By Katie Hubbard, 3rd year Geography
The resurgence of vinyl over the last decade may have come as a surprise to some; in Bristol, it’s popularity never waned. These are our picks of the best crate-digging spots across the city.
Gastro Vinyl (New & Used) - 68 Park Row, BS1 5LE
Despite a smaller selection, Gastro Vinyl boasts some rare finds in punk, glam and classic rock, and has the advantage of being a stone’s throw away from the Wills Memorial Building - ideal for a break between lectures. You’ll also find books, cassette tapes, zines and VHS videos in this indie treasure trove.
Rough Trade (New) - 3 New Bridewell, Nelson Street, BS1 2QD
Founded in London in 1976, Rough Trade was synonymous with punk. As the label’s popularity grew, so did the range of genres it covered: today, Bristol’s Rough Trade houses an extensive catalogue of classic and contemporary records, an onsite café and an intimate gig venue (well worth a visit when Covid-19 restrictions allow). Rough Trade feels distinctly local, despite being a national franchise; it’s a great place to come to discover new music.
Playback records (Used), The Rock Shop (New & Used) – Unit 45, Unit 79-83, St Nicholas Market, BS1 1LJ
Small but mighty: nestled in amongst St Nicholas Market, Playback Records hosts decades of classic vinyl at very reasonable prices. For those seeking a harder edge, The Rock Shop carries representation from every camp within the genre (and a T-shirt for each too).
Collector Cave (New & Used), Stokes Croft Vintage Market, 15-19 Stokes Croft BS1 3PY
If the Vintage Market’s offering of charming furniture and bohemian kitsch didn’t draw you in, the Collectors Cave is well worth a visit. Occupying the far side of the ground floor, it’s collection of 12” dance singles cover the spectrum of electronic music, from dubstep to disco, alongside crates of hip-hop, soul and classic rock. Second-hand hi-fis, PA systems and DJ accessories add niche appeal.
PK Music Exchange (Used), 51 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, BS7 8AD
You’d be forgiven for walking past the PK Exchange without realising what lies inside; the windows, and half of the shop itself, display a huge array of instruments and second-hand music equipment, making vinyl only a small part of what’s on offer. Masses of classic house, breakbeat and techno reward prudent digging.
Plastic Wax Records (Used) - 222 Cheltenham Road, BS6 5QU
Founded in ’78, Plastic Wax boasts one of the city’s largest second-hand collections. Among its many categories, an extensive film soundtrack section and endless rows of 70’s and 80’s hits, alongside hand-picked selections. An equally large selection of CDs makes this an authoritative store.
Radio/ON (New), 34 Park Street, BS1 5JG
Radio/ON is spacious and light, making for a smaller and more curated offering. Hidden above BS8 Vintage, it offers the best in current indie, post punk and avant-garde, alongside books, postcards and classic reissues. Always a nice place to spend time and find new favourites, though you’ll pay more for the privilege.
Prime Cuts (Used) - 85 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, BS7 8AS
Underground and underrated, Prime Cuts makes the most of its basement setting. An eclectic mix of records is on offer, each hand labelled with a short description, making this an excellent place to delve deeper into a given genre or try something entirely new.
Idle Hands (New), 32a City Road, BS2 8TP
Located in Stokes Croft, the vibrant heart of Bristol’s club scene, Idle Hands showcases the best of dance and electronica from around the world. The selection of 12” on offer is testament to the expertise of its staff – a must visit for fans of the genre, or those looking to learn more.
Featured Image: Epigram / Lucas Arthur
Will you be checking out Bristol's vinyl stores?