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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.82/5
Based on:
35 Beers
199 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 322
Reviews: 195
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
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)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 322 | Reviews: 195 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AylwinForbes
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Grand Rapids was a major stop on Dulcie and Aylwin's Second Big Beer Aventure. We sort of lucked into HopCat and we are so glad we did. This place deserves all the plaudits it receives. We ended up going there twice in one day, taking a break to visit Founders just around the corner. Where to start? The building is great architecturally with a giant bar, high ceilings and luxurious decor of an olde worlde feel. The staff is fabulously friendly and knowledgeable. Having just come from places like Bells and Arcadia, where beer is served with measured disinterest, it was nice to meet people who clearly enjoyed what they were doing. The beer selection is breath-taking in its width and depth; we enjoyed several hard-to-find big beers. The food was quite decent as well. All-in-all, you have to make a pilgrimage at some time.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I frequent this place from time to time when in need of a good beer night out. The selection of beer is excellent and I've never had a problem with the service. If you are looking for a bite to eat, I recommend the macaroni and cheese...add some chicken and jalapenos and you will be happy!
One of the greatest features at HopCat is the reasonable pricing of local beers. If you are on a budget crunch, you can always count on getting a quality Michigan brew for not a lot of coin.
During local playoffs, you may be lucky enough to view your favorite team on a screen the size of a small house.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The receipt came with the message "Review us on beeradvocate.com", so I'm complying..

I had been looking to visit here a while and finally had the chance about a week ago.

One of the best selections of beers I've seen on tap, including several that I had not run into before. Several rarities from Goose Island, small Michigan breweries, and others across the country. They also have a few of their own beers.

Service was great and very knowledgeable. Offered me the remainder of a keg for free when I ordered a beer they had just about exhausted.

Food was very good and had a few out-of-the-ordinary items for a bar beer like this.

Great place all-around.

Photo of spankdog42
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Made the drive for lunch one day while on vacation....

When you walk into Hopcat, you realize every other bar you have visited was missing something. I cant really explain it, but everything is just right.

Tons of great craft on tap. A number of house beers as well that hold their own. Food was good....And when you compare it to Founders or Bells, the food is fantastic.

To top off our lunch, we spent some time talking shop with Garry (the "ringleader" according to his card). Extremely great guy. He sent us home with a few bottles of Short's which just topped off a great afternoon.

Anyway, this is a must stop if you are in the area.

Photo of Pipeworks
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Had a fantastic time here, stopped in for 1 beer and some wings and ended up staying for 4+ hours. Love the fact that the bar is a mile long allowing plenty of room for everyone to pull on up. Separate up-stairs smoking lounge was a plus to aid my bourbon barrel aged pour. Staff knows what they are doing with management on site ready to fix any problem. Prices for regular pours were $4-6 and sandwiches (which are pretty amazing) $7-9 or so. Proper glassware of course. The super high ceilings make it a very open atmosphere. They are way higher than most high ceiling which helps cut down the chatter a bit.

Photo of mrkrispy
4.05/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped by Grand Rapids overnight and the BA Forum seemed to have a resounding "HopCat is a Must!". I whole heartedly agree with them.

I stopped in right around 6:00pm on a Tuesday. Busy, but not standing room only. Being solo, I grabbed a seat at the bar, and was given a menu right away. The bar is a graceful old school curvy wood bar, elegant and classy. This place isn't a dive bar by any means. Tigers game on the tube. Tables were all full, so you might have to wait a while.

Excellent selection of beers on tap, all styles except the Wild/Sour ales represented. There were a few Jolly Pumpkins, but not the sour stuff. Oh well. Bartender offered a few tasters, and they were friendly. However, they got to be chatty with certain people so several people seated near me (and including me) went with empty glasses several times. They also forgot what I ordered for beer, and for food. Same with the guy next to me.

Perused the bottle list, good set of Michigan and East Coast beers. Still no love for the sours.

Got a cheese sandwich with came with the Crack Fries. No descriptor of the crack fries, so I figured they would be doused in gravy and covered with bacon and chili haha. Not so much, just an interesting seasoning on them. Food arrived fairly quick.

