Care about the environment & the world around us, treat each other like family, offer a unique dining experience & make sure each & every guest feels important. By doing these things, we help not just others, but ourselves. Without doing all these things, we disappoint not just others, but ourselves.
BarFly Ventures is the parent company of HopCat, Stella's Lounge, Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and The Waldron Public House.
BarFly was founded by Mark Sellers in 2008 after the opening of HopCat in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to its four locations in Grand Rapids, BarFly owns and operates additional HopCat locations in Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing and Kalamazoo, Mich., Indianapolis; Madison, Wisconsin; Lincoln, Neb.; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; and Chicago.
BarFly isn't your typical restaurant/bar company. We recycle and compost up to 90 percent of the waste we generate. We provide health insurance to all of our full-time employees. We even do fun stuff like taking BarFly family members who work with us for four years on a big trip somewhere. We care deeply about the people we work with, the world we live in, the communities where we operate and, most importantly, the guests we get to serve each day.
Mark Sellers is the founder and owner of BarFly Ventures, parent company of HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, The Waldron and Grand Rapids Brewing Co. Mark moved back to his hometown of Grand Rapids from Chicago in 2007 following a successful career in finance at GE Capital, Morningstar, and his hedge fund Sellers Capital. Prior to that, he had a spectacularly unsuccessful career as a musician in Boston and Los Angeles.
Mark is a graduate of East Kentwood High School, attended Berklee School of Music in Boston, has a BA in accounting from Michigan State University and an MBA in finance from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. His favorite beer is Short's Huma-Lupa-Licious.
Mark moves back to Grand Rapids, is bummed by the lack of bars he'd want to hang out at and notices a great spot downtown that had recently been vacated.
HopCat opens, featuring 49 beers on tap, more than 150 bottles, its signature Crack Fries and other "food your mom would make if she liked craft beer."
Stella's Lounge opens, featuring giant cheese-stuffed burgers, vegan and vegetarian food, tons of whiskey and 80s arcade games.
BarFly purchases McFadden's, an Irish pub and night spot with two incredible private event spaces.
McFadden's launches Irish on Ionia, Michigan's largest St. Patrick's Day street party, attracting more than 15,000 people to downtown Grand Rapids each year.
Grand Rapids Brewing Co. opens, reviving a historic brand in a unique pub atmosphere with creative pub cuisine.
BarFly launches its sustainability program, diverting more than 90 percent of its waste to composting and recycling and away from landfills and incinerators. The program is now in use at every BarFly-owned restaurant and bar.
HopCat - East Lansing opens with a world record tap takeover, featuring 100 different beers on tap from a single brewery -- Short's Brewing Co. More than 1,000 people are in line.
Halloween on Ionia, a costume-laden electronic music street party launches with more than 6,000 revelers taking part in one of the state's largest costume contests.
August: HopCat - Broad Ripple opens in Indianapolis, marking BarFly's first expansion outside of Michigan. The opening features the largest selection of Indiana-made beers ever seen outside of a festival. More than 400 people line up to get inside.
December: HopCat - Detroit and its second floor events venue, The Huma Room, open with another world record tap takeover -- 120 different beers from Short's. More than 1,000 people wait in line at opening. Howling Diablos and PitchBlak Brass Band open the Huma Room in style.
February: HopCat - Ann Arbor opens on to the warmth of 300 eager souls on a bitter cold Valentine's Day. The opening tap list, which we dubbed the "Greatest Beer List Ever," is a thing of legend that may never be repeated, forgotten or bested.
July: HopCat - Madison opens, marking our first location in Wisconsin. This location, between the Capitol and University of Wisconsin at State Street and Gorham, features 130 taps, original graffiti murals and a private event space for parties of 100.
October: HopCat - Lexington opens with 300+ eager beer lovers in line. Our first location in Kentucky has 100 taps, a pretty great Kentucky Bourbon selection and a great location in The Square, close to other downtown hotspots, hotels, Rupp Arena and the Lexington Opera House.
February: McFadden's closes after 10 years in preparation for The Waldron Public House, an events space in a historic downtown setting.
March: HopCat - Lincoln, our first foray into Nebraska, opens in the West Haymarket area of downtown Lincoln with 132 taps. We welcomed more than 200 people waiting in line to get a first look.
July: HopCat - Louisville opens on Bardstown Road -- the largest HopCat to date. This one features 132 taps, 132 whiskeys, our first pizza oven for our new Detroit-style pizza and 3 events spaces.
September: HopCat - Chicago opens in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, our first Illinois location. HopCat - Chicago's lounge style draws immediate raves along with its 130 craft beers on tap and more than 200 bottles.
October: HopCat - Kalamazoo opens to the biggest reception we've seen since HopCat - Detroit. Located in a historic train freight depot, this one features a multi-season outdoor patio and a special installation of guitars from Kalamazoo's own Heritage Guitars.
We don't franchise. Mark is still the majority owner around here and remains involved in every new location opening.