1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat

Beer Stats:
Active Beers: 43
Beer Ratings: 259
Beer Avg: 3.81

Taps: 48 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
BA SCORE
100
world-class

272 Ratings
Ratings: 272
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 9.61%
$$ - reasonable
[ 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)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 272 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Frosty80
Frosty80

Michigan

4/5  rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$

For living only a couple of blocks away from this place i should have a chair with my name on it. this is a beer lovers oasis. steve has some terrific beers come through there that you wont find anywhere else. dont bother showing up and expect a cosmo. this is for the beer geek. dont worry though - they still have some monday-night football favorites too. the food is great. for a very reasonable price you can enjoy your sipping with an order of the best fries on the planet - the infamous "crack fries." they have a separate second-level loft dedicated to those who need to compliment their starchy courses with some tobacco gravy. even this area is worth lounging in. its like pulling a couch out on the porch and drinking under the clearest of starry nights. the mens bathroom is nothing like youve ever seen. the ultimate "mens room." this place will be around for a long time. ill make sure of it.

now that ive given the praise, let me give the downside. whats with the staff? they need to get over themselves and focus on service. at times (most of the time) the service, particularly the bartenders, sucks. try acting like its an honor to work there and MOVE YOUR ASS!

01-09-2009 18:51:29 | More by Frosty80
Photo of rixport
rixport

New Hampshire

3.45/5  rDev -24.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | $$$

Went in with some friends from Grand Rapids while I was home on vacation. I was very interested in going to the number 3 rated beer bar as I'm a regular customer at the number 1 rated. The selection of beer was very good, but nothing really unusual. A lot of local and regional micros on tap. After fairly good service from our bartender for the first round, we all ordered a 2nd round. My friend Rick and I both got a Weissbier. Mine smelled like a swimming pool, Ricks smelled like a Weissbier. After waiting for our bartender to quit chatting it up with his friends, I finally gave up. By that time, we decided to go over to Founders which we should have done in the first place. My numbers are going to indicate a better score than I would give this pub, but I feel my responses are accurate.

01-05-2009 03:00:44 | More by rixport
Photo of ffejherb
ffejherb

Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$

HopCat is simply one of those beer bars that just makes me want to pack my bags and relocate to Grand Rapids, MI. This may quite possibly be THE absolute best beer bar I've ever visited. simply put... YES, it is that awesome!

I was really fortunate to visit HopCat on 11/29/08 with fellow BA's brewslut, Deuane and SierraGS. After literally getting shut out the night before (they were at capacity due to a band performance), I was skeptical that we would even get to vist. Thankfully, the Beer Gods were smiling on us, because we were able to stop in the next morning, and let me tell you... I didn't want to leave!

This place boasts an absolutely gorgeous bar with seating that just invites you to stay all day and drink from their 40+ taps. The decor in this place must have set the owner back quite a bit, but it was indeed worth the extra effort.

As for the beer, there was definitely no shortage in this department. I didn't even peruse their bottle selection, though I'm sure it was equally impressive. Their extensive tap selection featured plenty of MI local brews as well as West Coast and Belgian selections. Pricing was reasonable and service was top notch. Not only was the waitress sporting a BA T-shirt, she was also extremely knowledgeable (a self-professed beer geek) and easy on the eyes to boot!

Another big plus was the FREE juke box, which was a nice touch, albeit rather difficult to navigate and figure out. It was nice to see some Zappa in a juke box (the owner is a huge fan, apparently, as evidenced by the mural in the men's restroom). We got to meet the owner and also the manager of the place, and both were extremely friendly and jovial.

If there ever was a beer destination, this place is certainly it. I can't see myself ever visiting Grand Rapids, MI without stopping here... and hopefully for a longer time than I was permitted with this visit!

01-02-2009 17:54:02 | More by ffejherb
Photo of shivtim
shivtim

Georgia

4.94/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$

What a fantastic bar. Easily one of the best I've ever been to. It's a tall space that's semi-formal yet warm. Non smoking is a huge plus. Nice big wooden bar, with a custom-made triple arch backing on the wall. The nearly 50 taps are grouped along the bar, right in front of customers. The selection is heavy on Michigan microbrews, with some unique and rare-ish offerings. In fact, they pretty much convinced Dark Horse to brew some Thirsty Trout Baltic Porter, and then bought all of the kegs. Plenty of other American brews, and a good Belgian selection. Tons of bottles to choose from as well. Probably the best selection in Michigan, and a great place to go for out-of-staters to try stuff from Bells, Shorts, New Holland, Dark Horse, Arcadia, etc etc. Plus they have a weekly firkin! I had some of the crack fries (fantastic) but didn't eat a meal, so I wont rate the food.

The employees are incredible. The bartenders all really know what they're talking about, and plenty of beerversation takes place. The owners were chatting with people at the bar, discussing beer festivals and breweries, recommending beers and at one point even buying an Achel trappist bottle for us. The people make the place.

12-28-2008 17:19:00 | More by shivtim
Photo of BertSugar
BertSugar

Indiana

4.86/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$

Took a very cold several block walk over from Founders. Very convenient location and boy was it worth it. On a Thursday night it was absolutely packed with hipster doofusses trying to score to a semi-lame jazz combo. Be that as it may, sitting at the bar we were focused on one of the best tap and bottle lists I've seen. Won't bore with the details of exact beers; but suffice it to say we were certainly not bored by any sort of usual suspects. The bartender despite being swamped was extremely couteous and attentive. He was nonplussed at having to send someone down to the cellar to retreive a special request from the bottle list. The place was done up in Chistmas finery and looked great. Very classy and I will certainly go back during, say, a Saturday afternoon when it's not a meat market.