If you are in Grand Rapids, this is only a short walk from Founders, so be sure to stop by both.

Photo of Tetano
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

What can I say, this past Sunday I had the pleasure of ponying up to the bar at HopCat for the first time, and all I can say is wow. Everything I have read on this site, which lead to some extreme expectations, were met and exceeded. The selections of beer was fantastic and varied. Chocolate Wheat, several sours, IPA's, milk stout, Belgians, and various others were there to tempt your palette.

I ordered a German breakfast which was fitting and interesting. The bar tender was incredible, her knowledge of the beers was impressive. Thanks again Katie, you are fantastic! She is a real testament to their establishment and her craft.

The real highlight of the visit was meeting the owners and the beer purchaser. We got to go into the basement and take a look at the keg room and the bottle room. Each stop was a highlight and a real treat. I have never felt more undeserving, they went all out. I am humbled.

If you have ever have the opportunity to visit Grand Rapids, this is the place to stop and check out. You walk into what felt like a neighborhood Brew Pub prior to Prohibition. Large comfortable bar stools await you at the bar where vintage cooper clad tap towers studded with a wide variety of suds call to be sampled. I can sum up my visit with this, I am in love.

Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This place rocks. It is very buzy, and the many small bar tables are conducive to relaxing and trying many beers. Glasses are hand washed, so the aroma is appreciated of the beers. Six new beers out of seventy something taps were changing on the fly! To talk to the brewer (there are 4 or more taps for their own) and get continued service, best to come well after the lunch crowd. Speedy service, despite not having many staff. Was here with one of the owners of Founders, otherwise I found it only average friendliness from other patrons. Founders was better in that regard. With this bar, and Founders down the street, its a wicked double play for Grand Rapids.

Photo of Hoppy2Bhere
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My wife and I visited the Hopcat on the last day of a seven day tour of Michigan and it was truly the highlight of the trip. We found two seats at the large wooden bar and quickly lost ourselves in the fabulous beer menu. With 48 taps of high quality and hard to find beers, this is not an easy decision. I have been to many bars with more taps, but none with such a diverse selection, focusing primarily on high gravity local Michigan offerings. Hopcat is also brewing their own now and the Oblong Belgium Imperial IPA and Hoppopottamus IPA were both hoppy and delicious.

For dinner, I had the Killer Mac & Cheese with Sloppy Joe and tomatoes while my wife chose the Buffalo Rolls. Both were exceptional dishes and very reasonably priced.

But what really makes the Hopcat the best beer bar on the planet is the outstanding staff and service. We got a chance to spend some time talking to Mark and Garry about great beer and they went out of their way to make us feel at home. The tours and tastings and hospitality they offered was unbelievable. And the rest of the staff is so knowledgeable about the beers and so very friendly.

After spending several hours at the Hopcat, it is obvious they are doing it right, which makes me wonder why every good beer establishment doesn't engage the customers like family. This is not just a beer bar to go to while in Grand Rapids...this is a beer bar worth scheduling your vacation around like we did!

Photo of rkpsycho
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

My wife and I were recently in MI and we hit several breweries during our stay. Now that Hopcat is a brewery, I can classify it such, however its still just a phenomenal beer bar.

We visited Hopcat twice on our visit and lucked out both times having Kathyrn be our waitress; she was the reason for the high service mark.

The selection at Hopcat is excellent, with several rotating taps and a great selection of MI beers. Plus they will fill growlers of anything from their taps.

This is major plus, cause we stopped at Bell's and they would not fill growlers, stating they have no control over quality once its filled, yada yada. However Hopcat had no problems and that's great cause my wife really likes the Bell's Poolside that they had on tap.

I loved the Shorts Nicey Spicey; it was better than I remembered from the last time I had it up in Bellaire at the brewpub.

Definatley worth their high ranking; you must try if you are ever within the area.

