HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.83/5
Based on:
40 Beers
67 Reviews
Place Score: 100
Reviews: 197
Visits: 356
rAvg: 4.6
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:
Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 197 | Visits: 356
Photo of rkpsycho
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (958 characters)

Photo of Pipeworks
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (611 characters)

Photo of jbrown1
3.88/5  rDev -15.7%
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. (1,558 characters)

Photo of ioeth
5/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I happened to be in Grand Rapids from out of town for a weekend, and stumbled onto Hopcat when I was looking for a decent beer. What a fantastic place for a beer lover! Their selection is one of the best that I've ever seen, ranging from local favorites such as Founders, which is brewed only a few blocks away, to breweries from around the world to which I had never been exposed.

In addition to the selection, the staff and service is second to none, and is surely what makes Hopcat truly excellent. After pulling up a chair to the bar and chatting, I came to find out that some of the folks that I was talking to were actually the chef and brewmaster in addition to the regulars. Kim was tending the bar that evening, and after explaining my beer background, made some top notch recommendations for me along with Timm. As far as I'm concerned, Kim is the epitome of a superb bartender.

I can certainly understand how Hopcat came to be one of the top rated beer bars on this little blue orb, and look forward to the next time I'm in Grand Rapids when I'll be able to visit again. (1,083 characters)

Photo of blakesell
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Came here on a holiday trip Michigan brewery tour as Founders didn't open until late.

As Grand Rapids isn't that impressive of a city, I was wowed and surprised that there was this place just around the corner of downtown and nearly walking distance of Founders. The place has tons of taps that at my time of going you could make your own sampler at the rate of .50 to $1 a sample!! The samples weren't too skimpy either, so I had one hell of a sampler going on.

There were one off Goose Island beers and TONS of beers I had never seen before.

The food menu was very impressive as well and I'm disappointed to say that I ate at the hotel before I got here. I'm sure the food here would have been better than the breakfast buffet.

One of the most memorable things about the place was the restroom for me. A massive collage of Johnny Cash, Frank Zappa, Bowie, and Tom Waits posters, clippings, things of that sort.

Always good to have something pleasing to the eye when doing your business.

This is a place I would be sure to return to if I came back to Founders (which I would love to do!) (1,095 characters)

Photo of HopOverdose
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is by far the best beer bar in Grand Rapids and probably the best in the state of Michigan.

The atmosphere is wonderful, non-smoking and a great crowd. They have a wonderful upstairs lounge with a starry ambience and comfortable furniture. If you are a smoker, you can smoke in this lounge (at least until May due to the Michigan smoking ban) , or out on the deck. The outdoor deck is nice in the summer spring and fall.

This beer venue is set right in the heart of downtown and is within walking distance of every attraction down there.

Parking is somewhat reasonable depending on the time of day you go. Expect a walk if going on a friday or saturday night, as this is to be expected anyway.

The service is wonderful and the choices are excellent. (760 characters)

Photo of rvera
5/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My best friend and I did a beer tour that lasted 4 days, starting in Goose Island-Chicago, and continuing to Dark Horse-Marshall, MI; Bells-Kalamazoo, MI; New Holland-Holland, MI; Founders-Grand Rapids, MI; Hopcat-Grand Rapids, MI and ending in Michigan Brewering Company-Lansing, MI.

Needless to say it was a great trip; but there is no doubt in my mind that the biggest surprise of the tour was Hopcat. We knew it had a great beer list (3rd longest in the world), what we didn't know is that we were going to be treated like kings! Brian, the manager, gave us a private tour of the place and really took the time to talk to us about the bar and about beer in general. John, the bartender, could not had been more helpful and attentive. Both Brian and John treated us like old friends and that along was worth the trip. We enjoyed excellent beer among exellent people. The place is beautiful and the food was great. It really was a great visit and we are already planning another one very soon.

If you are in Grand Rapids, near Grand Rapids, or in the US at all, you MUST stop by Hopcat! My review for this place is A+++!!! (1,128 characters)

Photo of ZHansen25
4.78/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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. (1,740 characters)

Photo of wxgod
4.8/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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. (552 characters)

Photo of sprinkle
4.38/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Worldclass place, great selection, all top shelf liquors being poured, great pics all over, cysers, lambics, one offs...who could ask for more? Heard about the place for a couple years, then stopped in while we were in town, Corey even popped a hanssens Ouse kreik with us our first time in...will be back tomorrow and years to follow! This is an oasis on a very long drive, that I would go out of my way for. Good people, nice setting, top shelf beer, good food(italian beef, sloppy joeseph????)and libations. Stop by if you get a chance and if you don't, take some time and drive there! (588 characters)

Photo of ChicagoBlueIce
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This place is amazing. We were driving from Chicago to Bellaire to check out Short's Brewing and decided that we must stop at one of the top BrewPubs in the nation and are glad we did.

