The short version is that it's everything you thought it would be. Hopcat has created a classy beer joint with staggering beer choices and plenty of tactful nods to Detroit's homegrown culture. It's comfy, classy, and tailor-made to be a hit with the young professional cohort.
The VIP opening, which ran from 5 to 10 p.m. last night, got off to an early start. By 6 p.m., almost all the bar seats were taken, the joint was crowded, and there was already a wait at the door. The staff seemed determined to do their best, whether it was ferrying drinks out to the tables from the 160 taps or suggesting a plate of the joint's "crack fries," beer-battered and herb-dusted fries that are something like curly fries given a straightening (and, yeah, you can add warm beer cheese sauce for extra decadence).
The art on the walls genuflects gracefully to Detroit's music culture. In the corner we sat in, we gazed upon portraits of Alice Cooper, Stevie Wonder, and John Lee Hooker. Somebody obviously was thinking, and found an ingratiating way to appeal to Detroit's vital sense of locality.
By 8 p.m., after a few tulip glasses of Farm Hand French Style Farmhouse Ale (thank you, Grand Rapids), we were ready to head home, and the opening was such a success it took about a minute to jam through the crowds waiting for their wristbands. (Hit those VIP openings early, kids!) It seems obvious anybody going tonight can expect a similar experience. Cheers!