1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

315 Ratings
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
Active Beers: 34
Beer Ratings: 195
Beer Avg: 3.81
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 315 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.38/5  rDev -4.6%

This was easily the highlight of a recent Michigan trip.

The place exuded an effortless cool, a combination of the turn of the century exterior, Art Deco & Folies Bergère posters framed on the ceiling, with the imagery incorporated elsewhere in the decor. Some nice paintings of 20th century jazz greats hung on brick walls in between art deco lanterns, hanging above intimate circular booths. Many tables, with a patio containing comfy sofas and furniture too. Brewing equipment was visible in the rear of the space. Multiple tap islands at the bar, maybe 6-8 per. I noticed the brand new Ommegang Rouge barrel-shaped handle, and ordered it first thing.

Once seated we ordered a round and had a couple appetizers. The food was good, "crack fries" were just ok in my opinion. It was busy, so it took a minute for initial service, but we were taken care of afterward.

Selection was really amazing for MI brews, there were 5 taps from Short's (it was a special of the month) and 5 from Kuhnhenn. Several from Arbor, Founders, and a few more obscure brewers too. Prices, style, and ABV were listed on the menu, also a plus. This place was worth the detour off 94.

emerge077, Aug 03, 2008
Photo of wide3345
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%

We were heading to Kalamazoo for the weekend but decided to go a bit out of our way to visit Grand Rapids and HopCat. The Kuhnhenn's were brewing the night we were there so I knew we'd have an even better time.

HopCat is situated right next to Van Andel arena and just down the street a block or so from Founders as well as a few other cool pubs and diners.

Inside HopCat they have a beautiful wood bar that goes clear to the ceiling with muchroom style bar taps situated every few feet or so. The crowd is diverse and friendly although I didn't get a chance to really meet anyone as we were busy in our own conversations.

As far as beer selection, I wouldn't go so far as to say they have the largest tap and bottle selection but I would definitely argue that their selection is by far the best in Michigan if not the Midwest. A few notables on draft: Short's Smugglin' Plums, Saison Dupont, Dark Horse Rod, Jolly Pumpkin ESBam, Rodenback Grand Cru..and on and on. They really did a nice job getting a great cross-section of Michigan brews as well as classic styles from Europe.

Their bottle selection is impressive as well. We had a Nogne IPA and an Abbey Trippel that I can't seem to remember the name of...it was good though...it was late.

Food selection is good. I enjoyed the bar cheese and the mac and cheese.

Definitely worth the extra drive if you're anywhere near Michigan!

wide3345, Jul 16, 2008
Photo of maltusaurelius
4.86/5  rDev +5.9%

I was visiting my home state of Michigan for 4th of July week and absolutely had to try this place out while I was home. It's a comfortable space with high ceilings, exposed brick, and a beautiful bar. The ceiling is decorated with several posters with beer themes that look like prints of early to mid-20th century adverts or artwork. Windows are primarly near the front door and along the wall opposite the bar, and there is an outdoor seating section, which makes it possible to enjoy the great Michigan summer weather while drinking some great beer. I wouldn't recommend sitting out there in January, but the interior is spacious so I doubt they'll run out of room for you. Overall a very pleasant place to have a few brews.

The beer selection is very extensive (I think I counted 48 taps! plus more in bottles!)and the waitstaff seems to know their stuff pretty well. My only disappointment was that there were no taps dedicated to the hometown brewery (Founders) but I guess HopCat figures if you want their beer you can head on down the street to get it from their brew pub.

I have to say that the bathroom at this place is absolutely the coolest bathroom I've ever been in. The wall above the urinals is covered in 40's and 50's pinup art - the illustrations of scantily clad women that used to grace calendars and such during the WWII and postwar era. The other walls are plastered with iconic black and white images from American cinema and music, from Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash to Al Pacino and Clint Eastwood. They seem to have had an eye for detail everywhere in this place.

I didn't have anything to eat so I can't rate the food, but the beer was excellent and served in appropriate glassware. Definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in GR.

maltusaurelius, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of nrbw23
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Stopped in at Hopcat on Sunday and low and behold they had a beer pairing from Arcadia. It was pretty awesome. Good food and good beer.

The atmosphere was pretty awesome. Huge list of taps and bottles. Top notch and very classly looking. They had around 50 taps and 150 bottles available. The service was outstanding, they had a great knowledge of the beer and let us sample several other brews.

