HopCat confirms Royal Oak craft beer bar will open in 2017

Posted at 10:52 AM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 10:52:15-04

Downtown Royal Oak will soon be home to another hot spot. HopCat has confirmed to 7 Action News the craft beer bar and restaurant will take over the space at 208 W. 5th Avenue that currently houses Woody's and Onyx Steakhouse. 

7 Action News first reported on the move Wednesday.

Employees of the business were informed by text message on Tuesday that October 2nd would be their last day of employment.

A liquor license transfer for HopCat Royal Oak LLC is currently pending, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website. 

“Royal Oak is a city with a lot of soul – from cool shops, restaurants and nightlife, to its great neighborhoods,” said Mark Sellers, founder of HopCat and CEO of 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 three-story space will have a rooftop beer garden, unique design and have room for private events.

"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," Sellers said.

The popular bar is known for its "crack fries" and massive selection of craft beers -- more than 100 are on tap at locations that include Midtown Detroit and Ann Arbor.

HopCat first opened in Grand Rapids and now has 10 locations. Company representatives would not confirm the new Royal Oak location when asked about it on Wednesday.

Tony Conoscenti was at a restaurant and bar across the street from the Royal Oak spot when he learned of HopCat's plan to open a location in Royal Oak. 

"Anything that brings jobs to Michigan, brings people to Michigan, brings light on Michigan a good way is a good thing," Conoscenti told 7 Action News.

"I'm not from here originally but now that I'm here, I love the brewery scene and everything that goes on here and all the different places to eat," he said. "I think it's a great idea. I will definitely go there if they bring it."

The first HopCat opened in Grand Rapids in 2008. The company now has 10 locations in multiple states with two additional openings set for later this year.

Hiring for the management team is underway, and anyone interested may email a resume to HopCat will begin hiring the more than 130 hourly employees early next year.