Top Record Stores in D.C.

Courtesy of Bella Ramon

By Bella Ramon

In this current technological era, many people have come to cherish the old tradition of owning records and record players, making them become a particularly hot commodity. The District is no stranger to record shops, having about fifteen stores within its borders. Many of these stores are easily accessible and are multi-functioning spaces, making stopping into the stores memorable. 

One of the most popular record shops in D.C. is Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe located right in the heart of Adams Morgan on 18th Street NW. It is a multi-functioning space that entices visitors with a record shop, concert venue, small cafe, bar, and a restaurant. 

Visitors have many options to choose where to eat and spend their between three levels within the shop. Enjoy the bar and restaurant and a DJ in the upstairs lounge area. Creatively, their extensive food menus are glued to the inside of record sleeves, adding to the musical atmosphere. 

On the main level, there are two seperate rooms to enjoy coffee and a snack bar. There are plenty of comfortable seats where visitors can sit and get work done while surrounded by the vintage decor and old vinyls. Visitors are able to browse the collection of both new and old records on sale while sipping on a freshly made cup of coffee or trying a seasonal snack item from the menu. 

Downstairs, also known as the Byrd Cage, has been converted into a fully functioning music venue. People can head down to listen to live music, watch a comedy show, or simply dance. The venue hosts international and local DJs and many more exciting artists. Songbyrd is a multi-functioning space that is quick to please anyone who goes to buy a new record or enjoy live music. 

Smash! Records, also located in Adams Morgan, appeals to a slightly different crowd than other record shops in the area. Also a multi-functioning space, Smash! is both a record shop and an alternative second-hand clothing store. Notorious for their punk and alternative style, the shop’s record, CD, and cassette tape selections reflect just that. People are able to buy and sell vintage and alternative music and clothing at this one-stop shop. 

Hill & Dale is another record shop located in the heart of Georgetown on 31st Street NW. Not specializing in any genre, they’re open to all music types and simply enjoy sharing diverse music styles for everyone to appreciate. The shop is pristine, simple, and aesthetically pleasing. With the records being sorted alphabetically, the searching process is made simple for those who go in looking for a specific artist.  

This shop is specifically geared toward the millennial generation who have recently been taking an interest in this old medium of listening to music, but many older record collectors can find an interest in the shop as well. 

Head over to any of these record shops to search through their new releases, reissued and repressed vinyl records, and collectible posters. 

“It’s cool because there are so many different types of music in one room. And even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still fun to go and look” said freshman Music Education major, Julia Vitale.

Because we live in such a technologically driven time, many are enjoying stepping into the past and enjoying a tangible way to listen to the music that they love. Not only is visiting these record shops a way to transport oneself back in time and enjoy the artsy scene of Washington D.C, but it is also a great way to support small businesses at the same time.

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