HopCat

Not Rated.
HopCatHopCat
BEER AVG
3.83/5
Based on:
36 Beers
202 Ratings
Place Score: 100
Ratings: 352
Reviews: 204
rAvg: 4.56
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 352 | Reviews: 204
Photo of TheSamKuehn
4.76/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

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.

Photo of jim102864
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.01/5  rDev -12.1%
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 Fluffheady
3.48/5  rDev -23.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 1.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25

The bar is BEAUTIFUL. The decor is off the charts. The beer selection is great. The staff and patrons ruin it.

Lots of douchebags. On both sides of the bar. On one particular visit (with a group of people that has a lot of industry experience) we asked for a taste of 2 beers. The girl behind the bar told us ’they are basically the same’. We still asked for the tastes anyway, and they were very, very different. This was after waiting more than 10 minutes for one of the 5 bartenders behind the bar to even acknowledge our presence. It was a moderately busy Friday evening ( I have been here in several times, so I’m not just basing this one visit). The bartenders had their backs to the customers, and they were gathered around a phone. When we finished our first round, we waited another 10 minutes with empty glasses before the bartenders turned around. The guy looked super annoyed that we asked for a beer. Same experience when ordering the second round.

I have 2 words for this place. Over it.

If I were the owner, I would ruffle some serious feathers. This staff sucks. If the bartenders could do their jobs, I could have given this place a near perfect rating.

Photo of david131
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I went up to the HopCat with bmoney575 during a beer weekend. We were both intrigued to see what the 3rd best beer bar on the plant was about. The place is beautiful inside with a bunch of paintings hung from the ceiling and a big tap list on the wall. The decor of the place was also stunning. I loved how it wasn't smokey. The service was pretty good, it didn't blow me away, but he was very attentive. The waiter seemed to be unsure of some of the stuff they may of had on tap, but that is understandable with a list as big as theirs. The food was very good, I really enjoyed the turkey reuben and the crack fries. Overall, the tap list was good, but it seems to me that Ashley's has a bit more- especially of the crazier rarer stuff. Some of the cooler beers on tap were Stone 11th Anniversary, Dark Horse Rod, Ommegang Three Philosophers, Bell's Hopslam, Stone Double Bastard, Founders Curmudgeon, Flying Dog Barleywine... They really seemed to focus on the bigger beers. The prices were also next to all the beers on the menu, which was nice for once. I was kind of surprised with the lack of Jolly Pumpkin, Kuhnhenn, and lack taps from Bell's or Founders. Overall, it was a worthwhile visit, and I will definitely go again when I am in the area.

Photo of neckbracesub
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited during the cold days of early February, 2013.

I had read about the astounding reputation of this craft bar a few weeks before we were set to make our trip up to Grand Rapids. I knew we should probably make it a point to stop in, so we did late on a Friday night. Needless to say, we were waiting outside for a good while before we could even get inside. This place is incredibly, incredibly popular.

The atmosphere is just about perfect. High ceilings, bustling business, and about as much seating as they can cramp into such a constantly packed house are distributed throughout.

The service was about as prompt as it could possibly be for having such a high volume of patrons at one time.

The selection of all sorts of styles of craft beer is truly remarkable and reason enough to go here. I was pleasantly surprised to find Dogfish Head's 120 Minute IPA on the bottle list. I was quick to order one of those, no doubt.

It can be a bit pricey, but some of the rare finds on the menu more than make up for it.

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

3rd stop on my great midwest brewery tour.

A beer bar and very small brewery located in downtown Grand Rapids. I came in here on a Sunday evening about 7PM. It was about 3/4 full. The atmosphere is that of a darkened pub. 48 taps plus one cask. They were having a Jazz jam which I believe they have every Sunday evening.

The menu highlights the beers from Michigan which is really cool. The beer selection is outstanding. All top notch stuff with an emphasis on American craft. They have a very small brewery in the back where they make a few different beers themselves. The prices are great as well. There is a chalkboard behind the bar that shows what kegs have kicked since the menu was printed as well as what kegs are on deck.

Food was very good, I had a burger and it was outstanding.

This place is highly recommended. Grand Rapids is very lucky to have this place and Founders within walking distance of each other.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.65/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Nestled in downtown Grand Rapids, this bar is on the corner of the street and looks pretty cool from the outside.

Walking in, the place looks awesome. Bottles everywhere, old church pews with big tables, an outdoor patio, paintings hanging from the ceiling, a huge bar, etc. Very cool atmosphere.

My brother-in-law, father, and myself only had a short time here as it was a quick stop on our way up to Traverse City. There was a great tap list (though I will admit nothing was too crazy on it – was hoping for some legit sours or other crazy stouts but most were just run of the mill (though solid).

The food was damn good and I enjoyed my BBQ chicken sandwich thoroughly with a Short’s Huma. A very enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to go back and enjoy some more of their good food and beers.