Photo of proseberry
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Hello, O.K., my copious cat scratch notes were left at the bar, so let's just wing it. Went to H.C. solo during a road trip to Northern Michigan and immediately felt at home. My waiter, "John the Drummer", left me to my own devices as to selecting my brews to quaf, but was very keen when I asked for suggestions. I sat on the Hop Cat patio and enjoyed the "Big Pretzel", and the "Fire Wings" with my bevs. Delicious from top to bottom. While my highlights were the New Holland Oaked Hatter, the Lagunitas 2009 Correction Ale, and a Belgian Sour (I forget the name, sorry), everything Hop Cat had to offer was top shelf and fresh. Timm the "Chancellor" stopped by and greeted me graciously. I got through 10 of the 49 taps, and each one was perfectly presented in the correct glass. Great prices and perfect ambiance. Being first on the patio that evening, I left it completely filled to capacity. I would implore anyone going to Grand Rapids to stop by and enjoy everything Hop Cat has to offer. As I wrote on my bill, this was the best beer bar experience I've ever had. A million thank yous to the great staff. I'm look forward to returning same time next year; I wish this was a bit closer to home! Cheers!, Patrick

Photo of troywhittaker
3.43/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I was really looking forward to this based on the Ba reviews. I did get to enjoy a couple regional beers, but the first three things I asked for were either out or not tapped (yet listed on menu and/or chalkboard).

The clientele was your typical Friday night crew and a bit younger (and rowdier) than I'd prefer.

Had some fries with my IPA's, but didn't taste anything else.

Overall very nice and polished, but not someplace I'd go frequently.

Wait staff was either overworked or indifferent, didn't see server much after the first order.

--
Update: I was contacted by the HopCat GM via BeerMail and after a series of email conversations, can advise that HopCat mgmt is sincerely interested in taking care of their guests. I was not asked to change anything in my review, but feel it's fair to give some credit for their candor and interest in correcting issues that affected my experience. I've bumped the service from 2 to 3.5.

Photo of akorsak
4.18/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Visited following dinner at Founders. The end of Day 1 of the Michigan tour.

Atmosphere: The bar is great, long and wooden with multiple tap line-ups. There appeared to be outdoor seating, although we settled down inside.

Quality: Two of the first three beers ordered were either freshly kicked or on yet on tap, a bad start to the night. I didn't leave the table, so I can't comment on anything else.

Service: We had a good time with our waitress. She was especially understanding when both JP beers that we ordered were kicked or still on deck. She recommended replacements and chatted us up.

Selection: Wow. A focus on Michigan but still too much good stuff. I wish that I had been here earlier, as I was just too waterlogged to dig into the taplist.

Food: Didn't eat.

Photo of atpben
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place came highly recommended by my friends and on the BA forums. I gotta say off the bat. This is the best beer bar I have ever been to. Great atmosphere as soon as you enter the establishment. High ceilings with lots of sitting room inside and outside. There is a great smoking lounge upstairs wich I loved since I do smoke occasionaly. And of course the selection was awesome. All the great Michigan beers were respresented quite well there. I first had the Reissdorf kolsch which was on tap. I had the pleaser of meeting and speaking with Garry Boyd - Ringleader. Great guy and he was nice enough to share some bottles from the inside with me. The Stone-Nogne O collaboration beer and two other beers from Dieu Du Ciel both excellent. I had a great time there. I would also like to thank Brett the brewer, Corey our bartneder and Mark the owner. Great bunch of guys and they better believe it that I will be back next time I'm in GRR. And I would definately will be telling all my friends about it. A+ all way.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

HopCat was one of the reasons I stopped in at Grand Rapids and it did not disappoint.

Great tap list - hard to choose but the guys behind the bar steered me in the right direction. Was busy when I stopped by in the afternoon (some event) but was much more subdued when I came in that night - guess Sunday night's not a busy night.

Food was good, standard pub fare. Had the quesedilla and then their flagship burger with jalapenos. Both times sat at the bar.

Great vibe, people who enjoy their beer, friendly feel. Close to the top of my list.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.59/5  rDev -21.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Rated #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth? Boo, I disagree! The beer selection is pretty good (you can check the website which is a plus) and the layout is good too.

