If you are a music lover, Rasputin is your heaven. Since 1971, this music shop has kept the Bay Area filled with new and old tunes. The Berkeley location was the original one, initially called Rasputin Records. Since then, the chain has expanded throughout Northern California. They have not only a huge vinyl selection, but also CDs, cassettes, and DVDs. The vibe feels original and authentic, with good music always playing, and the place treated like a sanctuary. A tip for vinyl lovers looking for a deal: right under the stairs you can score 50 cent and $1 records. The employees are knowledgeable and the prices couldn’t be better. This is the place to find all your hidden wants, and you’ll discover things you didn’t even know you were looking for. Plus, there is an ice cream cart built into the store, along with the famous CREAM right across the street. What’s better than records and ice cream?
Rasputin Music, 2401 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA, (510) 704-1146
1-2-3-4 Go! Records
When you walk into 1-2-3-4 Go! Records you will just stop and stare. The shop is a clean and crisp find, tucked away in Oakland and waiting to fill all your vinyl needs. It definitely holds its own in quality – you can come here to find punk, rock, and indie records spanning across the past thirty years. In addition to the records, you can find some good cassettes and CDs with a little digging. The shop also doubles as a small venue for local bands to perform, and the company’s support for local musicians is clearly displayed all over the shop. In addition to shows, the shop often hosts signings with famous musicians and various activities for customers to participate in. If you happen to come looking for some good records right before lunch, you can head over to Homeroom next door for some delicious mac n’ cheese.
Dave’s Record Shop
The service at Dave’s Record Shop is great – and the records are even better. You might not have a ton of luck finding newer albums, but you can get virtually any vintage record here and for an extremely reasonable price. With a record player in the corner, you can preview your record before you purchase to make sure it’s what you’re looking for. The store is smaller than most chains, but the quality of albums is unparalleled. The atmosphere conveys a low-key, local shop vibe, and it would be hard to find a more authentic place. There is a huge selection of older rock, jazz and soul, but you’ll fall most in love when you see the $1 selection. Dave’s is your place to find classics and get lost in the dust along the way.
Right down Telegraph in Oakland you’ll find a little record shop called Stranded. With vibes resembling something like a record gallery, this shop stands out from all the rest. The records are generally newer, like the shop itself. It’s sleek, clean, and perfectly organized. This two-story gem carries some of the most rare LPs and the newest records on the market. Since this shop is a little pricier than the rest, you probably won’t find many steals here, but you will get some high quality vinyl that you can’t find anywhere else. The workers are not only knowledgeable about the music, but they have a knack for knowing exactly what you are looking for. Walking into Stranded will fill that music shop void you’ve been feeling, and you will not leave empty handed.
Stranded, 4929 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA, USA, (510) 808-5505
To wrap up the list, we bring you Rasputin’s biggest rival, Amoeba. People come from all over to sift through the vinyl selection here. If you are looking for a huge selection of older vinyl, this is a great place for it. The collection is well-organized, until you get in the $1 section—then you really have to dig. But who can beat $1 records? If you are a record collector, their wide range in genres will be a major advantage for you. Although their records are what draw people in, they also have CDs and cassettes, like Rasputin. Many claim that Amoeba is home to the best vinyl selection in the entire Bay Area. Regardless of the homeless community out front, plan on spending most of a day here. And after you’re done, if you make it out with a few extra dollars, head a few doors down to Tako Sushi for some of the best sushi in town.
Amoeba Music, 2455 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA, (510) 549-1125