Record shops in London: Where to Buy Music?
I guess that most people reading this article haven’t stumbled upon it by accident. It means that either a) you follow our blog (good for you!) or b) you are looking for some independent record shops in London (good for you!). Just a thought – if you are here because of b) – consider a), and if you are here because of a) you should also consider b) :-)
As you might know, I moved here about 4 months ago and have recently started to build up my collection. At this point, all of us are standing at the crossroads – you can go with Ebay/Amazon/HMV hunting (both online and in-store) but if you are after some rarities – especially vinyl and CDs original releases which are not on sale any more – you should definitely visit the independent record shops in London listed below. I haven’t managed to visit all of them yet but I’m going down the list in no particular order comparing the prices, the vibe, and particularly THE STOCK.
Flashback Records – 50 Essex Road, N1 8LR, 144 Crouch Hill, N8 9DX – A massive collection of rare 12-inches and second hand CDs ranging from jazz, to soul, rock, 60s psych and hip-hop. Records seem to be treated with great respect by the staff and they are happy to let you listen to any record you like. The main shop is just minutes away from Haggle Vinyl
Phonica Records - 51 Poland Street, W1F 7LZA – A great shop in Soho for the more electronic-oriented record-seekers. Haven’t seen it yet but heard some fantastic opinions from the true minimal techno, electro, dub step, dance and house music fans. Supposedly very clean and tidy too!
Reckless Records - 30 Berwick Street, W1F 8RH – One of the two record stores on Berwick Street (the smaller one). Not the cleanest and the tidiest one you can find but with a great second hand CDs stock. Last week after a dig I bought some ultimate jazz must-have originals ranging from £2-£5 in very good condition! Definitely worth paying a visit, regardless of your music preferences
Sister Ray - 34-35 Berwick Street, W1F 8RP – Definitely one of the most important spots on the current shops list,just a few steps away from Reckless Records. Amazing stock, customer turntables and a very pleasant experience in general. If you really are a music lover living in London, you will become one of the regulars at some point :)
Sounds of the Universe – 7 Broadwick Street,W1F 0DA – Record shop in Soho associated with the Soul Jazz Record Label. Didn’t have the chance to visit it yet but I drool in front of my screen the just by browsing ther online shop. Will definitely update after paying a visit!
Rough Trade East – 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL – This massive 5000 sq ft store is located on the flagship hipster-strasse in London, if you don’t mind the ‘staches, tats, fixed gears and all that indie rhubarb this place is definitely a go-to – you will definitely find some decent records there
Intoxica! – 231 Portobello Road, W11 1LT – Minutes away from Honest Jon’s and the Portobello Market. A great independent record store to visit for some funk, soul, blues, jazz & 60s beat digging.Decorated in a peculiar manner – astonishing for some, appaling for others.
Haggle Vinyl – 144-116 Essex Road – Very close to the original Flashback Records. A very popular shop with lots of rarities exclusively on vinyl. You can find pearls there – just give yourself some time. Heads up – apparently the owner of the shop is rather on the eccentric side – if you might have a problem with his idiosyncracy simply don’t go there :)
Honest Jon’s - Probably the most popular and one of the oldest record shops in London. A definite stop for anyone looking into jazz, soul, funk and reggae. Just a stone throw away from the Portobello Market and Intoxica! shop mentioned above
On The Beat – 22 Hanway Street W1T 1UQ – a fantastic shop to visit. Great vibe, great stock, great music playing from the speakers. It’s manager – Tim Derbyshire says that the collection covers ‘everything but classical’
Know a different independent record stores in London you could recommend? Feel free to share in the comments section – I’d be happy to add them to the list :-)