It’s safe to say that vinyl records are having a bit of a moment. Presumably fuelled by a combination of their unique sound quality and some unprecedented wave of collective nostalgia, sales of vinyl records in 2015 were up 32 percent to $416-million – their highest level since 1988.
So it’s no surprise that cafes and bars across the continent are cashing in on this record resurgence by incorporating vinyl into their businesses in one way or another. Civilized has compiled a list of some of the best spots in North America doing just that. If you were part of that 32 percent surge, this list is for you.
1. Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar, San Francisco, California
This coffee house/wine bar on San Francisco’s iconic Divisadero Street is known for its diverse series of themed ‘listening parties’ (cleverly titled The Spins) that feature curated vinyl selections paired with special food and drink. You can enjoy a range of craft beers, imported and local wines, artisan coffee and even PizzaHacker food truck fare, while taking in the carefully selected tunes of the month. Kimia M may have said it best on Yelp: "I was tempted to not write this review because I don't want it to get too busy!"
2. Vinyl Café, Ames, Iowa
This cozy nook on Ames’ Kellogg Avenue is part café/part record store with an ever-changing inventory. Featuring thousands of new and used records, stereo equipment and a listening booth (not to mention a full espresso bar, specialty coffees and fresh baked pastries), this is the perfect spot to get your music (and munchies) fix. Rob H, a fan of both caffeine and vinyl, couldn't agree more: "I love coffee; I love records. I'm glad this place exists, and I make it a point to stop by every time I'm in Ames."
3. HopYard, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Canada)
This throwback-themed bar on Charlottetown’s Kent Street features 500 vinyl records for your old timey listening pleasure, along with a unique selection of craft beers and ciders from across North America. Speaking to CBC News about the inspiration behind the new business, co-owner Mike Ross said: "Right now, two of the hottest things in pop culture are craft beer and vinyl's making a huge comeback," Ross said. "We wanted to do something that reflected that." Brad347 on TripAdvisor called the venue: "A cool place, great craft beer, amazing food, and such a cool concept with the vinyl collection."
4. Vinyl Arts Bar, Orlando, Florida
Billed as an ‘artist hangout and bar’ that serves beer and wine along with exhibits, live demonstrations and poetry events, this intimate hub on Orlando’s E Colonial Drive regularly brings the good vibes with an eclectic range of vinyl. It also features a hookah bar and a trendy selection of local art, all held together by an ‘80s décor theme. Priscilla O on Yelp called it an "excellent place to go to for an artistic vibe mixed with a great music energy as well as an inviting home feeling."
5. The Five and Dime, Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada)
Set to open its doors for the first time in the east coast port city, Saint John, in early November, this vinyl bar will offer a slate of regular DJs spinning their own tunes, as well as a “bring your own wax day” and a series of vinyl exchanges. While the bar – which will serve craft beer, pizza and appetizers – will feature a small stage for the occasional live performance, its focus is on providing a relaxed environment for vinyl lovers in this Canadian port city. Co-founder Jody Kliffer told Huddle that the concept was all about establishing "a visible collection of vinyl records, [where] people can come in and bring their vinyl, share their vinyl, trade their vinyl.”