Any vinyl lovers who queued outside their favourite record stores this weekend for the first instalment of Record Store Day 2021 will be wondering why we’re posting this article a couple of days late. But we still wanted to share with you our favourite independent record stores that the capital has to offer.
London is full of exciting, genre focused record stores spread far and wide across the boroughs. You’ll find everything from old school hip hop to heavy metal, jazz to indie folk. And right now, you’ll be able to nab up a few Record Store Day special releases too or prepare yourselves for the second instalment on 17th July.
So take your finger away from the Spotify app and read on to find out our favourites…
Stranger Than Paradise, located inside Mare Street Market, is an independent record store that champions the best of music. Old or new, whatever your music taste, you’ll find that dream album waiting for you on the shelves.
Owned by Noreen, the record shop has become a favourite amongst Hackney dwellers. Naturally, records can be found strapped upon every inch of the store, from the shelves through to the walls, pinning their current lp favourites. Head down, flick through the racks and uncover your new favourite artist.
Where: Mare Street Market, 117 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 4RU
Dating back to 1984, Reckless Records was the first record store to open up on Berwick Street, Soho, and over 35 years later, continues to welcome fans, old and new, through the doors every day.
Even if you’ve never visited before, you might recognise the shop front from the cover of Oasis’s album What’s The Story Morning Glory. The store specialises in second-hand vinyl, spanning a range of styles and genres. Expect everything from metal and rock through to reggae, electronic and soul.
If you’re looking to sell your collection, the team will be able to help you out and advise you on all your specialist needs.
Where: 30 Berwick Street, Soho, W1F 8RH
For those on the hunt for collectibles, make sure you check out Flashback Records. These guys specialise in rare collectable records, as well as boasting a wide range of new, contemporary vinyl in a whole array of styles and genres.
You’ll find them located in Islington, Crouch End and Shoreditch, and all three locations are well worth exploring. They also host live in-store performances occasionally too, check out their events page for more details once COVID restrictions have been lifted.
Where: Islington, Crouch End & Shoreditch
A favourite amongst every music journalist, musician and vinyl collector, Honest Jon’s is an independent store located on Portobello Road in Ladbroke Grove.
Owned and run by Mark Ainley and Alan Scholefield, these guys have been operating the record store since the mid seventies and specialise in jazz, blues, reggae, soul and dance music. Head down and flick through the rack upon rack of options.
You’ll also find their second branch in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross.
Where: 278 Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove, W10 5TE
Books and vinyl, what more could you ask for?
Find The Book and Record Bar in Norwood, serving up the finest selection of used books and records that London has to offer. The emporium offers a maze of possibility, spanning a multitude of genres. It’s also a bit of a social hub for live radio broadcasts and music events.
Head here for a drink and a good read, catch up or vinyl scour.
Where: 20 Norwood High Street, Norwood, SE27 9NR
East London’s Yo Yo Records is your one stop shop for US originals and vintage pressings. These guys know how to do it right and how to do it well; their knowledge is specialised and detailed, and you’ll leave with a bag full of collectibles and stunning finds.
Expect to explore shelves abrim with funk, soul, jazz, fusion, Brazilian, Latin, disco, boogie and rare grooves.
Where: 324D Hackney Road, E2 9ED
For the electronic music fans out there, look to Phonica record store in Soho to help you fill your club music void. Find all of your favourite names, including a few ultra-premium handmade limited editions just for the store.
Phonica also sells a handful of used records too, so for those wanting to find a record at a bargain price these might be your best option. Otherwise head here for dance vibes and big sounds.
Where: 51 Poland Street, Soho, W1F 7LZ
Forget expanding your collection from buying off the web, head to All Ages Records for the real experience.
Specialising in old school punk, All Ages Records is London’s best independent record store for all things edgy and hardcore. What with it being located in Camden Town, it only seems natural. As well as vinyl, expect to be scouring fanzines, books, patches, t-shirts, dvds and even pick up some gig tickets for a show later this year.
I don’t think Kingston gets enough love. The riverside destination is home to loads of brilliant independent stores, including Banquet Records.
Banquet Records, which can be found on Eden Street, sells new vinyl, CDs and everything in between. Explore the world of indie, punk-rock and dance all in one place. As well as selling records, you’ll also find them putting on over 200 events a year in and around the local area, from in-store gigs to huge theatre performances with big touring bands.
Where: 52 Eden Street, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1EE
It would be odd not to include Rough Trade in this round-up. What once started as Geoff Travis’s independent record store in Ladbroke Grove, has since flourished into a huge group of independent record shops across the UK and US.
Find everything from new releases, pre-orders and Rough Trade exclusives, as well in-store performances and events with some of the biggest, brightest new and old stars in the music industry.