12-19-2008 18:56:33 | More by BertSugar
Photo of MexiDutchVedo
MexiDutchVedo

Michigan

4.88/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$

I'll admit that this is my personal hangout in my own hometown, so the review is bound to be favorable. However, that being said this is still the best bar I've ever been to in my entire adult life.

Let's make a list, shall we? Huge selection of top quality brews, amazing atmosphere, beautifully constructed bar area, live bands, personable and knowledgeable staff, non-smoking, and 5 minutes from my house! It's about as close to a drinking nirvana as one gets. Being a local it's nice to see that they embrace the Michigan brewing tradition with things like the beer dinners and Michigan Brews night on Mondays too.

I've been fortunate to be a regular at Hopcat since the day they opened last January and I couldn't be one at a better bar.

12-17-2008 23:33:41 | More by MexiDutchVedo
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$

Wow...I read about how good this place is and had a friend of a friend tell us how great this place is...after I told them to tell her to go here. Could it live up to the hype...well, in short, Hell Yeah!

What a place inside..certainly one of the classiest beer bars I have ever seen. Beautiful wooden accents with a gorgeous bar and table area.

With 48 taps, half devoted to MI micros, and 2 engines what more could you ask for...oh well, like a few hundred bottles too! If you come here and leave unsatisfied you are jaded and picky indeed! Plus they get brewery exclusives, like the Arcadia west coast rye IPA that was AWESOME! Like if that weren't enough they will soon have their very own in house microbrewery up and running with Hopcat created brews flowing too! Geesh!

Not only did we have solid service from Cheryl, who was sporting a BA T-shirt, we got to chat with Garry, a.k.a. The ring leader but also had a breif intro to Mark Sellers, the owner of this fine establishment.

Not much food consumed, we got real smart at breakfast at our Holiday Inn express, but we had to have the Crack Fries after being told how damn good they are. Well, they are good, especially with the cheese dipping sauce! I am looking forward to coming back here and enjoying a full meal.

The Hopcat...if you EVER find yourself in GR you would be making a HUGE mistake by not visiting this place. This is place is the bomb-diggity! Plus, Founders is but a stones throw away...one of the best one-two beer combos around!

Edit:One day after my review I get a personal beermail from Mark Sellers thanking me for my review and to make sure I get in touch with him the next time we make the trip to GR. Nice touch! Thank you Mark, keep up the good work!

12-06-2008 09:59:48 | More by Deuane
Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
SwiftyMcBeer

Indiana

4.28/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$

Great vibey place in downtown grand rapids. The selection of beers, especially on tap, is hard to top. Slightly Michigan-centric, but they have a little of anything. Besides a lot of the Michigan breweries are pumping out some great beers so there is nothing wrong with this hometown bias. The service was completely adequate, and the food was in no way insulting. The setting and most importantly, the world-class tap selection, is what would bring me back. If you are in the area, stop by, it will not disappoint.

12-02-2008 16:44:15 | More by SwiftyMcBeer
Photo of Magpie14
Magpie14

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$

great place and great location. The corner lot with large store front windows makes for a nice atmosphere. Also the patio in the summer is rather nice, a little small, but none-the-less a great asset. The interior is great exposed brick wall, deep rich colors, and great bar set-up. I like the gothic arched mirrors behind the bar!

Always plenty to drink and a variety beyond reckoning. Some of the staff seems to lack in the beer connoisseur department, but for the most part are knowledgeable. You can find anything from domestics, micro-brews, internationals and everything between.

Food is good and falls within the standard pub-like menu with a few nice variation/alterations. I had a hot warm pretzel with a spicy mustard sauce that was banging and complimented my Short's "huma lupa licious."

I believe this to be the best bar in downtown GR! If you are in the area you must go and kick your feet up

11-27-2008 01:31:01 | More by Magpie14
Photo of sarahspat
sarahspat

Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$

This is definitely one of my favorite places in GR.

Obviously, for selection (especially tap selection) HopCat cannot be beat. However, almost every time I go, at least one of the beers I try to order is no longer available. (Edit: I have noticed that they have been updating the menus more frequently lately, so I raised my ratings). But they always have some incredible, rare beers there. What else is there to say about the beer? The astounding selection has already been thoroughly documented by other reviewers... and really that's the most important thing.

The wait staff is okay; reasonably knowledgeable. One time I tried to order two different beers that they were out of, so they brought me a bunch of free samples to help me decide. Even though I'd already had all of the sample beers they brought me, it's always awesome to get free beer. However, I am told that they no longer give out free samples because they got in trouble for it.

They have an AMAZING happy hour deal which is basically a free meal. $5 for a burger, fries AND a beer!! insane! it only applies to Michigan brews that are normally $4 a pint... which doesn't bother me at all.

However, otherwise the food is good, a little on the pricey side. If you're used to fancy-pants restaurants, then sure. But on my budget, it has to be a special occasion to spend that much money in one evening. However, I recognize that HopCat is much classier than most bars, and you're paying for that as well as the almost ridiculously amazing selection of beers. I guess the beer prices are reasonable, but, because of my being spoiled by Founders, they still seem a little high to me.

HopCat is a fantastic bar, and for beer enthusiasts, its definitely worth a visit or two.

11-11-2008 19:37:15 | More by sarahspat
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 272 ratings.