Best Record Stores in London (2015)

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by bkbk, Mar 27, 2015.

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  1. bkbk

    bkbk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Hey guys,

    I'm headed to London this weekend and would love to hit the best shops in town. I love rock, jazz, classical and Motown, but since I'm in London I would like to find juicy UK pressings of 60s AND 70s British rock.

    If I can only go to 3 stores max, where should I go?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Willowman

    Willowman Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Sister Ray and Reckless on Berwick St, Soho.
     
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  3. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    If its old stuff you want, my vote would be to go to Berwick Street in Soho, to Sister Ray or Reckless. They are within 100 yards of each other so it's basically one choice.

    If you want new stuff, or reissued older stuff, then FOPPLONDON in Earlham Street, Covent Garden.

    Earlham St and Berwick St are only about 10 to 15 minutes from each other, both just off Shaftesbury Avenue. One is just off the s theatre land stretch from Piccadilly Circus to Cambridge Circus, FoppLondon is just off Cambridge Circus/Seven Dials.

    If you want soul and jazz, maybe take a hike across to East Putney to Soul Brother Records. Only a tiny shop but good stocks and the guys really know their stuff, both new and old. Ask for Laurence.

    All will be on the web. Soul Bros site gives you a good idea of stock. If you know what you want maybe give each a ring first to see if they have it or can suggest somewhere else. They are all quite helpful in my experience in making suggestions for other places if they don't do it themselves.

    So, three choices: Sister Ray/Reckless; FOPPLONDON, Soul Brother.

    Hope this helps....don't shoot the piano player. Good luck...

    NB There's another soul/reggae place just round the corner from Berwick Street going back towards Shaftesbury Ave, and Cambridge Circus, but I forget it's name/exact street. I'm sure they'll know in Berwick St. There's also a disco/techno place and a specialist reggae shop in the area if that's your bag, but it sounds though it isn't. Happy shopping.
     
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  4. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Location:
    Eastern Shore
    It's been many years since I was in London, but is Portobello Road still an option?
    I found some great things there one Saturday about 20 years ago, and the place was a blast.
    Have a terrific time. My favorite city.
     
  5. john hp

    john hp Forum Resident

    Location:
    Warwickshire, UK
    That's Sounds of the Universe in Broadwick Street, just past Reckless Records
    http://www.soundsoftheuniverse.com/
     
  6. capn

    capn Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    If you're going this weekend you should definitely be hitting Record Label Market, where labels will be selling direct to fans. It's in Spittalfields Market, http://www.independentlabelmarket.com
     
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  7. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    I forget their names, but there's one on the high street close to Notting Hill tube ? Record Exchange. And there's a couple down at the bottom end of the Portobello Road market, closer to Ladbooke Grove underneath the flyover. The market is hugely busy at weekends, loads of tourists. I'd prob pick Soho/Covent Garden but the market is great if you just want to drift about and look at antiques, fruit and veg, clothes etc too.

    There maybe stuff at Camden Market too but being North, that's out of the loop for a west London guy.
     
  8. Willowman

    Willowman Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
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  9. Willowman

    Willowman Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Very annoyed to be missing this. More interesting (to me) than record store day.
     
  10. bkbk

    bkbk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    These are great suggestions. Thank you all very much. It sounds like I can take the wife to some of these areas as well.
     
  11. BigGame

    BigGame Forum Resident

    I love Sister Ray
     
  12. bkbk

    bkbk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I ended up going to Sister Ray, Reckless and the east side Rough Trade. Sister Ray and Reckless were decent, though ridiculously priced. Good pressings of popular records were selling for top dollar and were in poor condition. Rough Trade east only sells new stuff, which is great, but I can get the same stuff at Rough Trade in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

    I looked into the Record Label Market at Spittalfields, but i was a day late. Good suggestion though -- looked like it was cool.

    The store at Nottinghill Gate will be on my list next time around as will Sounds of the Universe.
     
