1. Spiritland, London, UK
In fast-redeveloping King’s Cross, Spiritland occupies a former coal-sorting factory which later became a legendary rave venue. That musical heritage remains: there’s a radio production suite to hire, plus lots of audio gear, such as the latest headphones, for sale. The main space segues from daylight cafe-and-workspace to lively bar in the evening – one that hosts artist talks and album launches, along with disc jockeys utilising one of London’s best sound systems.
2. Little Soul Cafe, Tokyo, Japan
For every customer at Little Soul Cafe, there are around a thousand LPs – many of them containing soul or disco numbers that would be completely new to most ears. All have been collected by owner Miachan, who effortlessly serves up whiskey highballs while simultaneously keeping the tunes coming, deep into the early hours. The dark, dream-like den is found in hip Shimokitazawa, an area just west of Shibuya.
3. Vinyl, Austin, USA
The allure of this secret, subterranean lounge in Texas’s cool state capital lies in the music played and its speakeasy-inspired interior. Accessed via an unmarked door of Tellers music bar in the gentrified Sixth district, bijou Vinyl has 10,000 LPs for its DJs to rummage through – with dimmed red lights creating a sensual, decadent atmosphere.
SEE ALSO: Best live music venues in Austin, Texas
4. Bob Cafe, Porto, Portugal
Coffee, alcohol and vinyl are co-specialities at this sharp, northern Porto cafe-bar. Bop’s whizzy V60 machine dispenses quality local-roast espressos to guests on counter stools or clustered around sunny pavement tables. Burgers and bagels are served, too. On offer until 1am, the large drinks menu is headlined by draft Musa beers. And stacks of tempting square shelves contain some 2,000 records for sale – with listening stations to help you decide.
5. Golmok Vinyl&Pub, Seoul, South Korea
“From ‘60s to Honne (a contemporary British electro duo)” – that’s how Golmok describes its dense LP library, eye-catchingly packed into two floor-to-ceiling walls. Vinyl bars are common in Seoul, but none can rival Golmok’s expansive catalogue. DJs play selections from this every night as customers chat at scattered tables, or even dance upon them during the weekends when it gets livelier. Vodka cocktails and on-tap beers help things along.
6. Hendrix Ibsen, Oslo, Norway
The sole certainty at Hendrix Ibsen is that something fun will be happening when you visit. Along with the nitro coffees, there are more than 40 varieties of beers and rows of second-hand classic records for sale – think The Rolling Stones, Blondie, and Prince – and a multi-disciplinary muddle of events are held. Concerts and book launches, ‘opera and brew’ nights, art exhibitions, poetry readings, improv theatre – anything goes and everyone’s welcome.
7. Mojo Record Bar, Sydney, Australia
Your average, thriving central Sydney record store by day, Mojo morphs into a small, lively bar after dark. Tiny tables are erected in its back room, candles are lit and inventive cocktails and Australian craft beers become available. Vinyl DJs spin funk & soul on Thursday evenings, while Saturday nights see a three-piece house band perform hip-swinging numbers. The store’s merchandise remains for sale throughout.
– TEXT BY RICHARD MELLOR
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED, BOP CAFE
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.