Such is the growing popularity of records around the world that vinyl is set to outsell CDs for the first time since 1986 and music lovers in Melbourne are no different as shops, cafes and bars adopt the trend.
Record collectors who are all too familiar with the tiring work of crate digging can seek refuge at White Rabbit Record Bar for a beverage and snack. Located just meters away from Kensington train station the hybrid record store features racks of vinyl, a lush outdoor space and a retro 70’s décor that would make Jefferson Airplane proud. Open late on most nights mean balmy summer evenings are an ideal time to visit. Grab a seat under an umbrella and order a jug of sangria while a rotation of DJ’s bathe the courtyard with sounds of vinyl. 176 Bellair St, Kensington (03) 9376 5441
A mainstay of the Collingwood music scene, Northside has been bringing the funk since 2002. With an emphasis on Soul, Hip-hop and Reggae. Owner Chris Gill’s passion for pushing the Melbourne music scene to both locals and internationally is undeniable. Free instore performances occur regularly and offer visitors a taste of up-and-coming artists in an intimate and friendly atmosphere. If that isn’t impressive enough Chris presses vinyl from local artists under the label aptly named Northside Records, groovy. 236 Gertrude St, Fitzroy (03) 9417 7557
Those who find themselves in the inner north be sure to check out Northcote’s Low Key. The ambience of the bar suits the name perfectly with drink list featuring the standards and nothing too extravagant. The space which used to house a kitchen is now a DJ booth but fear not, hungry customers can still get pizza delivered from Primo Pizza across the road. Vinyl lovers note that Melbourne Record Club host their BYO Vinyl Night on the 1st Sunday of every month where anyone can bring their own record and play it out loud to an audience that shares their passion for music. During winter the fireplace provides a warmth that compliments the crackle of vinyl while on those balmy nights the courtyard is the perfect spot to perch and have someone else provide the soundtrack to your night. 59 High St, Northcote (no phone)
Footscray’s Counterweight Vinyl & Espresso is the perfect spot for a lazy Saturday morning coffee and crate dig. The interior features crates of records with a focus on electronic genres while outdoors there’s wooden seating and a few stools to catch the sun. For those after something more than just coffee Counterweight also offers a selection of pastries from Cobb Lane as well as waffles accompanied by a range of delicious toppings. 32 Chambers St, Footscray, 0409 336 251
Around the corner from Counterweight Vinyl & Espresso is Footscray's newest pint sized neighbourhood cafe-bar, Romans Original. Behind the nondescript shopfront is a cosy is a venue where coffee and sandwiches reign supreme by day, including a meat ball sub, fried chicken sandwich and a mushroom burger. Sitting behind the bar is a record player with a big vinyl collection of world music, complementing mostly European wines. 50 Leeds Street, Footscray, Victoria, 3011.
The simple neon sign on the exterior that states “Music Bar” is enough to draw intrigue from any passerby offering a very humble indication of what’s hidden inside. The ground level interior feels like a polished dive bar with warm and lighting plenty of wood. However, it’s upstairs where the real magic happens. The intimate 80-person space is purpose built for listening to high quality music. Décor is kept to a minimum and the space features sound insulation, a high end Funktion-One sound system and an eclectic selection of records playing. The result is enough to make any audiophile weep with joy. 12 Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 9654 6249
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