiters/waitresses got around to our table fast, and got us our beer quickly as well. And the beer menu was like a holy text in my eyes. Always great to see that many great options available to me (even if many were a bit too rich for my blood). I've had some great beers everytime I've been there.

I've only ever had some fries here so I can't really speak to the quality of the food.

07-04-2010 03:20:55 | More by DukeKensington
Photo of Avagadro
Avagadro

New Jersey

4.68/5  rDev +2.2%

A: HopCat exemplifies the current gentrification of downtown GR, boasting turn-of-the-century architecture that has been renovated to contemporary style. Bar is as beautiful as it is large. The small batch system at the end of the bar is the icing on the cake, letting you know that this place is 100% about beer.

Q: the design of the bar screams quality. The fact that they pair each offering with an appropriate glass does the same. Quality is definitely one of HopCat's main objectives.

S: servers are quick to spot an empty glass, and have an admirable knowledge of craft beer. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but the staff is constantly sampling what is on tap to ensure their knowledge of the product.

S: simply listing a number doesn't do them justice. Yes, they have a long beer list, but not a single tap is wasted. redundancies are limited to ensure that as many styles are offered as possible. They also try to offer as many local brews as possible. It is obvious that they are proud to be a part of Michigan's beer scene. On a side note, they also have one of the best whiskey selections I have come across.

F: the food is good, using fresh ingredients and quality craftsmanship. Most of what is offered is pub food, albeit above average pub food.

P: this is a finicky area, depending on how picky you are. Their specials are outstanding, if you are willing to accept their special beer. Their prices on most brews are within the average range, though the belgian offerings are a touch high for draft. This is compensated by the fact that most other places only have these beers in the bottle, and are therefore far more expensive. Overall, I feel that I am getting my money's worth here.

06-07-2010 20:41:36 | More by Avagadro
Photo of rvera
rvera

Illinois

5/5  rDev +9.2%

My best friend and I did a beer tour that lasted 4 days, starting in Goose Island-Chicago, and continuing to Dark Horse-Marshall, MI; Bells-Kalamazoo, MI; New Holland-Holland, MI; Founders-Grand Rapids, MI; Hopcat-Grand Rapids, MI and ending in Michigan Brewering Company-Lansing, MI.

Needless to say it was a great trip; but there is no doubt in my mind that the biggest surprise of the tour was Hopcat. We knew it had a great beer list (3rd longest in the world), what we didn't know is that we were going to be treated like kings! Brian, the manager, gave us a private tour of the place and really took the time to talk to us about the bar and about beer in general. John, the bartender, could not had been more helpful and attentive. Both Brian and John treated us like old friends and that along was worth the trip. We enjoyed excellent beer among exellent people. The place is beautiful and the food was great. It really was a great visit and we are already planning another one very soon.

If you are in Grand Rapids, near Grand Rapids, or in the US at all, you MUST stop by Hopcat! My review for this place is A+++!!!

05-24-2010 23:59:12 | More by rvera
Photo of liquidcraft
liquidcraft

Michigan

4.33/5  rDev -5.5%

I currently live a 5 minute walk from Hopcat, stop in at least once or twice a month to see whats on the beer list. I really dig the food, the quesadillas and buffalo rolls are weak but just about everything else is great. If you're into comfort food the Killer mac (with chicken, jalepeno and tomato) is awesome and they serve the only sloppy joe I'd pay for. It's not cheap, but its on par with the prices of most downtown bars and better quality.

The beer list offers a great variety, the tap list represents a large selection of both breweries and styles and is only as expensive as any other bar I've been to. The bottle list is marked up and in general I avoid it, but its fun to look at.

The atmosphere is relaxed, staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Has the potential to get really busy before and after events at Van Andel Arena and no reservations just as a heads up. I like the way they do things, definitely worth checking out if you haven't been.

05-23-2010 22:27:03 | More by liquidcraft
Photo of mgbickel
mgbickel

Pennsylvania

4.66/5  rDev +1.7%

If you are anywhere near the Grand Rapids area, this is a must stop. Pretty much around the corner from Founders makes it a great piggyback trip.

Hopcat is located inside an old, restored building in the heart of GR. You enter into a skinny room that houses lots of tables and a long bar down the left side. Classic pub decor fills the room. The rear of the building is dedicated to brewing where the equipment can be seen behind glass.

They have a wonderful draft selection which can be found on daily (?) updated menus. They also have a great bottle selection for dine in or take out. I think they have almost everything MI gets...with the locals highlighting the lineup.

The staff seemed to be knowledgeable...I watched many pours and everything seemed to go into correct glassware. My only complaint is that they would not give out a sample (you could PURCHASE a sample). Said it is against MI law...hmmmm

I went in here with high expectations and they were met. Don't miss an opportunity to experience this place!