Photo of adamette
5/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Based on a visit there 10 18 09 at its noon opening time. This is the limited note that I took at the time: World class environment, people, very good food, cellar with bottles with emphasis on craft, imports, Spoke with Timm Merill, the Chancelor of HopCat. The rest of my comments are from my memory which is still very clear to me.

Atmosphere I cannot recommend an improvement. Long bar on the right as you enter and seating for probably 200 in a modern but very comfortable jazz era high ceiling downtown feel of a place. Bar stools were particularly large (I like that!) and tap and bar fixtures were appropriate dark, heavy metal, etc. There was good inclusion of the HopCat signage but it was not overwhelming. There were lots of posters advertising beer but, also, as I recall, other forms of alcohol. Everything was class in this place. Oh, Timm brought my wife and I down to the cellar during our visit too. Man that was cool to see the kegs, actively connected to the bar above, in action. I even saw that a few of the kegs had "for HopCat" written on them, probably by brewery staff. So the upstairs was all class and the cellar was like a dream. 5.0

Quality The highest. HopCat has ultimate respect for beer. This is not limited to simply the selection, which is world class, but in how it is presented.

Service Really nice. Our bartender was patient, informative and when she had the time (early in our visit...it really hopped after about 1 pm) was talkative and interactive. Of course being taken down to the Cellar was an unexpected plus as well.

Selection This cannot be improved in my opinion. The best part of the selection was the beers that HopCat brewed themselves. I had the sublime Pel Kwint and Kwin Tel and a third HopCat selection that I cannot recall at this time. At least the Pel Kwint surpassed any of the guest beers that they had on tap and that is saying something since that day I also had: Chocolate Starfish, Sorachi Ace, Final Absolution Dragonmead, Shorts Huma Lupa Licious, Bacchus Flemish Red Ale, Shorts Black Cherry Porter and Shorts Soft Parade. 5.0

Food Did not have any food. That is too bad because everything looked like it was probably excellent. We had just gone to the Omelet Factory in Grand Rapids that morning for breakfast.

Value Very good I thought but probably just reasonable (I was so giddy about being in the place that I thought any price would be too low).

Photo of mgbickel
4.66/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

If you are anywhere near the Grand Rapids area, this is a must stop. Pretty much around the corner from Founders makes it a great piggyback trip.

Hopcat is located inside an old, restored building in the heart of GR. You enter into a skinny room that houses lots of tables and a long bar down the left side. Classic pub decor fills the room. The rear of the building is dedicated to brewing where the equipment can be seen behind glass.

They have a wonderful draft selection which can be found on daily (?) updated menus. They also have a great bottle selection for dine in or take out. I think they have almost everything MI gets...with the locals highlighting the lineup.

The staff seemed to be knowledgeable...I watched many pours and everything seemed to go into correct glassware. My only complaint is that they would not give out a sample (you could PURCHASE a sample). Said it is against MI law...hmmmm

I went in here with high expectations and they were met. Don't miss an opportunity to experience this place!

Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

My first stop in Grand Rapids had to be HopCat. It is a good craft beer bar, possibly great craft beer bar, but top 3 in the world? Just do not know about that. No trouble getting a spot at the bar on a weekday evening. Probably half full as the numbers ebbed and flowed as time passed. The atmosphere was good but there were a few drunks and douchebags making noise as well as giving me the evil eye. Service was prompt and friendly. I must of been a friendly face as I kept getting the free mispours. Most of the staff is well inked and pierced. The staff is hard on glassware as I lost count of the number of broken glasses after 90 minutes. The selection is great well weighted for the hop heads, at least during my visit. I did not come close to trying everything I wanted to try during my visit. I did notice with a tap lineup as large as this, many people had a hard time deciding. Maybe too much of a good thing. The food was good but nothing I would go out of my way for.

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

Service can be better, but the selection of beer is AMAZING!!!

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

Been here many times, but never got around to reviewing it on here.
On the outside, its really not much to look at, but once you step in, you know you are in the right place. Not a huge place, but has a cozy and chill atmosphere with scattered tables and a rather nice looking bar.
This day in particular I went for dinner and had their Cheddar Ale Soup which almost made me cry it was so good. I will come back again again just for that soup, but at the same time, this place is really about the beer. Great selection both bottles and on-tap. You can always count on them having something really special on a regular basis.
A superb place that is an absolute necessary visit whenever I am in Grand Rapids.

Photo of tpd975
4.53/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in during my Indiana trip.

Real cool location. Nice bar with tons of tables. The building itself is nice with very nice restrooms. We went after an assortment of appetizers for a snack and all were tasty. Above your normal bar fare for sure.

The online beer list was a bit outdated but the waitress was great. She knew exactly what had been killed and what new offerings were on tap. I ordered a ton of beers and a million more 2 ounce samples (one dollar each). I love an educated waitstaff and our waitress was really on top of things.

