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Active Beers: 40
Beer Ratings: 229
Beer Avg: 3.83
Taps: 48 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
25 Ionia SW
phone: (616) 451-4677
Rated #3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine.
Hours 11:30 AM - 2 AM seven days a week.
In-house brewing system up and running as of January 2009.
Large outdoor patio open year-round.
(Place added by: hopcatgr on 01-06-2008)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 182 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
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!
06-29-2008 05:53:07 |
More by andythejerk
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Stopped by Grand Rapids overnight and the BA Forum seemed to have a resounding "HopCat is a Must!". I whole heartedly agree with them.
I stopped in right around 6:00pm on a Tuesday. Busy, but not standing room only. Being solo, I grabbed a seat at the bar, and was given a menu right away. The bar is a graceful old school curvy wood bar, elegant and classy. This place isn't a dive bar by any means. Tigers game on the tube. Tables were all full, so you might have to wait a while.
Excellent selection of beers on tap, all styles except the Wild/Sour ales represented. There were a few Jolly Pumpkins, but not the sour stuff. Oh well. Bartender offered a few tasters, and they were friendly. However, they got to be chatty with certain people so several people seated near me (and including me) went with empty glasses several times. They also forgot what I ordered for beer, and for food. Same with the guy next to me.
Perused the bottle list, good set of Michigan and East Coast beers. Still no love for the sours.
Got a cheese sandwich with came with the Crack Fries. No descriptor of the crack fries, so I figured they would be doused in gravy and covered with bacon and chili haha. Not so much, just an interesting seasoning on them. Food arrived fairly quick.
If you are in Grand Rapids, this is only a short walk from Founders, so be sure to stop by both.
08-19-2009 21:12:55 |
More by mrkrispy
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
09-15-2008 01:46:57 |
More by MDekker
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Great vibey place in downtown grand rapids. The selection of beers, especially on tap, is hard to top. Slightly Michigan-centric, but they have a little of anything. Besides a lot of the Michigan breweries are pumping out some great beers so there is nothing wrong with this hometown bias. The service was completely adequate, and the food was in no way insulting. The setting and most importantly, the world-class tap selection, is what would bring me back. If you are in the area, stop by, it will not disappoint.
12-02-2008 16:44:15 |
More by SwiftyMcBeer
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
A: HopCat exemplifies the current gentrification of downtown GR, boasting turn-of-the-century architecture that has been renovated to contemporary style. Bar is as beautiful as it is large. The small batch system at the end of the bar is the icing on the cake, letting you know that this place is 100% about beer.
Q: the design of the bar screams quality. The fact that they pair each offering with an appropriate glass does the same. Quality is definitely one of HopCat's main objectives.
S: servers are quick to spot an empty glass, and have an admirable knowledge of craft beer. I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but the staff is constantly sampling what is on tap to ensure their knowledge of the product.
S: simply listing a number doesn't do them justice. Yes, they have a long beer list, but not a single tap is wasted. redundancies are limited to ensure that as many styles are offered as possible. They also try to offer as many local brews as possible. It is obvious that they are proud to be a part of Michigan's beer scene. On a side note, they also have one of the best whiskey selections I have come across.
F: the food is good, using fresh ingredients and quality craftsmanship. Most of what is offered is pub food, albeit above average pub food.
P: this is a finicky area, depending on how picky you are. Their specials are outstanding, if you are willing to accept their special beer. Their prices on most brews are within the average range, though the belgian offerings are a touch high for draft. This is compensated by the fact that most other places only have these beers in the bottle, and are therefore far more expensive. Overall, I feel that I am getting my money's worth here.
06-07-2010 20:41:36 |
More by Avagadro
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $
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!!
05-01-2008 04:14:46 |
More by drxandy
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Directly on Ionia Street with parking lot on the side and street parking. Clean brick and wood older building with bar on right and tables in front and on the left. Forty plus taps with list on chalk board on wall. All were drinkable brews with many Michigan selections. Freindly bartender and staff with good knowledge. They have brewing equipment for future brewing operation. Interesting selection of distilled products. Reviewed good menu, but did not have food. Interesting location and well worth the visit if you are within an hours drive of Grand Rapids.
01-18-2009 01:14:04 |
More by tmoneyba
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
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.