They had so many beers that I had a hard time deciding which ones I wanted to try. This place is great by far one of the coolest bars I've been to.

nrbw23, Jul 11, 2008
Photo of Stonebreaker
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%

In the interest of full disclosure the owner of this joint Mark sent me a beer mail after reading one of my posts saying that I was planning on attending his spot on my birthday and set me up with a free pint. Kudos to you Mark. That said, it seems to be a perfectly fair and smart thing to do and is certainly good business strategy. Let me say first that this place is beer nerd heaven....pause for dramatic effect... period! When we arrived, we were hungry and it did not disappoint, I had a house beer cheese w/applewood smoked bacon burger. I'd have to give my meal an A although the crack fries, were a little heavy on the onion powder for my taste(but my wife loved them), my wife had the macaroni which we had heard people raving about, but hers, all false humility aside, should be paying my rent right now so it didn't impress as much. My server, Emily, humbled this beer nerd in training with her knowledge of the sweet nectar and reccomended me a spiced belgian white that I'll never forget and search out forevermore, it was in some weird display of anti-snobbishness? referred to as mannequin piss? Thank you Emily and Mark for an experience that made the long drive from Chicago more than worthwhile. This is the type of place I aspire to having one day. Beer nerds everywhere should make the hajj to this place, it was made for you. Highly reccomended.

Stonebreaker, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of frampin
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Extensive bottle selection, although a bit pricey, there are a few rare gems, i.e 6 of the Short's Imperial series. A bit of a mark up at $45.00 a piece, though. Exceptional tap selection with pretty good variety, depending on the month/season. The opportunity to try Rodenbach Grand Cru, La Trappe Quad, and Ola Dubh 30 Year on tap is worth seeking this place out, in my opinion. Food is good, but nothing to write home about. All in all, this place is easily the best beer bar in Michigan, aside from Ashley's, but the atmosphere of HopCat trumps Ashley's easily.

frampin, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of ThirstyBird
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%

Well, on my recent visit to western Michigan I hit Hopcat after doing some research and was so happy that I hit it at least three times in five days! Katie our server was great and we sampled plenty of the wonderful beer on tap! I was impressed with the quality of the 48 or so taps, great European beers and well as wonderful Michigan beers and regional beers.

The food was a very nice surprise. My brother ordered a quasadilla the first night and wouldn't stop talking about it the whole trip (It was damn good!). We ate a couple of meals there and found the food to be high end bar fare which was also a good value.

This is truly one of the best beer bars that I've ever been in and if I am ever in Grand Rapids again I will race to Hopcat directly from the airport!

ThirstyBird, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of sloppymoose
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%

This place is great. Let me start with the negative. Some of the individual bottles are extremely pricey. more than double the cost of what you can get at a beer store around town. The price is really the only negative. atmosphere is very cozy and the outside patio is outstanding. they have plush couches. they have 5 or so shorts beers on tap which is the most i've seen anywhere besides the brewery. michigan beers are very well represented here. the service was great, barely had to wait, and the selection was, as rated, world class. only selection complaint i have is that there's only one firkin/cask. for an establishment of this caliber, an additional cask is a must. other than that, you must go if you have enough money.

sloppymoose, Jul 04, 2008
Photo of andythejerk
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

First of all, thanks to Steve the beer guy and Jake our bartender for the great experience we had at the HopCat. Cool little place that I definitely felt comfortable in and would love to go back to next I'm anywhere near the area. Great draft list and many pages of fantastic bottle selections. We enjoyed a Rodenbach Grand Cru off tap followed by a couple bottles of Kentucky Breakfast Stout and then a J.W. Lees Lagavulin-cask aged ale. Amazing. Jake was very friendly, attentive, and eager to please us. He suggested several beers and served us several samples. Unfortunately, those three beers were enough for the day and I was forced to leave while still desiring to drink my way through so much more of what this place has to offer. Good grub, too. I had a very tasty breaded Tilapia sandwich and my buddy had a pork sandwich that was pretty kick ass. The decor found its pinnacle in the hodge podge of pictures in the bathroom. I kept wanting to go back to the bathroom over and over again just to look at the pictures again, and even snuck into the girls' bathroom to see if their decor was as awesome (it wasn't, though still pretty awesome).
But definitely, hands-down, the best thing about the place was the hospitality received from Jake and Steve. Thanks guys!

andythejerk, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of CortexBomb
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%

Interesting place, I finally stopped by here the other week...it's been open for quite some time and I'm not infrequently in GR, but it's hard to pry myself away from Founders.

Hopcat is located downtown in a spacious corner building with high ceilings, a long bar, and a great tap list. With 48 taps, a hand pull, and scads of bottles anyone should be able to find something they like here. I rate it 4.5 only because of the superior Ashley's selection in Ann Arbor, but given the city the selection is bar none the best, easily.

