Bar taps into college town


HopCat Madison will be the bar's sixth location, opening in June 2015. Photo via

A bar is expanding deeper into the Midwest by moving into one of the region’s largest college towns.

HopCat Wisconsin

BarFly Ventures said yesterday that it plans to open a 350-seat HopCat Madison in the Wisconsin capital, at 222 W. Gorham St. The project must still be passed by city officials.

BarFly will invest about $2.3 million into the project, which should open next June.

The bar will create upwards of 175 jobs and is hiring “an experienced management team,” with a call for applicants.

HopCat Madison is set to feature Wisconsin’s largest selection of craft beer with 130 taps, largely dedicated to Wisconsin craft beer.

“I’ve long been impressed with the Wisconsin craft beer scene and the state’s brewing heritage, so when the opportunity arose to open HopCat Madison in a spot between the State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin, it was a chance I couldn’t pass up,” said Mark Sellers, owner, BarFly Ventures.

BarFly Ventures is the parent company of the various HopCats across the Midwest, as well as several establishments in downtown Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids Brewing Co., McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon and Stella’s Lounge.

HopCat chain

HopCat opened on Ionia Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids in 2008 and is on pace to operate six locations.

The second location opened in East Lansing in 2013, and the third location opened in August in Indianapolis.

The Detroit location is slated to open later this month, and HopCat Ann Arbor is readying for a January opening.

Since 2008, HopCat has been listed among the world’s best beer bars in publications such as,, Draft Magazine, and 

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