Never before has music been so easily available. Thanks to streaming networks and download platforms you can listen to any artist, any song, and any playlist at any given time wherever you are. Sure, that is pretty cool, but it also takes away a bit of the mystical charm that used to come with music records. How much more did a single album mean when you had to wait for days until the record store around the corner had it in stock? And how much more would you value a longplayer that for ages you had been looking for before you finally found it at a flea market? Is it a surprise then that so many people are falling in love still with the soft crackling of vinyl? Audiophiles collect records for the unique sound, proper djs play their sets from vinyl still, and some people just prefer to be able to literally hold a piece of music in their hand. Whatever reason you have to still dig analog music – Berlin is roses for you, roses all the way. You can find a record store on every other corner here, so you better look out you don’t get lost in the vinyl jungle. As a guideline, we from Industriepalast Hostel put together our Top 5 Record Stores in Berlin for you:
For more than 20 years already, Spacehall in Kreuzberg’s Bergmannkiez has been a divine temple of the Berlin techno scene. The vinyl department makes for an entire shop here and the atmosphere is exactly what you would expect from a classic record store: plenty of choice and professional advice between walls plastered with posters and photographs. Also: the ever-present feeling to be surrounded by indieheads that know so much more about music than you do. The department of techno, house, d’n’b, and all sorts of other electronic beats is one of the best in the world, so make sure to check out the back room, too. You are not very likely to make a snatch here, but the choice is excellent. Techno freaks, you’re home.
| Zossener Str. 33 in Berlin Kreuzberg. Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 11 – 20; Thu & Fri even until 22. |
four: Bis aufs Messer
You don’t need a dictionary to understand words like grunge, noise, doom, garage and emo? You are going to love this place: Bis aufs Messer (“to the knife”) in the hip neighbourhood around Warschauer Strasse (Hyperlink zu: ???) is all about alternativ rock, so even punk and metal fans will get their money’s worth here. If what you imagine now is a sinister basement with cobweb decoration you will be rather surprised to find it a minimalistic and very stylish store. They have mostly vinyl on sale, often for a reduced price. And even if you are not all about the genres mentioned above you might still be able to find a nice specimen in one of the beautiful wooden boxes.
| Marchlewskistr. 107 in Berlin Friedrichshain. Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 11 – 20; Sat, 11 -18. |
three: Gordon Café & Records
Good coffee and good music, that goes hand in hand – you’re not going to sip your artisanal cortado with David Guetta playing on the stereo, right? Gordon Café & Records in Neukölln’s Schillerkiez (Berlin’s most trending neighbourhood) devotes itself entirely to two very beautiful things: coffee and music. And yes, it is all roses. You will probably ask them if you can move in after you’ve browsed through their neat but excellent choice of electronic music and their yummy israeli snacks. Better not make any plans for the rest of the day.
| Allerstr. 11 in Berlin Neukölln. Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 8 – 22; Sun, 10 – 22. |
two: Mr. Dead & Mrs. Free
45 square meters in the north of West-Berlin’s Schöneberg, not far from the queer scene at Nollendorfplatz, are living proof that despite copyright piracy and streaming overdose vinyl will never die. Mr. Dead & Mrs. Free have long passed their 30th birthday, and still the owner knows exactly what his customers (some of them quite famous) want. There is something for everyone, no matter how much you stick to the current and past mainstream or how much you don’t. So it’s basically just an old-school record store. Just a warm and cozy cave, just a womb where you can forget about the world for a while on 33 and a third rpm. You know, just the most beautiful place in the world.
| Bülowstr. 5 in Berlin Schöneberg. Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 12 – 19; Sat, 11 – 16. |
one: Hard Wax
Dimitri Hegeman, man and myth, founder and owner of the legendary nightclub Watergate, recently announced the establishment of a Berlin Techno Museum in the near future. Nice idea – but it already exists: You might call Hard Wax a record store, or you might call it the Walhalla of techno, a legend of a record store, a museum and temple. Since it is located on the third floor of a backyard hovel right on Kreuzberg’s side of the Landwehrkanal you will not stumble upon it by accident. But after you’ve found your way up the narrow stairs past bearded hipsters and shady techno punks you enter the cult of the black PVC gods. Berlin is the world capital of techno music – and this is her record store. It is not a coincidence that this shop became an urban legend, Hard Wax might have well been the most influential record store of this very techno scene: Most protagonists of Berlin-based electronic music purchase their vinyl here.
Enough legends, how much of the myth remains in reality? Well, you will not get much beginner-friendly advice here, that is for certain. And if you don’t really care for electronic music, you will find all this boring as hell. But to be browsing through a pile of Detroit Techno records with Ricardo Villalobos sure is a unique experience. The bottom line is: If you’ve always wanted to spend a weekend in Berghain and you also still know what a phono plug is, this place will give you the goosebumps.
| Paul-Linke-Ufer 44a in Berlin Kreuzberg. Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 12 – 20. |
You see, deciding on which right record store is best for you is not as easy as it seems. But our Top5 can help you find your way around the record store jungle of Berlin. But please keep in mind that there is much more: a nice little stroll through the streets of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, or Neukölln will make you stumble upon numerous other small and large record stores. And as an insider’s tip: At flea markets you can find real treasures and bargain. The best flea markets: here.
Make a good catch,
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.