Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

HopCat closes Chicago location

February 5, 2019
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HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids ranks as one of the top beer bars in both the world and nation. Photo by Adam Bird

A West Michigan beer bar chain has receded from its Chicago territory.

HopCat announced yesterday the closure of its Chicago bar and restaurant at 2577 Clark St.

The announcement was made on the Chicago location’s Facebook page.

“For the past several years, it has been our pleasure to share great craft beer and made-from-scratch food with Chicago. It is with regret that we announce the closure of this HopCat location,” the company said on Facebook.

Joe Sonheim, a spokesperson for BarFly Ventures, the parent of HopCat, told the Business Journal the primary reason for HopCat’s closure was the location.

Sonheim said the Lincoln Park District, where HopCat Chicago was situated, is not well known for being a bar district, and consequentially, HopCat struggled to gain foot traffic. He also cited the lack of convenient parking as a reason for the closure.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” Sonheim said. “If you look at the district, you’ll see it doesn’t work well for about any restaurant.”

BarFly, however, has not given up on Chicago, Sonheim said, and he pictures the possibility of HopCat Chicago re-opening in a more feasible neighborhood.

“Chicago, while being our biggest market, definitely has a love for great craft beer,” Sonheim said. “It’s definitely not off the table.”

BarFly formally announced its plan to open in Chicago in the summer of 2016, the Business Journal previously reported.

The Chicago location promised 130 beers and hard ciders on tap, including more than 50 Illinois-made beers on tap every day, and more than 200 beers and hard ciders in bottles and cans and a "full" food menu.

Sonheim added that HopCat will open its Holland location within the next couple of months.

The new location will be at 84 W. 8th St. and be part of Sperry’s Movie House and Retail Suites, a mixed-used development by Geenen DeKock Properties, the Business Journal previously reported.

Sonheim declined to offer details about future out-of-state openings.

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