Record hunting can be thirsty work, and all crate-diggers appreciate sitting down after an arvo-long search with a refreshing beer and their personal pile of vinyl gold.
Here are our favourite watering holes that double as vinyl spinners and record shops.
The Gem Bar & Dining
This little northern gem dishes up American-style BBQ low and slow in a quirky live music venue. Local jockeys spin vinyl on Saturday nights, while Fridays and Sundays are for live music takeovers. For a thirst quencher, take your pick from 16 beers on tap, frozen margaritas or even mulled wine (for those subzero Melbourne winter months).
White Rabbit Record Bar
A warm cuppa coffee or a thematic cocktail inspired by Alice in Wonderland? Take your pick. Vinyl spins both day and night at White Rabbit, and you can order off the food menu if you start to feel peckish mid-hunt. Hot tip: they even sell vinyl for $1!
With a mission to discover strange new music and uncover the best of vinyl collections from far and wide, Belleville is THE place to be for vinyl enthusiasts no matter the genre. They call their vinyl-only nights The Vinyl Frontier, held on Thursdays from 8pm to 1am with DJs GSM and Colette at their intimate cocktailbar. All are welcome! On Fridays, their main bar has got a vinyl-only DJ booth run by DJ Eddie Mac that overlooks the restaurant like something out of a Zoolander walk-off. Watch them chuck some good vinyl on the decks as you settle down with this month's poutine and a quarter chicken.
The northside bar that’s great for beer and jaffles also happens to believe that their variety of digs are treasure, NOT trash. Plus, they like to push the DIY element, giving their customers the real DJ experience. Vinyl lovers should definitely check it out.
If you’re as hungry for food as you are for vinyl, it’s a good thing these guys’ motto is “we cook, you eat”. Boasting a menu that celebrates local produce and changes often, keeping regulars from getting bored, Gerald's has a great variety of Australian gin and tasty dishes like whisky cured salmon, king prawns, chicken and cranberry terrine and sriracha pork ribs. Delish. Live like a local and pay a visit to Gerald’s—the only music playing comes right off the decks.
Melbourne Record Club
At MRC’s events all across Melbourne, it’s all about DIY and BYO. They’ve got BYO vinyl nights popping up all the time (because why request a song when you can spin it yourself?). Instead of handing it to the DJ, YOU are the DJ. Hot tip: Their 100th BYO Vinyl Night will fall on June 24 at Preston’s Hard Rubbish Bar and they’re giving away a brand new Numark TT250USB Direct Drive DJ Turntable. Get around it.
Houndstooth Bar & Kitchen
Nestled within Houndstooth, you’ll find fully-licensed record shop Lofi Records selling pre-loved vinyl from the 60s 'til now. Have a beer, wine or cocktail while digging for your favourite flavours or listening to that rare gem you just found. Heads up: they also mix a mean espresso martini. We've found our happy place.
Okay, so they’re not a bar, but this part record store, part café gathers collectors, DJs and fans of everything underground. They’ve got a ton of rare stock, with new shipments from Europe coming in weekly, so stop by for a dig and chill with some killer coffee and French waffles. Besides, how many record stores open at 7am?
So, where else can you get your hands on some licorice pies in Melbourne? Check this out.
Image credit: Roman Kraft