Upon entering this place, we noticed a nice ambiance and quickly sat down at the bar. Staff was extremely friendly, large beer selection, love the fact that you can buy a growler of whatever is on draft, and STEVE is the BEST !!!

So let me talk about STEVE... My gf and I have been to many breweries/brewpubs and have had great times at those places, but Steve is by far one of the coolest/most informative/ hospitable person we've met.

Since he asked where we were from (CHICAGO !!!) we began talking shop and then hooked us up with all this information about Michigan Breweries and where we should go. This guy is amazing. Not only did he set us up with a lil' care package, he even let us try some of Short's vintage bottle of WoodMaster.

Thanks for the patches. We will see you later tonight !!!

Ray & Christine (1,005 characters)

Photo of vtisme
5/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I feel like a broken record saying awesome things about HopCat just like everyone else, but:
Bottom Line Up Front - If you are anywhere in MI, you MUST visit Hopcat in downtown Grand Rapids, MI!!

I brought my wife, father, and 5 friends to HopCat because I knew they have literally hundreds of beer available either on tap or in bottle and I would like to have dad/wife try things out to fine tune their beer tastes. As you walk in you can immediately feel the warm, professional atmosphere. Without even talking to someone, you know these people know what they're talking about. Which leads to the fact that it seems every single one of their staffers knows, in deep detail, about all of their beers. You ask what examples of any style they have on tap/bottle, they will name them without blinking. Not only that, the courteous service they provide is honestly second to none, that signature midwestern hospitality shows through. The crack fries must be sprinkled with it, and their humus was also the best i've had. The prices are spot on with the quality of beer they have.

If you're a homebrewer as well, they are more than happy to talk about brewing and what they're up to. Talking through brewing with them was another highlight of the night.

Also, to repeat a review before mine, a special shoutout to Steve - he was amazingly gracious, hospitable, and he is the perfect example of how personalized service really makes it no matter where you go.

My wife, dad and friends havent stopped raving about going to HopCat, and next time we are here in the area we will absolutely be going back. I havent been to the #1/2 beer bars in the world, but they really must be fantastic to top this.
-vt (1,702 characters)

Photo of SlowCentury
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is a beautiful old watering hole which I miss very dearly. I since had an opportunity to stop in during a visit home recently, and this time could fully appreciate it. The appearance is very well kept and classy, but not to the point where you feel out of place in jeans and a t-shirt, it is a place to drink beer after all. They offer a remarkable selection of beer without being redundant and still highlighting that sweet Michigan brew that I miss so much. I've been to bars with twice as many taps that still end up boring me with their selection. Not the case here. This is any beer lover's dream come true. Service is decent, pretty average, but the front of the house is genuinely friendly which goes a long way for me. Good upscale bar food to top things off. I used to eat lunch there somewhat often while I lived in GR so that says something considering all the close competition for the style. Overall, I have no trouble seeing why HopCat got the honor of being rated BA's #3 beer bar in the world. Well done. (1,025 characters)

Photo of krz001
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I love this place! The staff is great, the food is wonderful, and the beer is awesome.

I love that their beer menu always changes. When you're a regular, the bartenders know exactly what you like and what beer you need to try because it's likely the last one you had there is no longer on tap.

I enjoy that the environment is very laid back and it's the place that douche bags stay away from because it isn't a night club where they can easily hit on drunk girls. Everyone there to enjoy beer and talk to others about what they're drinking. (543 characters)

Photo of mjvos
4.83/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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. (982 characters)

Photo of swanson45
4.58/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I went here on an afternoon while on vacation. The staff was very knowledgeable and gave good recommendations. They could speak at a level for a beer snob and for someone who just wants to try something good or different. We were able to create our own beer flights which was great because they had a huge selection. It appears they have good events since the next day they were going to have a special dogfish head draught night. I recommend vacationing on Lake Michigan and take a trip to HopCat bar, Founders' Taproom, and New Holland brewing Company's pub while you are there. (580 characters)

Photo of redmount23
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

There is a reason why this is the best beer bar in America. Beer City USA is riding the backs of the glorious people that work at this amazing establishment. Every time my wife and I walk in those doors on Ionia in Grand Rapids we are met with open arms. This is the kind of treatment that everyone should get when walking into a bar or restaurant. We will be back for years to come.

Oh and their beer list is SPECTACULAR! And let the shout outs commence! The knowledge of their brewers (Bobby and Ernie) and their beer buyer (Trevor) as well as their Head Kitten (Allison) accompanies 48 beers on draft with one cask is the best around. We usually sample most of their beers over a two day period and start getting into a beautiful bottle list as well. The food is above average bar food. Can anyone say crack fries? The secret ingredient is love and sugar perhaps? If you are within 300 miles of this place and appreciate a well thought out beer menu and a uber personal staff this is the place to come.

I am already planning our next visit in March sometime. We missed this spot as soon as we left town. (1,110 characters)

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.