Underground UK: Coffee shop downtown offers more than just a caffeine high


Dustin Hodges reading in High on Art and Coffee. Photo by Madison Rexroat | Staff.

Megan Brown

Over the years, drinking coffee has become a hobby where the experience of the café is just as important as the taste of the coffee itself. For college students, coffee shops offer a hub to study, meet friends and enjoy a delicious cup of Joe. A downtown coffee shop combined these elements seamlessly to provide customers a one of a kind experience.

High on Art and Coffee located on 523 E. High Street downtown created a café on the basis of incorporating art and coffee while promoting locally made products.

The idea came to husband and wife owners Tim and Ellie Harman years ago, and the restaurant will be celebrating its three year anniversary in January. Their daughter Meghan is the manager and most of their other employees are UK students.

Along with serving traditional coffee, the restaurant also has a diverse menu which includes soups, sandwiches, waffles, smoothies, ice cream and breakfast. One of the most popular menu items is the “Stank Milkshake” which has a shot of espresso or “The Crangarine Turkey Sandwich.” Not only is the food affordable with the average cost of a sandwich being $4.20, but many of the ingredients used are either organic or locally grown.

High on Art and Coffee currently has 182 artists who display their work, 176 of which are from Kentucky. The artists create anything from canvas paintings to soaps and wooden toys. Also in the shop are jewelry, stones and t-shirts. The items in the store are competitively priced from one to 300 dollars, so anyone can find something for themselves in their price range. For artists who want to get their work displayed on the wall they just need to ask. High on Art and Coffee accepts at least one piece of art from all interested artists.

“We feel it is important for all artists to have the exposure for their work,” said Ellie Harman.

High on Art and Coffee also hosts events such as open mic nights where participants can sing or read poetry. Open mic nights happen every other Saturday between 6 and 8 p.m. Other events the restaurant hosts include gallery hops and “Twilight in the Triangle” which has plenty of art work, food trucks and music. Finally, the restaurant will also organize art days for children.

The coffee shop accepts UK Plus Account and donates all tips toward one of six charities. These charities range from helping animals in need, assisting the elderly in nursing homes and protecting the environment.

For more information about artists, upcoming events and menu items visit highonartandcoffee.com.

The next time you want to get a caffeine high, avoid the pumpkin spice latte and consider finding a new go-to beverage at a homegrown café.