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HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BA SCORE
100
world-class

309 Ratings
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.37%
Active Beers: 50
Beer Ratings: 286
Beer Avg: 3.8
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: 309 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Irishace9
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Irishace9, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of BUNZILLA
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

BUNZILLA, Sep 20, 2014
Photo of linnymtu
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

linnymtu, Mar 25, 2014
Photo of TheSamKuehn
4.76/5  rDev +3.7%

Long overdue review from one of the best beer bars in the country I've ever been too. Right up there with Churchkey in DC for anyone familiar with that establishment. My first visit was during KBS release 2013. It was such a great experience I remember it that well even to this day. First of all HopCat had one of the best draft beer lineups I've ever seen. Tons and tons of great MI breweries and not just the big boys. Lots of smaller MI breweries which was awesome to sample so many breweries in one place. The service was more than I could've reasonably expected. Emily was our server. My sister and I were there every night of our 4 night visit to GR and Emily was there each night to help us. She went above and beyond in explaining the different offerings with really great information about some of the beers. Very, very impressed and I will stop in every time I am in the area.

TheSamKuehn, Jun 13, 2014
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 DoctorB2B
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

Last stop on my Grand Rapids bonanza. I saved the best for last apparently. Very good looking spot inside ... very high ceilings with some old time framed artwork. The bar is long with taps o'plenty.

I had the pleasure of being taken care of by Mr. Steve Schultz (hope I spelled that right). I ordered the Sage Against the Machine to sip on and the Bar-Zee Burger which was DELICIOUS!!!

I noticed they had a couple bottles I had been looking for in Michigan but couldn't get my hands on. I asked if they sold bottles to go, which they do. So I was able to walk away with a Kuhnhenn 4D and Arcadia Bourbon Barrel Shipwreck.

The service was top notch, so when you do go in, ask for Steve, you'll be well taken care of!

DoctorB2B, Sep 19, 2011
Photo of jrome
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

I went to this place after the winter beer fest. Wow what a great beer bar. They have a great selection of different brews from all over especially Michigan brews. I started with the hopslam on the firkin. And I must say it was delicious. I had a couple more beers and then some food. I had the burger and chili it was really good. This is one of the best beer bars I have been to. The place was really packed due to the winter beer fest that day. But that did not affect the service. I spoke with the beer guru (geek) steve he was real informative on the beer selection and how he tries to turn different taps every other week. I would definitely go back to this place again when I am in the area. This place is a must if you are in the GR area.

jrome, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of freehafe
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

One of the nicest bars in Grand Rapids, the vibe is very chill and laid back. Many tables up front with booths towards the back, long wood bar, and outdoor patio.

The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful if you have trouble deciding (which is a good possibility with so many options.)

The beer selection here is epic. 49 on draft, 150 bottles, all served in appropriate glassware. Drafts rotated frequently. Beers range from "lawnmower" beers to locals to imports.

The food here is good, try the crack fries or the mac and cheese, wide selection, several vegetarian options, has the standard pub fare as well as more adventurous options.

Prices are reasonable, food is inline with what you expect for the price. Most beer prices are in the 4-8 $ range. The beer prices may be a bit more for those used to $2 you call its or happy hour tankards, but it is definitely within reason of what you expect for the quality beer you are getting in return.

freehafe, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of Pipeworks
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

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.

Pipeworks, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of ZHansen25
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

After hearing so many amazing things about Hopcat, my girlfriend and I thought it would be a perfect place to visit on our weekend trip to Michigan with a couple of friends.

We stopped by for dinner and beers around 7:00 on a Saturday night and I can only imagine that it was because of the holiday that it was almost entirely empty at the time.

The beer menu is one of the best I've ever seen! The option of $1 2.5 oz. samples from the draft list is quite a value and it allowed me to try the Arbor Brewing Chips n Salsa, something I never would have consumed an entire glass of but was actually pretty good to just taste! I thoroughly enjoyed the Short's Holistic Healing and I'm still kicking myself for not getting a growler of it to go. I also got their Mystery Stout in a bottle, which just made me wish even more I had regular access to the brewery. The only beer complaint is that, unlike my experiences in Ohio bars, the bottles-to-go cost the same as they do to drink on-site rather than at a discounted rate.

Food was also amazing: We got the CRACK FRIES, which do sneak up on you. At first bite, I wondered where the name had come from, but eventually we had to restrain ourselves from ordering a third plate. The Porter Braised Beef sandwich is the perfect accompaniment to a bunch of fancy beers!

Viceroy calling to us from across the street (and my need to soberly drive us back to the hotel) is the only thing that kept us from staying all night. If this place was in Chicago, I guarantee it would be so overrun I would never get in. I would drive the three hours again to Grand Rapids just spend a weekend here. I'd probably just set up a little tent outside during closing hours and drag myself back in the next day.

ZHansen25, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of EffinABubba
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

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!

EffinABubba, May 26, 2009
Photo of NealCassady
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%

My favorite beer bar. The place has very nice decor that gives it an old time quality feel. There are a long row of assorted taps from great Michigan brews to Belgians. The bottle list is extensive to say the least. They usually have a very good beer on handpull as well. All the food I have had is good, but a little pricey. Ambiance seems to stay chill along with the laid back staff. I have yet to hear a song playing that I didn't like. I also Met the ringleader and he is great, loves beer and having fun.

NealCassady, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of ndekke39
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Visited HopCat with my brother on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The place was pretty open, so we found a seat easily. The place has a really nice vibe - lots of wood accents, great old building. Big long only bar with a couple of TVs. There's a patio out front, and at one end of the building are the guest brewing facilities that you can see through the glass.