But how did this place become 3rd best in the world? It isn't even in my top 20 in North America. Actually it's not even my top choice in Grand Rapids. My real beef is that you have to pay $1.50 for a small sample to see if you like a beer. On top of that, the server wasn't able to describe the beers (other than "it's an OK IPA"). So I ended up getting a crappy pint. Compared with the best practices of many other establishments regarding samples and information, I find this bar to be lacking in consumer sympathy.

Having said the above, you have a wide selection of beers to choose from, loads of TV's, good pbeer-related posters on the walls and ceiling, very good in most non-service respects. I'd highly recommend Founders over Hopcat (about 4 blocks away), but if you must try something non-Founders this place is close.

Photo of reallyhoppie
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Hands down the best selection and most knowledgeable staff I have ever encountered, and I can be pretty critical of both of those aspects of bars. The vibe was awesome, the food was great (can't beat the Thurs. special), the service was incredible, and the beer selection is unparalleled. Though the selection of HopCat's own beer is currently limited, after talking to the brewer and trying what they did have, I'm convinced that their own brews have a great future. Bret, Corey, the owners, and the rest of the staff went above and beyond.

If you are anywhere near southwest Michigan you absolutely must stop by HopCat. I'm planning part of a vacation around it myself.

Photo of EffinABubba
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

One of the coolest bars I've been in, hands down. If you're a jazz fan, you'll love the murals (e.g. Thelonius Monk, etc.), if you're a beer fan, you'll love the selection and beerphanalia, if you're a fan of comfortable bars with interesting decor, you'll be at home. This is a very nice bar that isn't pretentious. You can comfortably mix crowds. Mark, the owner, was present at our visit and was very friendly and extremely generous to us out-of-towners. We also saw him circulating through the bar chatting with folks, so he proves himself to be a man interested in the experience of his guests. Mark introduced us to Steve, who I believe is either the bar manager or operations manager. Anyway, Steve gave us a tour and made sure we had a chance to try beers we normally wouldn't have had a chance to try or didn't have on our radar screens...and all this during a busy evening. I highly recommend this place!

Photo of Baileyuk
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Well after finally getting to eat here off the regular menu I am able to fully put in a review.

I fell in love with this place as I watched a Soccer Match on the flat screen (a perfect amount in the place). The feel has a true pub feel to it for some reason, so many have tried but this is good.

Quality of the building, selection, staff knowledge, and everything else is awesome.

Selection is top notch, probably the best in Michigan. There are a few close to it but with seeking out rare finds this is just above. Lots of Shorts including some stuff they aged themselves so even I did not have any anymore. They have some shared storage space in the old mines. Little touches like that put this into the elite tier.

Food was excellent, I have been to a couple of beer dinners and was very satisfied but this was my first trip. Was no kids menu which was not the end of the world due to some appropriate choices on the menu anyways. Was not a great fan of my barbecue sauce but I put that down purely to personal preference as my wife liked them alot. Fries awesome, as was the coleslaw.

Photo of alleykatking
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

First off just let me say I had a better time visiting here than at Founders for the day. I didn't really know what to expect when I walked in there but I figured this had to be a good place. Good doesn't even begin to really say how I felt. I was blown away when I first walked in and noticed how big the place was. The beer (tap) list was amazing with beers from all over the place. And the bottle list had even more of a stranglehold of beers from all over the world. This is the place to go if you are ever in Grand Rapids. Prices were very reasonable and Mark is very friendly and helpful (thanks for the beer shop advice). And talk about a great host (thanks for cracking open those beers). I have been to a lot of "beer bars" and this one by far is the best I have been to. The staff was friendly and even though I didn't taste the food I saw many plates come out and it did look quite good. I can't wait to swing back up there when I get a chance. Just simply amazing....I don't know what else to say.

Edit: After forgetting to mention this in the original post I must say the bartender Kim was amazing. She was friendly and even took time out to make small talk with us. And take our picture..in the women's bathroom. She rocks....times 10!

