HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids ranks as one of the top beer bars in both the world and nation. Photo via fb.com
A local restaurant and bar chain is expanding its presence in the state.
BarFly Ventures said it plans to open a $3.5 million, three-story HopCat concept in Royal Oak, at 208 W. 5th St., in early 2017. It would be the chain’s 13th location and sixth location in Michigan.
The investment is a partnership between BarFly and the building’s landlord, Innovo Development Group.
The opening is pending a liquor license transfer, as well as other permitting.
“Royal Oak is a city with a lot of soul — from cool shops, restaurants and nightlife to its great neighborhoods,” said Mark Sellers, founder and CEO, BarFly Ventures. “I don’t like cookie-cutter places, so those who have visited HopCat Detroit or another location will find a different vibe in Royal Oak.”
The first floor of the new 11,700-square-foot location is expected to feature 130 beer taps, while the second floor would feature the Local 30, a selection of 30 beers made in the area.
Private event space and a rooftop beer garden are also included in the plans.
“We’re already working hard to design the region’s best beer garden on the rooftop,” Sellers said. “We think the beer garden will be one of the most unique places in metro Detroit to hang out and enjoy some drinks with friends.”
Current building tenant
The building’s current tenant, Woody’s and Onyx, will close in early October, with employees given the first chance to apply for jobs at the new HopCat.
The chain expects to have an hourly workforce of 130 employees at the location.
Hiring for HopCat Royal Oak begins in October.
“I want to thank our loyal employees and guests for making Woody’s and Onyx part of their lives,” said Tony Kasab, owner, Woody’s and Onyx. “We had a great run, but I know HopCat will bring a new vitality to the building and downtown.”
BarFly Ventures was founded in 2008 with the opening of HopCat’s original location in Grand Rapids.
The HopCat brand has since expanded with a number of other locations opened or planned: Kalamazoo, East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit; Chicago; Indianapolis; Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky; Lincoln, Nebraska; Madison, Wisconsin; and Kansas City, Missouri.
Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures also includes other Grand Rapids restaurants and bars: Grand Rapids Brewing Co., Stella’s Lounge and The Waldron Public House.