Service was great - very attentive and patient with us as we selected our beers.

Selection is top-notch. They gave us a huge menu of beers on tap. Big focus on Michigan breweries, plus a good American and import selection. There's also a huge range of bottles, although we didn't see a menu for that. Which was good - it was hard enough to choose from the draft list as it was.

Didn't try the food, although that menu looked great, too.

Nice addition to the Grand Rapids beer scene. Great building, nice folks, excellent selection. I'll definitely be back.

ndekke39, Sep 25, 2008
Photo of MasonBeerMan
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Came here last August with my wife for our anniversary trip to a brewery. Stopped here for lunch before heading to Founders for dinner. Very nice looking place, it was very nice out, so we sat outside. Sat at a comfortable couch and sipped some top notch brew. There were so many beers to choose from that we just had a couple of samplers. The staff was very knowledgable about the beers. It seems like they had drank most of them. The food was decent, nothing special. I was able have a nice cigar out there too. Great experience and will be back there for the Winter Beer Fest.

MasonBeerMan, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of jim102864
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Another gem within walking distance of my hotel while on business in Mason, MI but actually staying in Grand Rapids (and doing the 80 mile drive each day just so I could check out Founders. See my review). I started my visit with a Madrugada Obscura by Jolly Pumkin. A RIS sour (wow) that the bartender said was difficult to get and that they hadn't had for over a year. Everbody out here seems to know quality. It was served a tad too cold so I let it sit. As to the atmosphere itself, it reflects the neighborhood which is in an area with brick sidewalks and vintage buildings. You will see a high wooden plaster and lathe exposed wood ceiling with a lovely cherry wood bar back with arches like a cathedral. Large, leather padded bar stools and handsomely decorated tall wooden chairs with elephants or a beer drinkers face lightly painted on them. Sorta loud music plays which was only mildly annoying. There is a long bar which is primarily straight but curves at one end like a question mark. Interesting throwback twenties and thirties era framed posters hang from the ceiling. Looks like about 50 taps with MI very well represented. I also met the owner, Mark. What a cool dude. If I recall correctly, he is in the financial investment world by trade and became a beer enthusiast whose travelled all over the country and has been to the best beer bars. It shows in the level of quality brew offerings and the beer enthusiast supportive atmosphere. We shared a 750 of Shorts Imperial Black Cherry Porter. Awesome stuff. Gary the bartender said it was a two year old bottle. God I loved this place. Next was the Dragonmead Final Absolution Triple. I finished my solid experience with a Shorts Chocolate Wheat Porter. A must place to visit if in Grand Rapids, only a short walk from Founders.

jim102864, Apr 04, 2009
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 JeffONeal
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

JeffONeal, Aug 22, 2014
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 wxgod
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Did a brewery tour of southern/western Michigan and, in between hitting Founders etc, had to make a stop at HopCat based on the stellar reviews from Beeradvocate. Have to say, the reviews were right on. Stellar selection of brews, with lots of local represenation. Good, because that is what we were there for...try the stuff we can't get at home. Service was great and Tyler (our server) was very helpful and attentive, but didn't hover. Definitely a place worth any beer lovers' time. It was packed on a Saturday evening, but that was to be expected.

wxgod, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of MDekker
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

My brother and I tried this on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn't very busy. The building is very cool - old, refurbished, tons of wood. We were given a simple, large, laminated menu - beer on one side, food on the other. The selection of brews on tap is deep and broad, with lots of Michigan beers, American beers, and international beers too. Their website also lists a huge stash of bottles that they have available. It was hard to decide what to get. Everything is high quality, except their one "lawnmowing" offering, which they basically acknowledge is not up to the standards of everything else. The staff was friendly, and knowledgeable enough when we needed them to be. I'd like to try the food someday too. I'll definitely return sometime.

MDekker, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of malty
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%

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.

malty, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of ffejherb
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%

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!

ffejherb, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of northernbrews
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%

HopCat is the best beer bar I've been to overall. Everything here is top notch...from the atmosphere, service, food, and definitely the beer. This was my second trip (would go ALOT more if it wasn't 2.5 hours away) and both times they had crazy events. The first was a Goose Island event w/ 20+ Goose Island beers on tap. This trip was the Short's event w/ 25 Short's beers on tap. Pretty much had a sample of all the beers (quite a good deal and great way to try lots of stuff at $1.00 per sample). Other beers ranged from $4.00 to $6.50 for pint of all the Short's offerings w/ a few pricier (but worth it options on the regular menu) They had Samiclaus on tap which I've never seen before. Had the mac-n-cheese w/ sloopy joe and herbed tomatos....it was damn good. Hung out with Mark the owner and some buddies from Rate and BA which made the experience that much better. Definitely deserving of its high rating on BA and it truely is a world class beer bar!

northernbrews, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of mjvos
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%

I am from Grand Rapids, and this is one of my favorite places. I often go multiple times a week. The atmosphere is really neat with a very large bar and great artwork all around. Usually quite busy, except maybe early in the week, but always a few people in.

The service is very good, and the bartenders are very friendly and knowledgeable. I have been able to make some serious small-talk with some of the staff. When it's super busy later in the week at night it can take a little bit to order, but never terribly long.

The selection is extremely good with 48 taps, the most in the area, and they are constantly getting new beers cycling through to the point the menu is updated weekly. Lots of bottles as well.

For food, they have burgers, a number of different sandwiches and a couple larger plates. All the items I have tried have been delicious. Try the Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork and Cheese Ale Soup!

Lastly, all of this comes at a fairly reasonable price given the quality.

mjvos, Aug 11, 2011
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.