I know you've been waiting. Wipe the crusty eye boogers from your tired eyes, HopCat is finally here, and it's as fantastic as advertised. Okay so maybe they don't advertise it as fantastic, but they may as well.
Hearing that Detroit was going to be having its very own HopCat earlier this year was one of the highlights of my year ... alright, I don't have much to look forward to, I'm sorry. Really though, when I visited HopCat in Grand Rapids for the first time last December, I was impressed not only with the massive beer list containing "been there, done that" year-round brews and of course the "whalezbro" bourbon barreled beers kissed and made by Jesus himself, but also with the food.
This HopCat location is going to be a Detroit staple for years and years -- I honestly see no reason to believe it wouldn't be. While I'm not too high on its location (next to a McDonald's in Midtown, where there's not a ton going on at the moment), the restoration of Detroit will likely soon put it smack dab in the middle of a thriving city. I admit, even I rolled my eyes with the last bit of that previous sentence, but who knows, right?
The building itself is gorgeous -- it's a fairly old building with some history, but it's been renovated almost top to bottom with only a few original bits left in to give it an antique-ish feel that's definitely a different look compared to the original HopCat. The Huma Room (named after one of Michigan's best IPAs ... if you don't know what it is, please slag off) doesn't look as awesome/unique, but it hosts bands regularly, and thats the floor's main draw. I'm not sure if bands perform only on certain days or what, but I'm a fan of live music in a bar... especially when the bar is two floors, and its possible to -- in this case -- go downstairs if you don't want to listen to some jam-diggities. Considering it's icy as all hell outside, they aren't letting anyone in the beer garden right now, but I imagine it being an awesome spot to drink a doesn't-taste-like-piss beer before a Red Wing playoff game or Tiger game next Spring/Summer.
HopCat has too many pros to count. First of all ... every tap is a pro. If you want some bladder juice urine trouble, because every tap here is dedicated to craft beer. It'll likely be Michigan-centric, but I definitely expect to see dozens of "fancy beers" on-tap from around the world. At the grand opening, there were well over 100 craft brews from one of my personal favorite breweries, Short's. If you want to try a beer that'll make you ask, "What? This is a beer? Really?" and then say, "Damn, that's good!", you'll like Short's. There are also 30 taps in the Huma Room on the second floor, HopCat's Facebook page said, bringing the total taps at HopCat Detroit to 150. If you can't find a beer that interests you on their tap list at any given time, you shouldn't be drinking beer.
The food is everything you'd expect if you've visited another HopCat location... well above average and much better than your typical bar. They feature some amped up bar classics, as well as some eclectic creations you may not have even known existed. Of course, HopCat isn't just a "typical bar." It's an experience. It's a place that welcomes anybody of any background. So long as you're 18ish (or preferably 21), you'll love HopCat and not feel out of place.
The service here is surprisingly good for a place that has just opened up. It's not perfect, but I wouldn't expect it to be right at opening with the building packed and the employees just getting started. Still, it seems as though the owners have gotten it right. I'll be wanting to visit HopCat just about any time I'm in Detroit. I'm not looking forward to the likely inevitable 60 minute waits just about any time I go, but it'll be worth it.
Now make like a tree and LEAVE! I'll see you at HopCat.