Austin

8 Great Record Stores in Austin for New and Vintage Vinyl

Austin's best record stores will spin your head right round.

Photo courtesy of Breakaway Records
Photo courtesy of Breakaway Records
Photo courtesy of Breakaway Records

Austin may be known for its live music, but sometimes you just need to curl up in your own home for a “concert” experience with the sound of crackling vinyl. And, with Record Store Day (April 22nd) just around the corner, there’s no better way to celebrate the hipster holiday than visiting one of the city’s storied record emporiums. Whether binge watching Daisy Jones & The Six has you wanting to cop a pre-loved copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, or your Phoebe Bridgers obsession means you need to get your paw on the new boygenius, our list of Austin’s best record stores provides the goods.

Breakaway Records

Skyview
You’ve probably seen your coolest friend already carrying around one of Breakaway’s James Brown-emblazoned totes. And, believe us, the hip factor at this record store extends beyond merch offerings. They have seriously solid offerings of new and used 45s, LPs, and tapes, especially in the genres of soul, R&B, rock, and jazz. A true standout at this spot however has to be the wide variety of turntables, receivers, speakers, and other accessories. For those newbies just buying into vinyl listening systems, Breakaway’s knowledgeable staff lead your needle of needs down the right track.

End of an Ear

South Manchaca
Ask most local musicians what their favorite record store in the city is, and they will mention this South Austin treasure. The sheer amount of new and used records, CDs, DVDs, and VHS this shop contains makes it perfect for the type of afternoon when you have the time and ambition to browse. In addition to its assortment of formats, there’s another component which makes it so popular amongst creatives: the price is always right. The lovely staff might spy what you’re buying and give you recommendations of a similar sort. While they boast a mixed bag of music, this locale will be a stand-out favorite for any metal-heads, as they offer one of the widest collections of the genre to be found in the entire state.

Big Henry’s Vinyl & Gifts

Waller Creek District
Big Henry’s is another record shop with a connection to Antone’s, and we mean that literally and physically. This spot is attached to the legendary venue and serves as the box office and location for Antone’s merch. It’s much more than just a glorified gift shop though, Big Henry’s houses an awe-inspiring collection of records steeped in the sound traditions that define the performances on the adjacent stage. Their selection may appear small, but what can be found within the racks will pack a big punch for fans of blues, soul, and jazz. The tunes may be delicious, but you can also score one for your taste buds with the shop’s po’boys while you peruse.

Photo by Spencer Selvidge, courtesy of Waterloo Records
Photo by Spencer Selvidge, courtesy of Waterloo Records
Photo by Spencer Selvidge, courtesy of Waterloo Records

Waterloo Records & Video

Market District
When it comes to vinyl in Bat City, there is no name more synonymous with the concept than Waterloo. This independent record store, which has been around since 1982, is world-recognized among stereo-heads as a top-notch spot for chart-topping tunes. In addition to both new and used vinyl, Waterloo has a charming collection of CDs, DVDs, turntables, speakers, and various pop culture tchotchkes. Keep an eye out on Waterloo’s social media for a schedule of in-house performances and artist signings they host on a regular basis.

Drinks Records

East Cesar Chavez
East Austin’s Drinks Lounge is already one of every Austinite’s favorite spots to down a whiskey shot and challenge a stranger to a game of pool. Add in their bar-adjacent, music shop, Drinks Records, and it’s surprising that residents of the Live Music Capital of the World grab a cocktail anywhere else in the city. The selection here leans more towards spanking-new vinyl, but their number of used records continues to grow due to their generous buying policy for those customers looking to offload old albums. Plus, a trip to Drinks Records makes the perfect pre-game for one of Drinks Lounge’s notoriously fun music themed parties, like the Bowie Bash or the Bidi Bidi Birthday.

Photo courtesy of BLK Vinyl
Photo courtesy of BLK Vinyl
Photo courtesy of BLK Vinyl

BLK Vinyl

Holly
If you’re looking for a copy of Rubber Soul or an out-of-print soul record, East Austin’s BLK Vinyl has got all your auditory desires covered. This shop specializes in used vinyl, with a particular focus on the pop, psych, garage, and prog classics from the ’60s and ’70s. The genre spectrum here runs broader than just that, though, as bin diggers can easily earth up a ’50s jazz staple or lounge record from the deep stacks. Be sure to check out the back room for great deals, including vinyl you can score for 99-cents a pop.

Exploded Records

Hyde Park
Music may feed the soul, but, at Exploded Records, you can get a little something extra for your stomach to go along with that vinyl purchase. Exploded is located inside every health nut’s favorite local chain, Juiceland. This means you can enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of the peanut butter and blueberry bonanza drink alongside shopping for some sweet beats. The mix of electronic, hip hop, psych, jazz, and funk records are carefully and thoughtfully curated. Whole sections devoted to picks from Austin music experts, such as Soundfounder, the host of a popular electronic music show on local radio station KUTX.

