However you like to enjoy your music, whether it be MP3, CD or online streaming, you can’t deny that vinyl is back and better than ever. Here are some of the best record shops in London to procure those rare records, deep cuts, and classic tunes.
Honest Jon’s Records
If you’re after some jazz LPs, rare reggae 7”s and experimental 12”s, look no further than Honest Jon’s. Originally located in a former butcher’s shop, the historical record store moved to Portobello in the 1980s and has been trading in little known vinyl ever since. The vibrant west London community has been getting its hot releases from John Clare since he opened the store after a career as a sociology lecturer.
Honest Jon’s Records, 278 Portobello Rd, London, +44 20 8969 9822
Sounds of The Universe
Although Stuart Baker started this musical institution in a market stall in Camden, he always knew Soho’s Broadwick Street was a Mecca for music lovers and the ultimate place to move his record store. He established the Soul Jazz label in 1992 which aimed to create compilation albums fusing soul, jazz and reggae music.
Sounds of The Universe, 7 Broadwick St, Soho, London, +44 20 7734 3430
Vinyl music was in big trouble when Phonica opened in 2003. Record shops were closing down in their droves and sales of vinyl records were at an all time low. Thank goodness Phonica had faith and the vinyl renaissance has come to their rescue. The shop hosts regular in-store appearances, Record Store Day parties and live streams, and it’s even a dance music hub and has made its name on the international dance music scene.
Phonica Records51 Poland St, Soho, London, +44 20 7025 6070
Flashback Records Essex Road
This North London institution opened its first store on Essex road over 20 years ago. Now its three stores across the city are a reliable source for a broad selection of genres, styles, and formats, and offer a huge selection of second hand stock. Perfect for a weekend rummage – you never know what you might find!
Flashback Records, 50 Essex Rd, London, +44 20 7354 9356
In the heart of Soho’s record store district, this soul sistah has been flogging a weird, wonderful and fantastically diverse range of records since 1987. Sister Ray are true vinyl specialists and don’t believe in online selling – they’re all about getting to the store, feeling the dust jacket in your hand and having a Hi-Fidelity style argument about the best albums of all time.
Sister Ray, 75 Berwick St, Soho, London, +44 20 7734 3297
The front of the shop says: Music. Coffee. Bagels. If that’s not enough to tempt you in (what is wrong with you?) than maybe the huge range of CDs, vinyl rarities and a focus on jazz, blues, folk and rock on the inside will keep you coming back. Brill!
27 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, +44 20 7833 9757