Prices are quite reasonable in comparison to many of these places, and the staff were absolutely on the ball, great service, friendly, they clearly care. Coming during non-peak time probably impacted this, but still.

They have a large food menu, and the snibblets that I've had of of it are good and also reasonable.

Really, I can only nitpick and say that the only reason why I'm not a huge, huge converted fan is the overall feel of the high ceilings and large space. This is the same beef I have with New Founders, I just like my bars to be a bit smaller and more intimate than this one, so my opinion of the atmosphere takes a ding there.

This is a nice stop off place if you're in GR and looking for a brew and perhaps some food. I doubt I'll go here often in lieu of New Founders, but it's a good option for the locals, and I can see the charm.

CortexBomb, Jun 26, 2008
Photo of FURIOGUINTA
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%

what a great looking corner bar. it's only two minute drive from Founder's. i was impressed with the decor, upon entering the door. my friends and i bellied right up to the bar and looked over the impressive beer list. what a great collection of Michigan brews, including Short's, which was fantastic. i was in town to hit a few spots and catch a Mustard Plug concert. as i sat and enjoyed a couple pints, the guys from Mustard Plug (local ska-punk heroes) came in and went to a private drinking area. if local celebrities hang here, it must be good, right? ;) (of all the places in town to hit, i managed a second visit after the show.) i met and spoke with one of the owners, Michele. we had a great chat about FFF (as i was sporting one of their shirts) and she recommended The Hideout to me. she was awesome! service was fine, if a bit inattentive. i can overlook that being that it was a Friday and business was booming. i will definitely be back and plan on trying the food, as what i saw others eating looked fantastic. i will also be prepared with a cooler so i can take a few growlers to go. if you are anywhere near Grand Rapids you owe it to yourself to visit this place!

FURIOGUINTA, May 20, 2008
Photo of snafui
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

I had the pleasure of stopping into HopCat last Wednesday on recommendation from some nice Grand Rapids locals I met at Founders (but I wanted to go anyway based on BA reviews). The bar is beautiful, very cozy, lively atmosphere. It was around 11:30 and there was a jazz band playing. The decor was very much eye candy and I loved the oversized bar stool seats.

I had trouble deciding what to get after being let down initially (not their fault). I saw Bells two-hearted on the chalk board and ordered that only to find out the board said it would be on cask tomorrow. Damn. So that threw me off and I decided to get an Oberon while I poured over the menu. Unfortunately my co-workers wanted to leave after that pint so I didn't end up having anything else, which is too bad because I could have spent all night trying beers I can't get back home in MA.

I really hope I have the opportunity to visit the area again and give this place a thorough tap by tap inspection :)

In the mean time it left me with a fantastic memory and a yearning to go back.

PS I found something very inspiring about this place. We talked with several Grand Rapids locals over the next few days. Folks that claimed to not be big beer drinkers even, and everyone recommended the HopCat. I see that has a HUGE boon to the craft beer industry. Here's a place with a drool-worthy tap and bottle selection that is attracting more than just beer geeks. Good job HopCat, this is exactly the kind of positive exposure the beer industry should be proud of! You have a great word-of-mouth following out there, keep up the good work!

snafui, May 07, 2008
Photo of drxandy
5/5  rDev +8.9%

The hopcat is easily one of the best beer bars i've been to in michigan, with a huge selection and great atmosphere.
Went today for the first time with my girlfriend and we enjoyed the environment very much. She ordered a veggie wrap (which was fantastic) and i got a burger and beer deal, which was also very tasty - the food is above average and well worth it (the fries!!), prices are really good, walked out of there with a 18$ bill for 2 beers, the food, and a pop. Our server was amazing as well, i haven't had such a good experience with speed and mannerisms in a while and she seemed completely comfortable and knowledgeable.

With the expanding options of brewing gear and other love put into the hopcat, i wish i lived closer to frequent often :D

definitely a must in GR!!

drxandy, May 01, 2008
Photo of cosco
5/5  rDev +8.9%

I had my first experience here last night and could not have been more impressed. The atmosphere was great; very hip but not contrived. Nice long bar and plenty of space. I had the pleasure of sitting next to the owner (which I didn't even know until I was cashing out). The crowd was pleasant. It was a nice mix of a younger and a middle-aged crowd. The bartenders were extremely knowledgeable. The bar was at capacity but there was still plenty of room to hang out and it was very easy to get drinks.

It was tough to even decide what to order because there were so many outstanding choices. They definitely cater to Michigan beers, which is great. I had Short's Huma Luma, Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Livery Double Paw on tap. My wife had Celis White and GLBC Holy Moses on tap. Everything was was very fresh and tasted great. The best part was the tab was only $21!!!

