10 Best Record Shops in LondonTuesday, June 14, 2016 Festivals and Lifestyle by William Dorey
London is one of the World’s best cities for vinyl lovers, for both a cheap bargain, and for those looking for rare collectables.
There are dozens of record shops dotted in and around the capital, covering every kind of genre imaginable.
From the very high-value soul and funk 7”s and vintage rock LPs to the dusty shelves with 50p bargain finds, we take a look at some of my favourite record shops in London (in no particular order).
Out On The Floor – Record Store in Camden Town
Located in the tourist hub of Camden Town close to the canals and their pretty locks, Out On The Floor is a collectors paradise for all kinds of vinyl heads.
It is one of those shops that stocks only second-hand vinyl (and the occasional CD), meaning that what you can find in there is constantly changing from week to week.
Specialties include reggae, soul and funk, progressive and psychedelic rock.
Out On The Floor also has a record label running under the name of Tuff Scout, which releases exclusively reggae music – mostly new recordings – but also the odd reissue of a rare old 7” record.
Well worth checking out!
Official website: only has a Facebook page
Location: 10 Inverness St, London NW1 7HJ
Right on the outer-edge of London (it’s not technically London, but I’m going to include it anyhow!) lies another great record store – Banquet Records.
Formed ‘from the ashes’ of the Beggars Banquet shops, it specialises in genres such as indie, punk, emo, electro, house, drum ‘n’ bass and dub-step – but also other genres – and they hold both CD and vinyl formats.
The stock is mostly new, bringing to you what’s hot and fresh from the record press!
Banquet Records do have in-store gigs as well, which you can check out on their website.
Location: 52 Eden St, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1EE
Harold Moores Records – The Best Classical record shop in London
My list of excellent record shops in London would not be complete without including at least one classical addition.
So here it is!
Harold Moores is perhaps London’s best classical music store, with a wide variety of new and second-hand stock available in vinyl, CD and DVD formats.
You will find the staff to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and the atmosphere is calm and cosy; and located just by Oxford Circus, there is no better place to quietly dig through a box of classical records.
This London music shop also has an excellent collection of jazz vinyl in the basement which I recommend very highly.
Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson etc can all be found here!
Location: 2 Great Marlborough St, London W1F 7HQ
Rough Trade (East & West)
At the forefront of the UK record scene, and one of the oldest kids on the block, is Rough Trade.
The first store was opened in 1978 just off the quaint Portobello Road in West London, but since then they have expanded into East London, Nottingham and even New York!
Rough Trade has long been known to sell music of all styles and genres – mostly new. Anything you are possibly looking for they will probably have.
The various stores also do in-store gigs with up-and-coming bands, which are always free and would make an intimate and unique experience. You can search through their event calendar to see what is on this week.
Location: The flagship store is located at 130 Talbot Road, London, W11 1JA
Formerly known as ‘Music Temple,’ this small shop located in the vibrant and bustling Brixton Market recently changed hands and came into the ownership of Lion Vibes.
This revamped store is possibly the best place if you are looking for reggae records, both new and second hand.
No other record shops in London can offer the variety that these guys can. Lion Vibes is special because reggae music is pretty much all they sell!
Dig through the rows of singles, ‘disco style’ records and full-length LPs to find classic, rare and the simply obscure vinyl to add to your collection.
Everything is very reasonably priced too!
They also do in-store launches for new releases, follow Lion Vibes Twitter for more details.
Location: 98, Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8PS
Sounds of the Universe (Soul Jazz Record Shop)
Sounds of the Universe is home to another kingpin on the scene – the amazing Soul Jazz Records – with this shop providing it’s storefront.
Soul Jazz has been responsible for putting out an enormous and prolific variety of top-notch music, and making it available at reasonable prices.
Their sonic forays include reaching into the archives of New Orleans soul and funk, the deepest kinds of Jamaican reggae, New York hip-hop, and much, much more; reissuing it so that we can all hear this wonderfully obscure music that we would never otherwise have found.
At Sounds of the Universe you will find mostly new music, of every kind of genre, but also books, merchandise, DVDs and more.
It is my go-to place for a brilliant compilation.
Location: 7 Broadwick St, London W1F 0DA
This store (previously known as Selectadisc) is another one of London’s real oldies.
Located in the heart of Soho on Berwick Street, and only a few seconds walk from Sounds of the Universe, Sister Ray is undoubtedly one of the best records shops in town.
The shop is not as big as it used to be (they recently moved from across the street), but it holds two floors of mainly CD and vinyl, new and second hand, including rare records a-plenty.
All non-classical genres are stocked, and you can easily find a gem or two looking through their vinyl boxes.
Certainly one of the most reliable record stores London has to offer.
Sister Ray has also recently branched out and opened a new shop in Shoreditch, which – following the modern vinyl revival – sells only vinyl!
Occasional gigs are hosted in the next-door Ace Hotel, check out their list of upcoming shows for more details.
Location: 75 Berwick St, London W1F 8RP
Flashback prides itself on its reasonable prices, for both buying and selling.
It is also regarded as having ‘all-filler’ stock, i.e. good quality tunes abound! …And for a second hand store, that’s very good news.
Bargain hunters and rare-music collectors alike will be delighted at the array of both obscure and well-known records.
Opened in 1997, Flashback initially sold retro and vintage clothing as well as music.
Having passed in and then out of the realm of videocassettes and DVDs, it now stands steady in its present puritan state, selling only vinyl and CDs.
They are doing so well that they even have two new branches, one in Crouch Hill, and the other ‘flagship store’ in Shoreditch.
For upcoming in-store shows and more, check out their website.
Location: 131 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2 7DG
Honest Jon’s is perhaps the old boy on my list.
It certainly has quite a history.
Established in 1974 on Portobello Road in the then Caribbean-dominated streets of West London, it has seen many well-known faces pass through, including legends such as Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Johnny Rotten, and reggae stars a-plenty including the legendary Dr Alimantado; and with each one of these there will be at least an anecdote or two!
Honest Jon’s stock a healthy variety of eclectic new music and reissues.
The vinyl is generally all new, which is no bad thing.
Take a browse through their ‘latest 100 arrivals’ on their online store (linked below) and you will be impressed by the diversity of what they offer.
Large amounts of reggae, mingled with all sorts of house and electronic, afrobeat, soul and everything else in between.
As an extra tip, it is perhaps the most reasonably priced record shop London has to offer if you’re buying new vinyl. Hence, I am a regular customer there!
Location: 278 Portobello Rd, London W10 5TE