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An Obituary For Our Dear Friend: The Original Grotto

It has been several months since our beloved Grotto spread its wings and flew…500 feet away. Most of Western Michigan’s students know The Grotto as a place of joy, $1 beers, half-off Sundays, disease-filled bathrooms, and an easy spot to get drunk every goddamn day of the week, but the beloved basement we once knew is now just a hole in the ground. 

The Grotto wasn’t just a place to run into the person you hooked up with last weekend—it was a home. The Grotto made you feel safe, whether it was from the over-protective bouncers or the close walking distance to your apartment.

Somehow the sticky floors, hole-filled walls, and seemingly horror film themed basement felt more welcoming than visiting grandmas on a Sunday after church. A place where you knew everyone and the workers knew you, and even your drink order.  

Let’s look back on the good times and remember our dear friend The Grotto for what it truly was: the best (and cheapest) bar in Kalamazoo.

Remember when a sorority girl would pick a shitty song on the upstairs jukebox and everyone would moan and groan? Or remember debating on how long you could hold your bladder on account of the risk of catching something in the scary-ass basement bathroom? There were endless drinks that were passed your way on half-off Sundays and Wednesdays, but even the guy that sells roses would get down on a Friday night Grotto experience.  

The Grotto would give you morning laughs with the popcorn that you’d find in your hair, bra or bed. The Grotto was a bar where you could play a game of pool or dance ridiculously because no one could see your disgusting face in the pitch-black basement. For the dumb and negligent, Grotto was even the place that took you two years to realize it was themed after Al Capone. 

Every booze-loving Western student misses the Grotto, so we have high expectations for the new one. Most importantly, we have some serious questions and concerns. 

Like, what will the Grotto be without stairs to an unknown basement? Will we have the same loyal bartenders? Will there be room to avoid the people in class we hate? Are they going to give us even better deals for up and leaving us the entire month of January? Will it still be called the Grotto without a basement, or will they just call it The Basic One-Story Dive Bar? We might not have a whole lot of respect for the dirty regular customers of the Grotto (ourselves), but we do have mad respect for the establishment.  

The Grotto might have given you hangovers, horrible hook-up stories and possibly an STD, but you never left thinking, “Damn I wish I would have gone to the Old Goat.” Looking for a bar that will make your stomach flutter (not just because of the booze) will be just as hard as trying to find your friends in a packed Friday night in the dingy basement. Nothing will ever replace the original Grotto, but us Broncos will sure as hell try with the new location!

Thank you for the good times Grotto, you will always be remembered for the nights we do and don’t remember. Your alcoholic Broncos sure as hell will miss you.  


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