In my opinion, one could not ask for more from a beer bar.

I will be stopping by this place whenever I am in Gr Rapids. Very impressive.

cosco, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of Roeters
4.9/5  rDev +6.8%

Just down the street from my apartment and thank GOD. Great service, great beer, great place to sit and enjoy a pint or four. If you are not sure what you want just ask a server or bartender, they will find something that you will love.

The only place around with a hand-pull tap, and it changes every Friday, which are mostly Michigan Brews

A hugh selection of local and national brews. With a good selection of International Brews.

The only place other then Founders stop at on a visit to Downtown GR for a true beer lover.

Roeters, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of PabstBlue
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%

What a breath of fresh air for Grand Rapids. We have so many great breweries here in Michigan but before now there was no great place to buy a good variety of their great brews in one place. The atmosphere there is top notch. With a great bar, interesting decorations, a variety of seating options, tons of beer and a smoke free atmosphere, this place is lacking in little. My only problem with the place is that it was so well done that it is near impossible to get a seat there on a Friday or Saturday night.

PabstBlue, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of bgramer
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%

This bar, in the shadow of the sports arena was a godsend to a Chicagoan on a road trip.

Their tap selection of craft beers is phenomenal, and the best part is, you can take home growlers of anything on tap. I took home Short's Huma Lupa Licious and SoftParade.

I ordered the cheeseburger with bacon and jalapenos which was quite tasty but their fries are definitely addictive with a tangy seasoning and i think, some subtle garlic lime salt. Yum.

If I didn't live in Chicago, I'd be coming to this place quite often.

bgramer, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of willygreen
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

I stopped in at Hopcat prior to heading over to Founders for their KBS release party. The beer selection was phenomenal.

My only complaint was that their beer menu was missing some of their taps. I discovered a table tent with additional beers on it and then found out they still had beers on tap that were missing. How do you find out what these mystery beers are? They really need a system that makes it easy to read what all of their taps are.

This place is unbelievable. I had a dogfish 60 minute and a harpoon ipa, both really good and my first time on draft. Also tried a Hobgoblin (good English bitter) a great session beer.

The place was packed and the bartenders were still very attentive; the service was fast and friendly. I tried an appetizer and it is just average--typical Gordon Food Service or Sysco stuff.

willygreen, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of frazbri
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%

I stopped at HopCat Saturday after the winter beer festival. The place was packed, and after a little search found a few empty barstools to occupy. The crowd was a mixture of beer geeks and young professionals out on the town. There are HDTVs above the bar, and a good mix of music from old school James Brown to Zepplin played at a volume that allowed for conversation.

The menu is mostly sandwiches and comfort food of high quality. I had a fish sandwich with crack fries and side of mac & cheese. The fish was broiled tillapia with a cajun spice rub served on a tasty fresh roll. The mac is a stove-top mac, but the cheese sauce is much better than the blue box powder. The crack fries are seasoned battered fries, usually not my favorite, but these had a nice garlic kick and were perfectly crisp and golden. The food nearly equalled the beer.

HopCat boosts 48 taps plus 100 plus bottles. Approximately half of the taps are Michigan beers. Bell's, Founders, New Holland, Shorts, Dragonmead, Kuhnhenn, Michigan Brewing and the Livery were represented. The goodness didn't end there. The rest of the drafts were craft brewers too. The only exception I saw on the menu was listed as "lawnmower beer" which is one of the old lager brands at a time; pabst, strohs or something else.

Service wasn't great, but it was forgivable. The bartenders were busy the entire time we were there. They do know beer, and gave lots of good recommendations to those that were intimidated by the beer list.

The management and owners of HopCat understand beer. great beer + great food = great bar

frazbri, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of MtnBikingandBeer
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%

Simply Fantastic! While West Michigan certainly has a fantastic selection of local breweries to choose from, I have not yet been to any pub with this vast of a selection. The atmosphere was great, very relaxing. Service was phenomenal and very knowledgeable. All beers sampled in my group of four were served in appropriate glassware. Forty some odd beers on tap and 100+ bottle options! The beer menu was quite in depth and provided excellent descriptions. As such, I was able to introduce several friends to the "better beer world" and they were quite surprised. Although they were a little confused that no MBC was on tap at first, we were able to find them some good intro beers and hopefully they'll come back for more.

I will certainly make this a regular spot to share good times with good friends and good beer! Thank you HopCat for providing GR exactly what it has been needing!