  13. bkbk

    bkbk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I was back in London this weekend and had time to hit a couple of shops. I went to Music & Video Exchange and Rough Trade West. Both were good -- Rough Trade has good used section downstairs and good prices though they need a new turntable/headphone setup so you can listen to records. The current one is busted. Music & Video exchange was only so-so for their rock/jazz/indie stuff, but had an awesome classical collection downstairs and a house/electro & hip hop section upstairs.
     
  14. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    I agree with you on Sister Ray and Reckless prices. Sounds like you went to Portobello Road/Notting Hill.

    If you like soul snd jazz check out www.soulbrother.com. Their prices tend to reflect the rarity of an item.

    It is also worth just googling for record fairs. Some are regular e.g. Spitalfields on certain Fridays and Saturdays. Others are more ad hoc.

    I don't know the East End but there are I think other places near to Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Hackney. There's on in the lobby of a hotel I think.
     
  15. namretsam

    namretsam Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa , CA
    Words can't express what the waste of a precious day in London is for record shopping in 2015.

    Go to Fopp to by your current releases and 3 pound CD cut outs, head to Brick lane to Rough Trade if you must and Flashback are the only decent store(s) really for used vinyl in all of Metropolitan London. Sister Ray and Reckless are a waste of time unless you have time to waste.
     
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  16. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    I've lost track of the amount of times I've written ALAN'S RECORDS IN EAST FINCHLEY on this forum.
     
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  17. Orthogonian Blues

    Orthogonian Blues Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    It's a bit out of the way, and a bit disorganised, but there's some great stuff to be found amongst the mess! Dear old Alan told me that he gets over 1000 new items in a week!
     
  18. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    He sure does! Every Christmas he has a half price sale to make space for more records!
     
  19. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I won't get to London until next year but I'll have to make time to visit Alan's. It's been mentioned quite a few times :)
     
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  20. Diskhound

    Diskhound Forum Resident

    This is a very good recommendation.

    I collect rock and blues. I have shopped in quite a few European cities over the past several years for used vinyl. I was in London twice earlier this year shopping for used records. I went to all the stores mentioned above in Soho and a couple of others. In my opinion, the only store really worth your time if you collect in the same genres as I do is Alan's. Period. Sister Ray deserves a kind mention though because I did get a good price on a couple of Gary Moore albums that are hard to find in Canada. There was also a used records "exchange" store down the street from Sister Ray's where I found a great copy of The End on a 12 inch 45 RPM record. In general though, I found the downtown stores terribly over priced and picked-over in the genres I collect. The collectable pieces they had were crazy over priced. After hearing so much about the famous Berwick, Soho record scene I can't tell you how disappointing it was. The reality is that downtown London is a fabulous place and I loved visiting there but it is way too expensive for used vinyl. Do yourself a favour. Get out of the city center. Take the time and head-out to Alan's and other recommended stores in less expensive areas.

    Oh yeah, if you can get to Manchester then King Bee Records is a great place to go because the famous northern quarter was equally disappointing.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
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  21. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    A local store here in Toronto has just opened up a store in London.

    Cosmo's Records London, 324A Hackney Rd, London E2 7AX.

    Store is fairly small. I think they're starting off with about 1200 lps or so.
     
  22. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    It's a shame you were misled to believe Berwick street or Soho in general still has a famous record store scene. That's not been the case for over a decade.

    You're assessment of the stores in the area pretty much match up with mine.
     
  23. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    Glad you made it to Alan's! Hope you had some nice finds :)
     
  24. boiledbeans

    boiledbeans Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    *bump*

    I'll be visiting UK next week, mainly London and Manchester. Possibly Edinburgh & Glasgow as well. I'm mainly looking for CD releases for general pop & rock albums from 1960s till today.

    Where is a good place with a large back catalogue, with good prices (possibly comparable with Amazon UK)?
    I've googled HMV and they have 3 shops each in London and in Manchester. One each is a Fopp. Is there a big difference in catalogue between Fopp and HMV?

    I've googled Virgin Megastore and they seem to have closed. Are there any other recommended stores?

    What about used CDs, again for general pop & rock albums from 1960s till today?
     
  25. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    Fopp is probably better for older titles, HMV is more aimed at chart releases.

    The used CD scene in London isn't great in my experience. The odd bargain here and there, but not many rarities.
     
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