05-19-2010 16:32:58 | More by mgbickel
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.53/5  rDev -1.1%

Stopped in during my Indiana trip.

Real cool location. Nice bar with tons of tables. The building itself is nice with very nice restrooms. We went after an assortment of appetizers for a snack and all were tasty. Above your normal bar fare for sure.

The online beer list was a bit outdated but the waitress was great. She knew exactly what had been killed and what new offerings were on tap. I ordered a ton of beers and a million more 2 ounce samples (one dollar each). I love an educated waitstaff and our waitress was really on top of things.

The draft list was real nice. They had it broken down by category and the selection was nice with offering from all parts of the US and beyond. The bottle list was nice as well. I went after several of the B. Nektar Meads which I had never heard of before.

Overall a real nice spot. Falls a bit short of Founder's which I thought was an absolute gem. That being said if I am ever within a hundred miles of Grand Rapids I will stop by the hopcat again, and you should as well.

04-11-2010 20:18:58 | More by tpd975
Photo of malty
malty

Michigan

4.83/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

04-06-2010 02:33:48 | More by malty
Photo of libbekat
libbekat

North Carolina

4.83/5  rDev +5.5%

The husband and I had a great night at Hopcat. We were in town for the Founders KBS release the following day. If you are in western Michigan NOT going to Hopcat is cardinal beer sin.
We were lucky to get a booth in the back of the restaurant, better for people watching.
We started with "nachos" that instead of corn chips had fried potato chips. Very tasty. And the "crack fries". This was based on a recommendation from the hotel we stayed at. The fries were tasty but I really liked the nachos.
I can not say enough about the beer list. Pace yourself!!! I was so excited about the beers I did over indulge. I drank a sample of all the IPAs on draft. I don't know what I was thinking. I was completely overwhelmed by the selection available. In NC we get a very limited selection so perusing this menu was a treat.
Back to the food....I had a great sandwich and had a hard time deciding on which one because they all sounded interesting. But my husbands entree was the best thing I have had in awhile. Let me state for the record, I don't like junk food and I am not a big meat eater. My husband got the Mac and Cheese. Trevor, our waiter who was the best waiter we have encountered in awhile, recommended trying it with sloppy Joe's on top. It has been 3 days and I am still thinking about it. OMG!!! this was the best stuff! Creamy with savory meat and some crunch from breadcrumbs perhaps? I helped my husband finish off his entree, I couldn't stop eating the stuff.
We were treated to a tour by Tim, I thought when he opened the doors to show us the beer they store you could angels sing. Then again I had a few IPAs by this time. We had a very memorable evening thanks to Tim and Trevor's excellent service and recommendations.
I am looking forward to returning to MI next year, pacing myself on the beer at Hopcat and eating my own dish of mac and cheese.

03-16-2010 02:24:10 | More by libbekat
Photo of WeedKing4
WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev -6.1%

This place is much bigger on the inside then it looks from the street. Pretty good atmoshpere too. The selection is amazing. Only had time for a couple drinks, but the tap list was fantastic, and the bottle list was ridiculous. They look a little on the pricey side though. They have all the michigan breweries covered, and tons of selections from north american and across the ocean. I ended up going with a pint of Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter and Dark Horses's Double Crooked Tree. Would have loved to try more beer had time allowed it. Every town should have a bar like this. I really hate Canada.

03-14-2010 03:21:39 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of Molly
Molly

Michigan

4.95/5  rDev +8.1%

Made the trip across the state to hit the Michigan Winter Beer Fest, needed a place to go for some food and beer. Stopped into Hopcat by suggestion from a friend.

Walked in on Friday to a mess. Place was swamped, there was no host type anywhere, and little direction as to how to get a table. I was lucky enough to poach some stools at the end of the bar. WTF, 49 taps?

Despite the fact the bar was three deep, we were greeted immediately presented with a large menu of the taps, happy to see that most of them were Michigan brews from all over the state. Equally impressive was the bottle list.

Service - impeccable. The bartenders were on top of getting us another pint every time, but not intrusive. Knowledgeable, recommended some great beers we've never had. They all seemed like they truly were enjoying what they were doing, which was a large part of the atmosphere.

Food - very good. We had the "crack fries" with some soft cheese dip. Extra heavily seasoned, plus a touch of something sweet, a great match for the big beers we were having at the time. Followed up with Mac and Cheese that we added Chorizo and Jalapenos to. Yum.

We only had 1 house brew, and it went over well, but with so many really good beers to choose from...

Being Beerfest weekend, the place was full of beer nerds and brewers, which means the atmosphere was great. Jukebox was marked out of order, but we heard a couple of killer songs anyways.

Actually, we liked it so much there we headed back the very next day and did it all over again. No regrets, the experience was just as good.

The owners of this place should be proud.

03-01-2010 01:32:38 | More by Molly
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.