Report: HopCat To Open In Royal Oak

ROYAL OAK (CBS Detroit) It hasn’t been officially announced, but WXYZ-TV says HopCat is opening its newest hot spot in downtown Royal Oak.

The purveyor of addictive crack fries will only say “it’s correct to say we’re considering another metro Detroit location.”

Spokesman Chris Knape added there are a lot of steps that need to happen before the craft beer restaurant can reveal its choice for the next metro Detroit location.

He confirms they’ve taken “some preliminary steps,” but adds “We often take steps towards opening new locations and sometimes those steps don’t lead to a new location.”

WXYZ is reporting HopCat will take over what is currently Woody’s and Onyx Steakhouse at 208 W. 5th Avenue, part of the downtown triangle packed with partiers on an average weekend night. Nearby are Fifth Avenue and O’Toole’s.

“We don’t have any connection to the owner of Woody’s,” Knape said, though WXYZ reports employees were told by text that Oct. 2nd would be their last day of employment. Woody’s did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

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

At nearby O’Toole’s, bartender Adrienne Davis said staff was shocked at the news about longstanding Woody’s potentially becoming something entirely different.

“This is kind of like an ‘oh, I had no idea,’ thing,” she said. “We had no idea they were planning on just closing it.”

She added that HopCat would bring an entirely different vibe to the area.

“We just heard about it yesterday it’s a different type of bar than we are, it’s more a draft beer, hipstery- kind of place, so I guess we’ll kind of see if it takes away any business from us or next door … We’re always excited to have new businesses in the neighborhood, but every bar around here is a competing business.”

There are currently 10 Hopcat locations, with the latest establishment opening in October in Kalamazoo.  The Royal Oak spot would reportedly open this winter.

HopCat made headlines  about a year and a half ago when it opened a new Detroit location and drew lines around the block. It was considered another solid sign of the city’s resurgence.

The Detroit HopCat hired nearly 200 employees for their new Woodward location. The 11,000-square-foot facility is located in the former Agave restaurant, which had been vacant since 2006.

Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures, HopCat’s parent company, spent more than $3 million to purchase and renovate the building. This included a 6,500-square-foot addition on the back of the building, construction of the bar — which features 130 taps — and the addition of a second floor music venue with a 60-tap bar.

“Hopcat in Detroit has been a tremendous success and we’ve been very pleased with the reception there,” Knape said.



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