MtnBikingandBeer, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of alexgash
4.95/5  rDev +7.8%

Made the pilgrimage from Ann Arbor for the BA Pre-Opening Party. And wow am I ever glad I did! Since the party was a special event with a special crowd and very special specials (half off all beer!) I am reviewing this place based on what I would expect to be a regular night with full prices.

The atmosphere was incredible. Spacious with tall ceilings, big windows, rustic brick, great art/decor, and just a great overall feel to the place. Oh, and the centerpiece is the big, beautiful bar with its properly-tap handled tap fountains and cathedral-like backing (worth the trip just to see this alone!). No smoking on the main floor with a small, cozy smoker's lounge upstairs. Service was great, especially considering how new the place is and how busy it was. The menus are thorough and descriptive and there were plenty of them.

The quality and selection were top-notch with 48 taps (not a single crap-tap) and 150+ bottles and one hand-pump. Good local representation (which allowed me to try The Hideout's and The Livery's fine offerings for the first time). Clean and appropriate glassware was provided with each beer (tulips, imperial pints, and over-sized wine glasses). The food was terrific too. The fries were very addicting and the pita/veggie spread was great to snack on with our bottles of Three Philosophers and Old Ruffian. Reasonably priced too! This is a destination beer bar and I can't wait to go back!

alexgash, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of Seahorse
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

A beer lover's paradise. Good mix of domestic micro brews and imports. I missed the pre-opening festivities, however, visited on the Saturday's Grand Opening. Great decor throughout with plenty of seating. Impressive hand crafted bar with a monastery motif. Even the bathroom impressed me with its Vargas like 40's pinups. Service was great, from the bartenders, wait staff and on site management, everyone was helpful and friendly. This is by far the classiest beer bar I have ever frequented; however, it was warm, friendly and down to earth. Thanks HopCat for making my night an enjoyable one. Look forward to a long and healthy relationship!

Seahorse, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of monitorpop
4.7/5  rDev +2.4%

I just went to there first night "soft opening" and I hope this place doesn't change because I have a new favorite place in town.

BEER: WOW, 48 taps lined up down the bar is a sight to be seen! They had beers on tap that I have hard time finding in the bottle. It was very hard to pick a beer with so many favorites like Hennepin and 90min IPA on tap for the first time and tons more that I had never tried. The menu did a great job of describing the beers, I only wish they listed the BA ratings on the menu.

ATMOSPHERE: They spared no expense on this place, the detail on the custom woodwork and bar is amazing for a place this new. Most new places cut corners on the details, but here you can tell the owner took pride in everything. NO SMOKING in the main area, only in the loft. I didn't stink of smoke when I got home and I love it! I'm not sure what the crowd will be like when its open to the public, but this BA member only night had a nice mix of people.

FOOD: The food was actually the biggest surprise. I didn't expect the food to be very good on the opening night of a beer bar, but It was actually quite good. Some of the best casual dinning fare I've had in Grand Rapids.

MOUTH-FEEL: Nice light carbonation with a smooth finish....

monitorpop, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of dutch05
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%

As the first one in the door for the BA preopening party, We got a table across from the bar.

Great atmosphere, our server was very helpful in making our selections, a couple bugs in the computer system, beers not inputted, but nothing serious, that's what a preopening is for right?

Nice selection of beer, if you can't find one you like here I don't know where the heck you would go! Great variety on tap, but the bottle list was incomplete, should be ready for the Grand Opening on Saturday.

Didn't have the Scotch list available, but from what I saw on the shelf it should be a nice selection also. From the peaty to the smooth, another "something for everyone" selection.
The music was not too loud, nice to have it be in the background and not overwhelming for a change.

Two tv's over the bar, and one giant screen available in front for special occasions.

Really nice that the smoking section is in the loft, it didn't reach the main bar area at all. I am assuming that a outdoor area will be available in nicer weather, there is a covering outside the building that is fenced in.

All in all, a great addition to the downtown area, I am not a downtown type person, but I think this will change now.

dutch05, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of GRPunk
4.6/5  rDev +0.2%

The downtown location and building are great. It's within walking distance of GR's entertainment or any pubcrawl you may want to complete in the area. It had a nice crowd, but enough space for everybody.

It has the biggest taplist I know of in West Michigan as well as a huge selection of bottled beers. It's a nice mix local, regional, and imports. Everything was served in the proper glass.

Service was friendly and helpful. After ordering my first, my waitress offered other selections that were similar or may be of interest.

The food was good and decently priced.

I would definitely suggest the HopCat to any beer lover than finds his/herself in GR.

GRPunk, Jan 11, 2008
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.