BY KRISTINA ROSEN
The new school year is off to a great start thanks to Old School Coffee. What used to be the former bar of Sabio in Dudley Square has transformed into downtown Lexington’s newest, local spot to grab a convenient, quality cup of coffee.
With its unique coffee offerings, onsite parking, Spalding’s donuts, and genuine customer service, Old School Coffee will have you thinking Starbucks, who?
Born and raised in Lexington, owner Rhett Constantine has a deep understanding for this city. As a graduate from the University of Kentucky in Business Management, he loves business and service, and his passion for coffee followed naturally.
In November 2018, Constantine connected with the building owner of Dudley Square who was interested in putting a coffee shop inside the building. The beautiful space came first, but the name quickly followed. Old School Coffee is located in the original building of what used to be an old historic school from 1860-1915.
Asked what he thinks differentiates Old School Coffee from other local coffee shops, Constantine says it’s the coffee, parking, and Spalding’s donuts, but most importantly the service he provides.
“You can get coffee anywhere, but some places don’t sell the full experience,” says Constantine. He works six out of seven days a week and he’s behind the bar the entire time. As the full-time barista and manager, he wants to be an available owner. There are a total of three employees who work in the shop, but it’s a small team for a reason.
Old School Coffee takes pride in the quality of their coffee. Having talked to local roasters, Constantine’s goal was to offer something different. “I want customers to get a cup of coffee they can’t get anywhere else in Lexington.” The coffee beans are sourced from Seven Hills Coffee Roasters in Cincinnati which uses a Sivetz fluid bed roaster method. This method pushes hot air onto the beans from underneath causing the beans to levitate and evenly rotate on all sides for a clean aromatic roast.
The shop’s claim to fame is their offering of Spalding’s donuts, which Constantine picks up himself every morning before work. He knew he wanted to offer Spalding’s because of their local following, saying “some people will catch the donuts out of the corner of their eye while walking by and stop in.”
If the coffee and donuts weren’t convincing enough, there are 60 onsite parking spots, which is unheard of, especially for a coffee shop in downtown Lexington.
The menu includes specialty drinks uniquely named after school professionals. Constantine’s favorite, and rightfully named, is The Principal which is made with hazelnut and white chocolate. Other favorites include The Counselor made with white chocolate and caramel and The Coach made with chocolate and caramel. Each Monday a weekly featured latte is introduced using flavors like peanut butter, lavender, and irish creme.
Along with a featured latte, a rotating single origin coffee blend is offered weekly. Their old school house roast, which is a smooth Costa Rican Mexican blend, stays the same every day. The house roast blend is available to buy on site and freshly bagged directly from what they’re brewing in the shop. A variety of teas from Elmwood Inn in Danville are also available on the menu.
With the clean, crisp decor of the small shop, you would never guess the original brick is over 150 years old, but Old School Coffee fits the aesthetic of the building it took over. The small yet cozy atmosphere of the shop is inviting with its natural light and ample seating. There are plans to offer outdoor seating in the future along with a menu of small bites and snacks, especially to attract the campus crowd.
Old School Coffee is open seven days a week in Dudley Square at 380 S Mill Street Suite 110.
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