Alger Heights has long been a great place to combine a Saturday trip to the hardware store with a stop at Ken’s Fruit Market after meeting a friend for breakfast at Real Food Café. But as a late-night spot, there weren’t many options.
A new restaurant located at the intersection of Eastern Ave. and Alger St., Sip Coffee & Cocktails, has changed all that. Combined with The Old Goat and Brass Ring Brewery, the up-and-coming bar and restaurant district now has a trifecta of must try go-tos, a hat trick if you will, all in the same block!
The café aspect of ‘Sip’ has been going strong since October (2022). Their Bold and Gritty brand coffee is straight up bomb and – in my humble opinion – is the absolute best new coffee house in town; on par with Madcap, even (high praise). So, if you’re a fellow coffee snob, you can rejoice in the fact that there’s a new place to enjoy the “go juice.”
Where do the cocktails come in? Well, this café by day/bar by night establishment has more recently been granted its liquor license, so, of course you can order yourself an Irish coffee, but that’s not where it ends.
The cocktails on the menu run the gamut. There are frilly fruities for people just dipping their toes into the cocktail scene, like the Purple Peach I had the last time I was there. Then there are some heavy hitters, like the Blackberry Old Fashioned, for us serious boozers. I kid… I fall somewhere in the middle. Seriously, who doesn’t like an Old Fashioned?
The wine list is well curated, with one or two strong options for each type of wine. I noticed a nice Malbec on it, and a table full of 30-something women seated next to me, who looked like they were celebrating something, were enjoying a bottle of Avalon Cabernet. I also noticed a sparkling brut from Motu Viget, a Grand Rapids based heritage wine and spirits company on the menu and a Rodney Strong. All good choices.
The place had a real big city vibe, like somewhere I’d been in New York City’s East Village in the nineties. The music was pumping (unlike morning, when it was understated and cheerful). The tasteful flower-filled vases on the stainless steel tables and the striking wall art by Claire Fisher make it a great spot for your next Hinge meet and greet; strong drinks, great food and, given the uniqueness of the place, plenty to talk about.
I sat there by myself on a Friday night. People on dates poured in. As the place became more crowded, I offered to move from a two-top table to one of the many bar/counter seats. The staff, who are knowledgeable and cordial, but not over-the-top chatty, wouldn’t have it.
A pleasant server named Katy took her time and talked me through the food menu, which consists mainly of dips and a variety of flatbreads. I wanted to try a vegetarian option because I’m trying to reduce my meat intake, but was guided to a staff favorite, the chipotle chicken flatbread ($16).
The cocktails are top notch and, Katy assured me, mixed with only the finest house-made ingredients. I went for one made with Long Road Sovereign Gin for $14.
It wasn’t long before my pizza (er, I mean flatbread) arrived. The rectangular shaped creation was ample in size, and the bread was the perfect consistency. It was soft, puffy (not doughy) and definitely not too crisp. Pro tip: Order it with extra zesty sauce.
Pickled red onions have been finding their way into everything from hot dogs to salads as of late. I picked some out of another dish in which they didn’t belong just last week (at an otherwise great restaurant I won’t name), but the pickled red onion atop the chipotle chicken flatbread was the exact right ingredient. It paired nicely with the creamy sauce and feta cheese, and, cutting through the richness, offered that bit of tang that makes you keep taking bites.
The flatbread is listed on the menu as a “shareable.” I unashamedly ate the whole thing, it was that good. So go on, invite that Hinge date and split the tab – or don’t. As I found out, Sip Coffee and Cocktails is the perfect place for a table for one.
Sip Coffee and Cocktails is open Monday through Saturday but closes each day from 1 – 4 p.m. to make the transition from classy coffee joint to hip nighttime spot. Hours and/or menu items are subject to change. Check sipalgerheights.com for updates.