To the delight of crate diggers across the city, Manchester’s record stores are beginning to re-open.
With vinyl poised to outsell CDs for the first time since 1986, those glossy black discs, once on the brink of obsolescence, continue to enjoy an unprecedented second life.
Independent record stores, whose business was decimated by the digital revolution, have enjoyed their own second life thanks to the vinyl revival. A whole new wave of music fans now look forward to weekends spent thumbing through records, eyeing cover art in its full glory, and potentially stumbling across rare treasures.
Manchester, it just so happens, has some of the best record stores in the country. From electronic haven Eastern Bloc to eclectic treasure trove Vinyl Exchange to bastion of alternative music, Piccadilly Records, the city is home to some truly special independent retailers.
Right now, all of them are suffering. The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in months of closure and a catastrophic downturn in business. Now that the lockdown is easing, by degrees, they’re re-opening. Still enduring a really tough period, now is the time to support them with our business.
If, like us, you’re eager to get your greasy, sanitised paws on some new records, here’s the lowdown on how each of Manchester’s key independent record stores is currently operating.
Here are our picks
Eastern Bloc Records, 5A Stevenson Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1DN - Visit now
Specialists in electronic music, Eastern Bloc re-opened on 19th June, and is operating from 10am-5pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Browsing is currently by appointment – just drop them an email on email@example.com. Alternatively, if you’re passing and they’re not busy, you’ll be able to head right in. The shop also functions as a café/bar, and you can now pre-book seated tables of up to 6 people. It’s a 2-hour slot for every table subject to availability, and you can either call 0161 2286555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your slot. The new hours of service & food times are:
Mon-Fri for food 7.30am-3pm and drinks til 6pm
Sat and Sun food 9.30am-5pm and drinks 8pm
Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now
Vinyl Exchange, the north-west’s largest seller and buyer of rare and second-hand records, re-opened its doors on 2nd July, having of course been closed since lockdown began. They are now operating semi-normally – they just ask that you wear a face mask and follow the foolproof guidelines pasted on every available surface!
Piccadilly Records, 53 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JR - Visit now
Piccadilly Records, the jewel in the crown of Oldham Street, have no firm plans to re-open fully. That being said, they’ve recently reinstated the Pick-Up-In-Store service on their website, where their entire stock is available to view online. Be sure to check out their staff picks and lockdown offers, too, which are updated regularly. They’re also hosting virtual in-stores, with the likes of Hinds, Dream Wife and Polly Scattergood having been featured thus far – plenty of virtual goodies to keep you going until you can thumb through Piccadilly Records’ brilliant collection in person.
Vinyl Revival, 5 Hilton St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LP - Visit now
Champions of music made in Manchester, Vinyl Revival are currently open Mondays to Thursdays from 12-4pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. At the start of the lockdown, Colin White at Vinyl Revival and Trevor Johnson (Factory/Haçienda creative) designed Manchester NHS t-shirts, which have been proudly sported by the likes of Peter Hook, Anthony Crolla and Jo Hartley. The last of these are currently on sale in-store, and 100% of the profits are going to the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Vinyl Resting Place, 3rd Floor Afflecks Palace, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW
A dream for crate-diggers with an eclectic taste, Vinyl Resting Place can be found on the 3rd floor of Afflecks Palace. They re-opened on 20th June, and are currently operating from 10:30am-6pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am-6pm on Saturdays.