By Sarah Choate
Wilmore, Ky., is a perfectly charming city, however as we approach the halfway point in the semester, you, the Asbury hipster, may find yourself growing tired of the small-town life.
If you’re in need of mini-vacation amid an eclectic, city arts scene, you need look no further than the ninth most hipster city in America (according to thrillist.com), Louisville, Ky. If you find yourself constantly saying things like, “I listened to ‘My Morning Jacket’ before they were cool,” “Is this coffee fair trade?” or “Dude, can I borrow your mustache comb?” then the Highlands area of Bardstown road and the newly-developed NuLu area of the East Market Street district are the perfect places for you to spend a super-indie weekend in the seventeenth largest city in America.
If you’re looking for a vintage Prince t-shirt or a pair of vegan leather boots, Louisville’s Bard- stown Road is your best bet for shopping.
This area of Louisville, the Highlands, is known for its offbeat vibe and eclectic shops. One building boasts a bright orange typography mural that says, “Weird, Independent, and Proud. Highlands.”
After hitting up the cutesie boutiques of Bardstown Road, you have to visit the quintessential quirky, local shop: WHY Louisville. This shop now has two locations, one right in the middle of the Highlands and another in NuLu. Both locations were recently named official roadside attractions by Roadside America.
Whichever location you choose, you can’t miss it; they’re easily identified by their orange, fleur-de-lis branded signs and their window displays featuring things such as the Beerwolf, a Bearded Lady cardboard cutout, and a wax Colonel Sanders among other oddities.
After purchasing some unique souvenirs, you’ll be ready for a coffee break. If you’re in the Highlands, try out Quills Coffee on Baxter Avenue. The baristas are friendly and take their work seriously. Each latte boasts a foam-art quill in the coffee. The vibe is chill and creative—the tables are always cluttered with twenty-somethings on Macbooks editing graphics in PhotoShop or mastering audio while wearing their Bose headphones – you, the Asbury Hipster, will feel right at home.
Bring your laptop, settle in front of the large windows facing the Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue and sip your perfectly styled café miel. If you’re wanting to stay in the NuLu area for your caffeine fix, head to a lovely little coffee shop that goes by an even lovelier name, Please & Thank-You. This Louisville start-up features a wide selection of coffees, lattes, sandwiches and sweets and doubles as a vinyl record store. Their signature muffins (called “My Morning Muffins,” a pun on the Louisville-native music group “My Morning Jacket,”) and are vegan-friendly and made fresh daily. Please & Thank-You (P&TY) was named one of Southern Living magazine’s top 50 favorite things about the South in late 2012. This little café has limited seating, but if you can snag a chair at one of their Pinterest-project-inspired, vintage tables, the sweet and simple atmosphere of this coffee shop (along with their delectable chocolate chip cookies—named a Louisville favorite) is well worth your time.
The NuLu district is known for being “foodie” friendly. Connoisseurs of fine dining and good, local eats frequent this area. One of NuLu’s most unique restaurants is Hillbilly Tea. Complete with vegan-friendly options, fresh herbal teas, brunch and dinner, this self-proclaimed “Appala- chian tea café” is the perfect place to get some local, southern grub with a unique twist. Hillbilly Tea features a menu that is a mixture of Southern, home cooking and fine dining. They seamlessly mesh the hip with the classic and in doing so, give off a vibe that reflects the attitude of Louisville as a whole.
Their menu features some Southern classics with a twist, such as bourbon barbeque short ribs, “roadkill” stew, moonshine tofu and a “billy goat burger” made from grass-fed goat and served with a side of beet chips. Lastly, finish up your cultural immersion into the Louisville indie-scene by visiting some of Louisville’s art galleries.
NuLu is quickly becoming Louisville’s art district and is littered with one-room galleries. Louisville’s largest art museum, The J.B. Speed Art Museum, located down- town on the University of Louisville’s campus, is currently closed for renovation, however they have maintained a local presence by opening up Local Speed in NuLu. Right in the heart of East Market Street, Local Speed is a one-room gallery with rotating exhibitions. They are open Fri- days and Saturdays and feature art from the museums collection along with exhibitions of local, modern art.
Before you leave the Local Speed gallery, be sure to write on the “Before I Die” Wall – an interactive art installation where museum visitors can use chalk to write what they want to do before they die. Louisville can offer you a small retreat from the beautiful, sleepy Wilmore and sweep you into a taste of city life.
So get in the car, play your favorite indie mix-tape and take some time to soak in the artsy-ness of the ninth most hipster city in the US. Happy hipster-ing and remember, keep Louisville weird!