Easy Street Records, Seattle, WA. Photo by Dennis Hamilton.

On the Record: Ten Places in the U.S. to Drink and Buy Music

Deep Ellum's new record shop and bar combo is great. But it's more common than you think.

Deep Ellum has a brand new record store and bar called Off the Record that opened earlier this week, as an offshoot of Club Dada and its vinyl supply comes straight from Good Records. It received a decent amount of press, including some from us. (Full disclosure: Our music writer, Vanessa Quilantan, was tending bar on opening night.)

The business concept has naturally drawn plenty of local attention, but one thing stood out in two different reports covering the opening night event.

In one of the recaps, the Dallas Observer’s Jeff Gage calls the coupling of alcohol and vinyl “rare as a business concept.” He allows Club Dada and Off the Record founder Josh Florence to further the sentiment with the following quote:

“There isn’t anything similar in the country, except in Portland,” says Florence.

Then over on Central Track, Pete Freedman takes things a step further by doing your googling for you. He adds:

And so the idea to turn their bar concept into something greater — and something that few others around the country appear to be trying (well, outside of Portland) — came to pass.

All this talk about Portland and Portland alone. I find this to be a bit odd. I wouldn’t say that record store bars are everywhere, but I do remember being in a few as I’ve traveled around our great country over the years. I’ve even heard of a handful beyond our borders.

So without wasting any more time, here are at least ten examples of record store/bars in North America or places where you can drink while shopping for vinyl. The first three businesses I have seen with my own eyes or even purchased something there. As for the rest, I called and made sure they fit the criteria. I actually found more examples online, but I figured ten would prove my point just fine:

1. Rough Trade Records, Brooklyn, New York: Since when did Portland start getting all the credit for novel, hip ideas concerning music and alcohol? Did you not think that Brooklyn just might have a record store that also featured spirits? The borough recently acquired its very own outpost of the world-famous Rough Trade Records, complete with a “full bar.” I had a peek myself on a visit earlier this month.

2. Easy Street, Seattle, Washington: Sit at the bar, have some diner food, or take a walk down to the adjoining record room, where there is a typically rich selection of the sort you find in Seattle. When I was there last summer, they even had a tent sale just outside. 

3. Wild Detectives, Oak Cliff, Texas: Remember this place? It opened a few months ago. It has a bar and you can also buy records there.

4. Reggie’s, Chicago, Illinois: This former auto-repair shop hosts live music as well, about a block from Chinatown in Chicago.

5. Cake Shop, New York City, New York: A record store, a bar, and bands play here as well, including ex-locals such as Parquet Courts. 

6. Tres Gatos, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts: This is a wine bar and restaurant where you can also purchase books and music. They have nearly 40 kinds of beer and some very heavy brunch cocktails, including a “chartreuse gimlet,” which includes chartreuse, Cocchi Americano and lime. Sounds like I need to go back to Boston for a weekend.

7. Turn! Turn! Turn!, Portland, Oregon: This was the place to mention, and I imagine it’s due to the perception of Portland setting the standard for what’s cool or hip in this country. But let’s not forget that New York is already taking up twenty percent of this list the next you make that mistake.

8. Monument City Coffee & Records, Richmond, Virginia: This coffee shop and record store also sells beer and wine.

9. The Beat, Las Vegas, Nevada: Again, the Beat calls itself a coffeehouse, but it’s one where you can also purchase alcohol and drink while you shop for records.

10. Artpool Gallery, St. Petersburg, Florida: This beer and wine bar, record store, art gallery, and vintage clothing shop is trying to be everything at once. That’s often a recipe for failure, but they seem to be doing just fine.








Image credit: Dennis Hamilton.