Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Bar chain plans second West Michigan location

March 31, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Bar expands into college town
HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids ranks as one of the top beer bars in both the world and nation. Photo via

A bar chain is planning to open its second location in the region.

A week after its announcement of HopCat Chicago, Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures, a restaurant and bar company, said that it plans to open HopCat Kalamazoo at a historic train depot, at 427 E. Michigan Ave.

HopCat Kalamazoo is slated to open this fall.

The location will be the fifth HopCat in Michigan and 11th in the nation.

“Kalamazoo is one of the best cities in America for craft beer, thanks to the legendary Larry Bell and the entrepreneurial spirit of the city’s brewing community,” said Mark Sellers, HopCat founder and BarFly Ventures CEO. “Bringing HopCat to the depot will help further establish downtown Kalamazoo as a Midwest hub for craft beer lovers.”

The location

HopCat will invest about $2 million in the 7,942-square-foot space within the train depot.

The bar will seat about 300 people, including outdoor seating along the railroad track.

HopCat Kalamazoo will feature 100 taps, with at least 40 dedicated to Michigan beers.

Bell’s Brewery and Arcadia Ales are both within walking distance.

The depot’s property manager, PlazaCorp Realty Advisors, will fill out the rest of the building with other tenants.


Since its founding in Grand Rapids in 2008, HopCat has garnered a variety of top beer bar awards both nationally and internationally.

In September 2015, HopCat received an investment from a Texas-based investment firm. With the investment, HopCat plans to open 30 locations within five years, with a focus on Midwest college towns.

HopCat Kalamazoo will joins 10 other HopCat locations: Grand Rapids; East Lansing; Ann Arbor; Detroit; Chicago; Indianapolis; Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky; Madison, Wisconsin; and Lincoln, Nebraska. 

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