The draft list was real nice. They had it broken down by category and the selection was nice with offering from all parts of the US and beyond. The bottle list was nice as well. I went after several of the B. Nektar Meads which I had never heard of before.

Overall a real nice spot. Falls a bit short of Founder's which I thought was an absolute gem. That being said if I am ever within a hundred miles of Grand Rapids I will stop by the hopcat again, and you should as well.

Photo of Stigs
4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Stopped here during a recent MI trip, after spending some time at Founders and New Holland.

Saturday night, busy, crowd seemed on the young (my age or so) side. Got seats at the bar after talking to a friendly local couple who were heading out soon. Thank you!

To the good stuff - though we had just missed the Barrel Aged event, there was still a good amount of stuff from it on the massive list. Didnt even make it to the bottles, but had: Shorts BA Black Sustenance, GI Imperial Goose, Oak- Aged Widdershins, and something else I cant recall. Everything served in appropriate glassware and good temps.

Food - we were just snacking and got some corn dogs and crack fries. CRACK FRIES. loved them, and the horseradish mustard dipping sauce that came with the corn dogs. ohmygod. I will crave these until my next trip to MI.

Service - I dont recall much but we got served rather quickly, everyone was friendly, and accurate. Nothing more to say but thank you!

Long story short, I got pretty tipsy (had a DD). Drank some fantastic beers, talked to many friendly patrons. Hands down one of if not the best beer bar I've ever been to. Will stop again for sure.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.53/5  rDev -0.7%
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 jale
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

What more can you say about this place. Great tap selections and great bottle list. The staff here are friendly and if you have a question they don't know they will ask someone who does. The food here is just amazing. Everyone knows the crack fries are awesome. The burgers are just as great, the best burgers around. They have a cheese ale soup which must be tried. I can easily see why this is one of the best beer bars in the country. On the weekends during the busy hours the service can be slow, but that is to be expected. Mark has done a fantastic job making this place shine. This is a must stop place when you come to Michigan.

Photo of Flabbyjandro
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Rock solid bar. Food was spectacular, not your standard fired bar food in the least. Selection was a good 25+ beers on tap as well as a huge to go selection. Staff was very friendly and knowledgable. Steve is the man, hooked it up, that's all I can say.

The atmosphere is very chill with some tvs to watch your sports and plenty of tables and bar space.

Next time I'm in town to hit up Founders, Hopcat will make the must stop list. Check it out, you won't be disappointed! Unless you hate craft beer and a full stomach.

Photo of Gotti311
3.68/5  rDev -19.3%
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 coldriver
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

We visited the night of June 24th after an easy walk over from Founder's. The first thing I noticed about this place was the great Hopcat sign over the door of their "black cat holding a beer" logo - it's really fits the vibe of this place. The Interior has beautiful classy woodwork and the vibe is relaxed and "right". It's classy without being pretentious. Being from Texas and not having much experience with what is considered rare in Michigan I can't honestly say how unique their taplist is, but I can say that after giving my bartender my style preferences that his recommendations hit it perfectly. I did not have any food but it certainly looked good. Prices are reasonable.

Photo of 98green
4.23/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Place was jammed on Thursday at 6. Bartenders are knowledgeable but overworked. Service tends on the slow side, but only because of all the people. The tenders are hustling. The beer selections are solid and the pricing is fair.

Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Came here on Mother's Day. It was very accommodating.

Our server was excellent and very good.

Beer selection was fantastic.

Food was a little salty for my taste, but nonetheless very well.

This place is worth every penny.

Great times at HopCat I can't wait to return!

Photo of ffejherb
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

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!

Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Stopped by here on my first brewery tour of michigan earlier this month. Hit founders first then walked over to Hopcat. I had read a lot of great things about this place and their amazing beer selection, I couldn't wait to check it out. Probably got there at around 7 on a Friday night and had to wait for a seat at the bar (not too long though). The place was jumping. Really good atmosphere. Good engergy in the place. I like that. I like when I go to a place and it feels like people are having a good time (if that makes any sense). My gf and I get a couple menus and are blown away by the selection of what is on tap. I decided to try short's smores stout and the gf a couple pumpkin ales. I regret to say I did not sample any of hopcats own brews but fully intend to on my next trip up. I also decided to order some crack fries that I have read about in reviews on yelp and such. Pretty good...but cheese and bacon make everything better. We hung out here for a little over an hour and had a great experience. Like I said, the place was jumping...but service was exceptional. Had multiple bartenders ask if everything was good, do we need anything, etc. My only regrets are not trying one of the in house beers and not sample more off of their draftlist. Overall, one of the better brewpubs I have ever visited. Will always go back if in grand rapids.

Photo of ndekke39
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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.

HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
100 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.