HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.82/5
Based on:
35 Beers
199 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 323
Reviews: 195
rAvg: 4.59
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:
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: 323 | Reviews: 195 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 2heartedzombie
3.5/5  rDev -23.7%

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 Gotti311
3.68/5  rDev -19.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

We made this place a "must stop" when we were passing through Grand Rapids since it was so highly rated and everyone seemed to endorse the place. We made the mistake of going on a hockey night so the place was jam packed. We only have a very short wait before getting a table which was very nice.

I was excited before getting to this place about hearing so much about the beer selection. When I ended up getting there, I really had a hard time choosing a beer that I had not had before and one that actually sounded good to me.

I do give credit because they carry a bunch of local stuff. Had a Greenbush sour before trying the Hopcat Wild Shitake Sour, I encourage you to skip past this one.

Solid place definitely not a must stop.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.68/5  rDev -19.8%
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 jbrown1
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

We lucked into HopCat with a recommendation of a local, and then after getting lost we found our way right in front of the door and I'm delighted that we did!

This place really has a charming atmosphere. While vintage French posters, HD TV's, brewery equipment, and elegant wood paneling don't naturally go hand-in-hand, HopCat makes it work. As a resident of Chicago, where beautiful old wood carved bars are the norm, HopCat has done the same, but with a newer and lighter grain.

Their beer selection is phenomenal. They showcase Michigan brewed beers, as well as their own HopCat brews. And if you thought Michigan only included Bells and New Holand, then you're in for a treat. The staff are self proclaimed beer geeks, and they are very knowledgeable. In addition, all pours are placed into appropriate glass where. And if you're not a beer nut, they offer a comprehensive selection of liquor.

However... we were a little surprised on a Monday night. With a football game going on, and a Metallica show across the street, that the kitchen closed promptly at the regular scheduled time. The bar staff does a great job with pours, but fell short working for tips. They didn't have any chips, pretzels or nuts out, so when I pointed to the 'pretzel' on the menu they said no can do. A bit later on, Mr Bartender bragged about their 'beer cellar', and when I asked if I may tour it with the manager, another no can do.

Good atmosphere, nice value, Michigan should be darn proud that someone showcases their goods, but don't expect red carpet treatment.

Photo of chinchill
3.89/5  rDev -15.3%
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 twelvsies
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Apparently this place is a relatively new beer bar, but I'd never been to Grand Rapids before so it was brand new to me. Been doing some beer travels the past few months and now finally getting around to recording them. This place is big - giant room, very brassy and polished looking, almost like a big old dining room or something. Lots of giant paintings of musicians on the walls and great music playing as well. I think the owners must be into jazz or something. Service was fine and the bartenders seem to know what they're doing, even got a nice recommendation for something new. The points for the selection at HopCat come from their wide array of local stuff. Lots of Michigan breweries featured here with a nice big menu with plenty of explanations and reading material about the beers. Local cask beer too, always a bonus. They had some nice Belgians but I wasn't wowed by that part of the menu. Still, HopCat is a pretty great place where you'll find something unusual and get into the local beer scene.

Photo of EnJeiBee
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is one of my favorite places to go in Grand Rapids. Their selection is smaller than only one bar in GR (Logan's Alley) and the atmosphere is amazing. That being said, they have some of the worst service of any beer bar I have ever been to! It's one of those places that has so many people who want to be there that they don't care if you leave or not. Unless you seek out your server you're probably going to be sitting with an empty beer for some time. I really wish more staffers there were like Katie (she doesn't work there anymore, but she was amazing!).

Photo of mattyrubes
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of todd-roy
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of TheGingerbreadMan
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of Zonian1
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of SWChi
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of ms333
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of Faunland
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of spark3148857
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of Frosty80
4/5  rDev -12.9%
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!

Photo of sullenbee
4.01/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I honestly don't understand the hype. Don't get me wrong, HopCat is an exceptional bar. Great beer selection, great decor, and a great alternative to other downtown Grand Rapids bars.

My experiences have been fairly mediocre when it comes to atmosphere. Service however, has been attentive on slow nights, but somewhat non-existent on busy nights. (Which is understandable, sometimes places just get busy) Perhaps I'm choosing the wrong nights to check HopCat out. In reality, I'm probably just an odd duck.

Things I do enjoy: No smoking, other than the smoking lounge.

Beer selection is phenomenal, and doesn't disappoint. I really need to make it out to some of their special beer events/dinners.

In all, I'm going to keep trying to talk friends into accompanying me there. I really think I just need to find the right crowd to make me comfortable, and it could easily become a regular stop for me to try out new beers.

Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.01/5  rDev -12.6%
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 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 mothman
4.07/5  rDev -11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

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

On a recent trip to visit my niece in Grand Rapids, I put this at the very top of my destinations. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, the festive bar/brewpub was large enough to handle a very large crowd on a late Saturday afternoon. The extensive beer list comes on a laminated sheet arranged by styles. All Michigan breweries are prominently displayed. The waitress seemed to have a good knowledge of the beers. Despite the crowd we received our drinks and food in a respectable time. The food offerings were largely sandwiches, i.e. reuben, french dip, chicago style, and addictive, seasoned "crack fries". I also purchased a hopcat tee shirt. My beer drinking and eating experience was marred a bit by the extremely hot peppers on my sandwich. The menu only referred to these peppers as spicy.
By the way, the music played was very diverse and eclectic. I even heard an obscure Grateful Dead song. Because this location is downtown, parking is a premium. There were parking lots charging 7-9 dollars; street parking was difficult to find. However, it was well worth the visit.

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.

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.