Home Featured News A Tour of GR Coffee Shops

A Tour of GR Coffee Shops

Photo by Erica Horoky

By Allison Arnold – Web Editor

Grand Rapids is home to quite a few coffee shops, each with their own personality and specialties. We use coffee shops as a way to relax, catch up with friends, and most importantly, study, all while getting our caffeine fix. Here’s a summary of some of GR’s best coffee shops, and my thoughts regarding menu and taste,value, and atmosphere. So next time you’re around town, you can find the perfect place to stop that will suit your needs, whether it be a quick specialty coffee, or a place to get work done.

 PaLatte Coffee & Art
150 Fulton St. E
Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
A new spot on Fulton St., close to campus, PaLatte doubles as a coffee shop and art gallery, making it the perfect spot to study. The drinks are great, ranging from amazing lattes and cappuccinos to fresh fruit smoothies and daily soups. For a double café miel, it was close to $5, which is a little high for a college budget, but war by far one of the best I’ve had. Make sure to check out this gem.

Lantern Coffee
100 Commerce Ave SW
Mon-Fri 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Lantern is another hidden gem. It has that classic coffee shop feel, great coffee, and a prefect study and workspace. It seems small from the door, but there’s a basement with nice chairs and workspaces, and outlets at nearly every table. It can get busy at times, but it’s worth it to sit down and enjoy the cozy space. They also serve local foods from GR Bagel, Bartertown Diner, and Wednesday Evening Cookies. They use Populace coffee and prices are all tax included, ranging from $2-$5. Not too bad for a perfect cup and a place that strives to be waste-free.

MadCap Coffee
98 Monroe Ctr NW
Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
On Monroe Center, Madcap is a landmark. With open space, modern feel, and a simple, yet delicious menu of coffee and teas, it’s a great place to grab something on the go, or find a spot to sit and relax. You won’t find extended hours like other coffee shops in town, but you will find a perfectly made cup.

435 Ionia SW
Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Nestled in the Downtown Market, Simpatico offers a wide variety of coffee and tea drinks. The coffee is sourced form the Oaxaca region of Mexico, offering a less-acidic coffee. I love the variety of black coffees offered here. There’s seating throughout the market, but you’ll be missing out on that cozy coffee house atmosphere and the noise level isn’t the best for getting your study on. It’s perfect for a coffee on the go, or while you’re browsing the market.

Mayan Buzz
208 Grandville Ave SW
Open 24 Hours

Photo by Erica Horoky
Photo by Erica Horoky
















Open 24-hours, Mayan Buzz is the ultimate study spot for procrastinators and night owls, alike. There’s a large menu of drinks , and even a food menu, including omelets and other snacks. The prices are a little high for some of the specialty drinks, like the Mayan Buzz Cappuccino, which is close to $5. However, if you’re looking for a unique place to study and are craving an out of the ordinary drink, try this place.

Bitter End
752 West Fulton
Open 24 Hours

Photo by Erica Horoky
Photo by Erica Horoky

With a large menu of coffees, espresso, teas, and smoothies, in addition to being open 24-hours, the Bitter End is another perfect spot, The shop has a woarn, classic and cozy coffee shop feel. Prices aren’t bad for the large selection of drinks and goodies. A definite place to stop.

1035 Wealthy St. SE
Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.,  Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Photo by Erica Horoky
Photo by Erica Horoky

If you’re looking for a classic coffee shop feel, Sparrows is the place. There’s a wide selection of special espresso and coffee drinks, sweet flavors, and non-caffeinated beverages, in addition to a counter full of loose-leaf tease to choose from. There’s also a wide variety of magazines and local baked goods to purchase. It can get busy at peak hours and be hard to find a spot to plug-in, but make sure to also enjoy the outside patio during the warmer months.

632 Wealthy St. SE
Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
This coffee shop is all about quality, even roasting their beans in-house, right in front of you. The layout is open and simple, so you can see everything involved in the coffee-making process. However, seating is limited and tight, so it’s best to grab a cup on the go, unless you can find a spot. There really is no menu, just a simple listing of their pour-over brews and espresso for the day. My Columbian pour-over was $4, a little high, but worth it if you’re a coffee aficionado.


Kava House
1445 Lake Drive SE
Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

Photo by Erica Horoky
Photo by Erica Horoky

Located in Eastown, Kava House is the prime spot for any type of drink, be it coffee, tea, smoothies, or lattes. There’s lots of snacks to purchase, ranging from granola bars to cookies and desserts. There’s plenty of seating.

Common Ground
1319 East Fulton
Mon-Thu 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri-Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
Next door to Schnitz Bakery, Common Ground offers a large menu of coffee and different roasts. Prices aren’t bad, ranging from $1.50-$4 for most drinks. My perfectly brewed medium iced coffee came to $2, a price I was willing to pay at a spacious pace, with plenty of study space and outlets for charging. They even have a Panini menu and a whole case of baked goods, perfect for when using all that brain power leaves your stomach growling.

1600 East Beltline Ave NE
Mon-Fri 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
This has been one of my favorite places for studying. With a modern, simple design, and a large menu of coffees, teas, and smoothies, and not to mention, a whole menu of made-to-order food items, this place can meet all of your needs. Every Friday night, you can expect a live performance by a local band, and every weekday you can indulge in happy hour 4-7pm, with most drinks priced at $2-3. A total steal. With decent prices and great drinks, you should definitely check out Clique.


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