Photo of Bung
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I remember this place being the Sierra Room, a wine joint. What an improvement this place has become. Too bad this wasn't around when I actually lived near GR.
Nice woody interior, like many downtown GR bars. Place for a band near the entrance windows. Porch outside is nice, for 4 months of the year. Upstairs smoking lounge is a real nice touch and does seem to keep the smoke out of the rest of the establishment.
Definetely have not seen a better beer selection, a few maybe equal, but none better. Good selection and variety and plenty of local brews. Shorts being the treat for me. The Hopcat brand stout was not bad either, just not quite as good as the Chocolate Wheat from Shorts. Vintage stuff seemed a bit pricey, but I've never understood the "cost" of keeping something in a cellar. For a restaurant I suppose there could be some, but the basement is there whether they use it or not, it's not like it is an extra cost. Anyways, this is far and away the best place to stop in GR. If you don't want to come downtown, try Logans Alley or Graydons, but you might as well come the rest of the way.

Another kudos, Hopcat was kind enough to politely explain the cost for a business to keep a cellar, which makes absolute sense in that it ties up money. I was more caught up in some BA's thinking their $15 dollar beer is now worth 2 of my $10 beers because you kept it in your basement, but I digress.

Photo of JordanEllwanger
5/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

After months of being told to visit I finally did. Had a little trouble finding a seat at first, and had to stand behind my wife until a neighboring stool opened up, which was before I finished my first beer. Upon finishing my first beer I happened to glance up at the vintage posters randomly hung on the nice high ceilings. Ordered another beer and a veggie burrito, that was outstanding.

Superior selection. 48 taps & 150 bottles. Including Hopcat's very own brews.

Atmosphere is killer. Black and white photos of some of the greatest rock artists of all time in the men's room.

Helpful, attentive, and knowledgeable staff.

While it is a bit pricey the food is great.

By far the best bar experience I have had.
Cheers,
Jordan.

Photo of regeimbk
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Had an odd run-in here with a homeless man who asked me and my girlfriend if we wanted to be in his movie and sat on top of our stuff so he could sit in our booth. However, as soon as customers complained, the man was kicked out.

The food here really is good. I've never had any complaints about it. The fish and chips is delish. Burgers are awesome. Steak is yummy. They have "crack fries" which I wouldn't call addictive, but they are good, especially when dipped in their cheese sauce. Whoever is cooking back there is doing their job.

Beer selection is awesome--duh.

Can be hard to find a table in there some nights, especially in the winter when their outdoor patio isn't open. When we were there, there wasn't a bike rack (not sure if there is one now), so we chained our bikes to a street sign. When we were getting ready to leave, a cop car pulled up beside our bikes and sat there for what felt like fifteen minutes. We had heard stories of cops ticketing bikers for locking their bikes to signs so we had to wait it out. Then we crunk road it.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Now this should be the model by which all beer bars are built from. Wow, what a place! Very classy and clean interior. A bar that is probably fifty feet long with taps lining it's entirety. And these are not just filler taps. They have a couple Short's, and everything else you could imagine that's available in Michigan. Plenty of space and relaxing. I ordered the Burger with beer cheese and it could have possibly been the best burger that I have ever eaten. Paired it with a Short's Huma Lupa and I'm in heaven. I can imagine this place would get crowded during the weekends, but this is a must stop. I could spend a long time in here just working my way through some taps. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff. Great place that is only a few blocks from Founders. This place is a must stop.

Photo of nhudson
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Man this place... I am so glad I came here today. From the south there are not too many places like this. The Brickstore in Decatur GA is the only better place I have been to this being 2nd. Soon as you walk in you are overwhelmed by the tap selection. I didnt count, but others have said 48 and its 45-50 taps on the bar. They had everything and it took me a minute to figure out what I wanted. I went with the cask they had today which was the New Holland Dragons Milk. Not too many people out on an Easter afternoon so service was awesome. Hamburger and their crack fries. I sure wish I could have gotten more fries they are awesome! Very nice bottle selection, only thing holding them back is a vintage bottle list otherwise I would have given them a 5.0. If you are ever in grand rapids go here. There are no excuses for not hitting this place up.

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 322 ratings.