Antone’s Record Shop

West Campus
Associated with iconic Austin blues music venue, Antone’s, this spot is a true gem for diehard audiophiles. While its namesake may have moved downtown, this record shop still resides in the same campus-adjacent location since 1987. However, you don’t need to be a University of Texas student to be a pupil of the Texas groove-this place is especially notable for its focus on homegrown sounds, with an entire section dedicated to Lone Star state artists.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Molly Moltzen is a contributor for Thrillist.

Austin

Get Lucky at These Irish Bars in Austin

Drink a green pint on St Patrick's Day at these Irish bars in Austin.

Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

In the midst of all the SXSW chaos, it helps to remember that there’s a rainbow at the festival’s end-that is, the hangover-blessing we’ve been granted of having St. Patrick’s Day 2023 fall on a Friday. Whether you attribute this small win to the Gregorian calendar or the luck of the Irish, it’s sure to amp up the already liver-damaging activities associated with this cultural celebration. However, √Čire is more than just leprechauns and Colin Farrell-it’s a breathtaking land full of warm, welcoming, and good-hearted people. Fortunately, there’s a way you can get a taste of the Republic’s spirit, and a dark stout, at the same time by hitting up one of Austin’s various Irish pubs. From cozy, intimate spaces decked out like small taverns in Cobh, to modern dives with all the party energy of Temple Bar, our list has the best spots in the city to “erin go bragh” all out on March 17.

Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys

B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub at Mueller

Mueller
With a giant model of a beer tap literally decorating their front door, you can’t miss B.D Riley’s, nor doubt that this East Austin hang is a spot to down some serious brewskis. And its name, and perfect pours of Guinness, aren’t the only aspects they draw from the Emerald Isle-the entire pub itself was actually designed and built in Dundalk, Ireland, and shipped over for assembly in Bat City. Such authentic decor calls for equally authentic sounds, therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day, B.D. Riley’s will feature an all-day, four-artist bill of live, trad-inspired music. So, while you may not start the day knowing all the words to “The Galway Girl,” you are bound to sing along by last call.

Kelly’s Irish Pub

Bouldin Creek
Having only opened this past December, Kelly’s is the new kid with a brogue on the block. Occupying the space which formerly housed tapas restaurant Winebelly, this pub had big shoes to fill for South Austin barflies, but quickly won them over with an impressive whiskey selection and friendly atmosphere. A big reason behind the real deal √Čire vibes can, most likely, be chalked up to the fact that one of Kelly’s owners was actually born and bred in Ireland-and the dedication to delivering a true-to-life experience is evident in everything from the shepherd’s pie to the witty bartenders. For St. Patrick’s Day, they are getting the party started early with live music and an opening time of 8 am.

Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger's
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s

Jack & Ginger’s

The Domain
While The Domain may boast more bars than you can shake a shamrock at, there’s only one spot in the North Austin entertainment behemoth that can be properly called an Irish pub: Jack & Ginger’s. Start off the night with selecting a tasting flight from their over 82 beers on tap, then, move onto shots poured straight from their Irish Whiskey Tours-after loosening up with a round or two, you might just find yourself with the gift of gab. And, before snapping a selfie over Jack & Ginger’s see-through glass floor, balance out that buzz with food offerings like a giant soft pretzel or a round of fried pickles.

Photo courtesy of Foxy's Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub

Foxy’s Proper Pub

Downtown
Here’s a spot that visibly radiates with Irish pride-at Foxy’s, the glow of green beams out from the bar’s lighted panels, and across their chandelier made of Jameson bottles. When it comes to cups and chow, their commitment to the theme continues-the use of the word,”proper,” in the pub’s name alone indicates you’re in for a heavy pour of the standards. Consequently, the taps are abundant with essential Irish sips, including Guinness, Magners, and Smithwick’s. With Lone Star on draft, there’s also a nod to Texas tradition as well. But don’t fear if you’re bored of beer-Foxy’s variety of whiskey-based cocktails will let you switch it up (and still keep it Celtic). March 17 will find them celebrating with live music, whiskey tastings, and swag giveaways.

Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen + Microbrewery

Round Rock
Compared to a flight to Dublin, the 30-minute drive to Round Rock’s Cork & Barrel is much more convenient-not to mention, won’t require waiting in a TSA line. A mix between a modern Austin beer garden and a historical Irish pub, this spot’s spacious interior and expansive outdoor patio guarantees there will be enough room for the whole crew to cheer “sl√°inte.” And, their microbrewery’s signature beers are the ideal drinks to do such a toast with. The menu of specially crafted drafts includes a blueberry wheat, an Irish red ale, and a vanilla stout. This St. Patrick’s Day also marks Cork & Barrel’s two-year anniversary, and they are throwing down for the double-celebration with live music, yard games, Irish food specials, and plentiful amounts of green beer and Irish Car Bombs.

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Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.

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