The Bitter End overcomes recent challenges and proves to be a serene local coffee shop


Walking into The Bitter End late on a Friday night, I never would have guessed that just a few nights prior, this very coffeehouse had been subject to an armed robbery. Its walls contained an aura of tranquility within the snug room, and the atmosphere as a whole reflected pure serenity, rather than stress.

Within the small room lay circular tables strategically lining the far wall of the cafe. The copper-tin ceilings reflected shimmery light onto the ancient hexagonal tiles, exemplifying luminescence even on a dark, gloomy night. Surrounding it all were dark stained walls, complete with vintage picture frames celebrating all things coffee and community. Everything was balanced, and each different element reflected repose in some way.

Alas, while taking in this distinctive atmosphere, it was hard to imagine that just a few days ago, on an ill-fated night, The Bitter End was robbed at gunpoint. However, this didn’t seem to bother any other locals because the cafe was packed, even at a later hour. Thus, my slight apprehension subsided, and I turned my attention to the huge displays on the wall describing my drink options.

As a newbie to the coffee game, I was overwhelmed by The Bitter End’s extensive menu of espresso, lattes, teas, and smoothies. Luckily, the barista was amicable and passionate about her craft, patiently describing options she thought might suit my rookie palette. Having to pick between specialty lattes such as a Mayon Mocha, Spotted Owl Latte, and Snickers, I eventually settled on a Peppermint Patty Latte.

After receiving my drink, it became clear to me why dozens of cups and mugs lined the tables of the coffee shop, with customers often purchasing more than one drink. My latte was smooth and creamy, with punches of peppermint and caffeine kicking in at just the right moments.

At only $4.00, The Bitter End matches the prices of other local coffee shops, and the price was well worth the unique drink options, unmatchable atmosphere, and quality products. Their coffee beans are roasted and blended in-house, and this labor is evident in the electrifying, fresh flavor associated with each sip.

It’s important to note that The Bitter End is open 24 hours a day, every day. As a frequent spot for college students in the area, there is a sense of camaraderie developed within its walls. Notorious for having a line out the door at midnight, I hope to return at some point in the future to watch the relaxed atmosphere transform into a vibrant one.

Situated in West Grand Rapids on Fulton Street, to be completely frank, The Bitter End is surrounded by rundown brick buildings and abandoned streets. Evidently, it is not in the best part of town, as the unfortunate robbery might demonstrate. However, the cozy atmosphere of the cafe diffuses the slight fear of peril that lurks outside its doors.

The Bitter End has had its fair share of adversity, but in the end, it remains a peaceful coffeehouse, a constant in the lives of those who treasure remarkable drinks and companionship. I have every bit of confidence that its distinctive coffee and unique atmosphere will allow it to continue to thrive and overcome its recent misfortune.