Downtown Grand Haven’s new hang out spot

Alexis Tater, Reporter

You may have seen it on your social media feed already, there is now a rustic and warmly-tinted little cafe on Washington Avenue that was opened to the public on Feb. 23.

The Michner’s bought the storefront which housed Coffee Grounds, tore down a few walls, and renovated it. The Side Bar is a part of Oddside ales, both owned the Michner family.

“I have hundreds of goals. My number one goal is to touch each and every person who walks into the door,” Michner said. “Side Bar goes way beyond coffee for me. I want it to be a place that brightens customers days. It’s my way of feeling like I am touching lives.”

They make their own coffee, and strive to cultivate a friendly environment. One of their other goals is to create a healthier menu with housemade syrups.

“It took a lot of trial and error. I believe in providing our customers with the healthiest form of syrups,” Michner said. “That’s why I make them myself with non GMO organic cane sugar.”

They have always wanted to start their own coffee shop, and the Side Bar sounded like a great opportunity.

“I have been to coffee shops all over the U.S.,” Michner said. “When I first met Chris [her husband] I was happy with a gas station latte before heading to a long day of teaching fifth grade. After a few months, I quickly learned the difference between gas station coffee and fresh quality coffee.”

They have faced challenges, but they were able to figure it out and balance the responsibilities of two children and owning two small businesses.

“When the opportunity arose to purchase the coffee shop, I wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge,” Michner said. “We have two little children who keep me rather busy, but we knew it was now or never. Buying the shop allowed both Chris and I to merge our dreams of the coffee and brewery.”

The Michners hope that construction will be finished by the end of month. So far, they’re making decent progress, and currently open for business from 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Sundays.

“Looking back it would have been helpful if I reached out to another shop for help instead of trying to reinvent the wheel myself,” Michner said. “But, I must say I am very happy with the outcome.”