A vacant two-story building in Midtown is undergoing a radical transformation with artfully crafted murals and an award-winning pub and entertainment spot that will serve 130 beers on tap.
Local artists recently began painting the building at Woodward and Canfield as part of a partnership between the 4731 Group, which organizes dozens of world-class murals in the Grand River Creative Corridor, and HopCat, a popular brew pub based in Grand Rapids.
If all goes as planned, HopCat will open in December.
“This is going to be a community destination unlike anything in Detroit,” said Derek Weaver, principal of 4731 Group, which is curating the art project. “The murals create a fun, vibrant energy.”
“This is fine art by world-class artists in Detroit,” Weaver said.
The building has been vacant since Agave restaurant closed about eight years ago. On the same block is a McDonald’s and a longtime vacant lot that is being transformed into a three-story design center for Lawrence Tech University with ground-level retail space.
The HopCat building is the only original structure left on the block, which included the mighty Graystone Ballroom before it was demolished. On the other side of Canfield is the gorgeous Whitney mansion, which is an upscale restaurant with outdoor entertainment.
The HopCat owners took pains to preserve the building and erected a two-story extension on the rear that is being adorned with murals. The interior has exposed brick and will be decorated with art.
The building is surprisingly spacious. The first floor features an oval bar, restaurant seating, kitchen and a sizable walk-in cooler with 130 craft beers. The second floor includes a stage, DJ booth, bar, seating and a deck.
HopCat has won awards for its beer selection and is known for its “crack fries.” Its first restaurant opened in Grand Rapids in 2008.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.