04-25-2011 21:00:52 |
More by jkrich
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
What a classy beer bar!
I have had the pleasure of being here around 5 times and I can't say enough. The price is a little on the high side, but the quality of brew is sick. They have a ton of Michigan brews + a wide range of others that make them one of the premier bars on the planet.
The atmosphere is plush with a lot of wood-bar, tables, that make it seam plush without being cold. Great windows in the day time to light up the bar.
The taps go on foreva! Such great selection of beer that ranges to every style, and not the normal ones you usually see. Price is up there, but worth the experience IMO.
Food is solid, especially when you get it on special + one of their own beers they brew(which are solid).
Can't wait to come back!
11-19-2011 04:21:16 |
More by JDizzle
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
Wow. What an overrated place! Not to say that HopCat doesn't have potential, but this place is anything but one of the top beer spots in the world.
We visited on 3-31-12 around 5:00 PM with a group of 10. Upon entering, we saw that this place looked pretty cool - the space is big and open, and it has charm. Cool vintage posters on the ceiling and a cool bar. Not a bad atmosphere at all, aside from the lack of any standing room and the constant seat-hawkers two people deep behind the bar stools.
The beers they make at HopCat are really average at best. We tried a BBL Strong ale that was pretty good, but the IPA (Hoppopotomus?) was a diacetyl bomb and the Irish stout was also very jagged around the edges. They were in the middle of 'cider fest' apparently and had 15 taps of cider. No worries, still had a broad selection, but I found it to be rather boring. Sure 15 more beer taps could have made a difference, but I hope they still had their best stuff on. I really enjoyed a few Paw Paw beers, but the house stuff and the Shorts beers were mediocre at best. Not to mention that the IPA really should not have been poured in a world class bar, let alone at a pub where the butter bombs are made on site. This place can't hang with Belmont in PDX, Brouwers in Seattle, Torornado or a few others I've been fortunate enough to drink in.
The service was also average. The waiter was more of a "runner" than a server. He never asked us what we liked, he just took orders. Not a personable experience at all, and it was pretty crappy turnaround. We started ordering the next beer half-way into the current and that made it work better. BY FAR my biggest complaint about HopCat is the outdated lists. Their website was horribly out of date and the bottle list would take 3-4 tries to actually get something. For a world class beer bar, the tap list on the website should be accurate as of that morning. Not a single beer on the site was there, and there was no mention of cider fest on the site. Now, on to the bottle list. If you're going to offer bottles, have them in stock. Two people in our group had to order 3 times to get a "hit". It's OK if some things are not available in the interest of not printing too many replacement lists, but the server should know what's in stock and what's not. Not only did this server NOT know, he would take 15 minutes to come back empty handed. He never made a suggestion and, I'm sorry, but if I came back empty handed I would go straight back for your next request, I wouldn't put you to the back of the line. Not to mention several misprints, including a $30 bottle that was 1/3 of the size advertised. To me, a world class beer bar has knowledgeable servers and creates a great experience. This was more frustrating than anything.
Selection was pretty good. Like 40 or 50 taps and 100+ bottles *although many of the bottles were not in stock* and the server did not know what was and what wasn't.
The food here is average at best. We started with "crack fries". For $4 a plate, we got maybe 20 seasoned french fries. They were tasty but very skimpy in portion. I ordered a Reuben wrap that was minuscule, my buddy ordered a medium rare burger that was well done. My friend who ordered the bacon red pepper mac and cheese probably choose the most wisely. My food was tasty but this place is very much glorified bar food, not a gastropub by any means.
The price was reasonable, probably $5 a pint - had a nice amount of beer and dinner for around $30 pre-tip. But here's the thing - I'm happy to pay $10 a pint for the experience of being in a world-class place. TO me that means smart, friendly, educated servers. NO BAD BEER at all. And updated lists. After all, we can't enjoy what you don't tell us.
I'm going back this year and will hit HopCat again with my wife, but we ended up leaving and heading back to Founders this particular night. This place was really average at best, and easily the most overrated/dissapointing beer bar I've been to EVER. Hope it redeems itself. I'll update this if it does.
04-01-2012 21:07:22 |
More by jampics2
HopCat in Grand Rapids, MI
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