A review of Common Grounds Coffeeshop

By Brittany Butler
Senior Features Writer

The Common Grounds Coffeehouse, located on 343 East High Street in Lexington, is in an old house with chipped molding, creaky wooden floors and winding passages leading to dimly-lit rooms whose corners are inhabited by slightly questionable-looking people. This is not just any coffee shop. Common Grounds is an incognito Leaky Cauldron; a dingy, American version of the portal from London to Harry Potter’s wizarding world.

The coffee was by far my favorite part of my visit. I ordered a small mocha joe from the pony-tailed, skinny-jeaned, tattooed man behind the counter. It was the best mocha joe I have ever had. Made with Ghirardelli chocolate, it was perfectly heated and had just the right amount of thickness and coffee/chocolate ratio.  

I even savored the strange, Americanized Harry Potter atmosphere, especially since it was a rainy October afternoon. This appreciation, however, only lasted for about an hour. Despite the fantastic mocha joe, my visit began to peak after I began homework and pulled out my laptop.

The Wi-Fi at Common Grounds is evil in the worst way—most likely wired by the Slytherins themselves. I consistently refreshed the page and watched as it slowly loaded. After approximately three minutes of hoping that this would enable me to complete my assignment, the page said the internet was not available. After around half an hour of this cruel game, I decided that online homework was not an option. 

My appreciation of the interesting atmosphere may have been marred by my frustration with the Wi-Fi, but regardless of the reason, I noticed that although the building did not look dirty, it felt extremely unclean. The tables and chairs were old, and not in an antique coffee shop way.

They were wobbly, scratched, and looked sticky. I was annoyed with the writing on the walls, on the tables, and in the bathroom. Only a small percentage of the scribbling was profane, but the obviously college student/hipster atmosphere cheapened the “free” and “expressive” effect I think they were trying to achieve.

For example, as an art minor, I appreciate the Post-Modern movement, so the intensely chromatic painting of a cowboy in front of a pink trailer brightened up the scarily dark women’s bathroom considerably. But this painting, combined with the million signatures on the wall (…and the sink, and the toilet-paper container, etc.), and the upside-down cross with a “666” beside it, made it seem more like a truck-stop bathroom than an authentic coffee shop. 

I recommend the Common Grounds Coffeehouse to anyone who wants an amazing cup of coffee and good conversation on a Friday evening. I do not recommend it to someone who needs to concentrate and wants a clean, homey atmosphere, or to someone who enjoys a variety of ages as company. This coffee shop is definitely intended for a certain crowd: college students who enjoy coffee, beanies and Toms shoes. It is not a work-conducive atmosphere.