Header image courtesy of Esther Driehaus (via Unsplash)
We are huge fans of vinyl. There’s something about slipping a record out of its sleeve, feeling its grooves, and knowing you’re holding a little piece of history that is just so nostalgically romantic. Analogue format music has really had a renaissance in the past decade, with many eschewing the streaming-led digital format and reverting back to an older age of tangible experiences. For lovers of analogue, nothing sounds quite as clear and warm as it does on vinyl, digital revolution be damned!
Some may scoff and write the whole thing off as yet another pretentious hipsterism, valid only for a moustachioed crowd who subsists solely on almond milk flat whites and kale crisps, but hey, consider all those thousands of records due to be carted off to the landfill. It’s mainly small establishments keeping this market afloat, and you know what they say about supporting your friendly local businesses and taking care of the environment! Here are our favourite spots to flip through crates of pre-loved tracks in hunting for vinyl records.
Hidden out of view by the dai pai dongs on Stanley Street, Classic Shop is only noticeable via one nondescript sign. Once you’ve located it though, you’ll find the floor to ceiling packed with thousands of records, many of which are hard to find or lesser-known gems; do check out their reasonably priced second-hand classical music records ranging from opera to symphony concertos. They also stock CDs if you’re nostalgic for the 1990s, as well as audio equipment, and the staff are knowledgeable and friendly.
Classic Shop, 2/F, Room 201, Won Hing Building, 74–78 Stanley Street, Central | (+852) 2541 7733
More of a market displaying a jumble of old items than purely a record shop, Collectables also stocks pre-loved books and an assortment of curiosities. The common thread stringing everything together is that they are all artistically or culturally geared. A self-proclaimed “marketplace for exchanging and recycling cultural collections,” you’ll definitely be able to find something interesting as long as you’re willing to spend time sifting through everything.
Collectables, 1/F, City Hall Low Block, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central | (+852) 2559 9562
Located right near the Mid-Levels escalators, this little shop is tucked away up several flights of stairs. They stock a decent collection of second-hand vinyl across all genres and also have some seven-inch vinyl singles. You can usually listen to the records before making the purchase, and there’s also a chair in the middle of everything that you can curl up in to soak in the music.
Walls of Sound, 3/F, 38 Cochrane Street, Central | (+852) 2805 1584
Rock Gallery doesn’t just focus on vinyls, but is still worth visiting as an independent music shop selling lots of rock & roll, blues, jazz, and movie soundtracks. Their records are mostly imported from the US, the UK, Japan, and Korea, with some pressings from Taiwan. They also stock freshly pressed vinyl records, so if you prefer something more modern that hasn't already been used, this is your go-to shop.
Rock Gallery, Shop 202, 2/F, Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2572 9630
This is a members-based record dealer catering to audiophiles who want only the best. If you’re a serious music buff looking for a rare pressing or a recording that you simply can’t find elsewhere, Sonata Club is a good place to contact. They stock mainly classical and jazz titles.
Sonata Club, 13/F, Lee Roy Commercial Building, 57–59 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2798 6538
We think this shop is actually eponymously named as the owner Paul “rescues” each vinyl he comes across, and so has more than 400,000 second-hand vinyl records stashed throughout the cramped space. Remember that scene in the first Harry Potter film when Harry goes wand shopping at the shambolic Ollivander’s? Looking through Vinyl Hero is a similar experience; there is no rhyme or reason to how things are organised, but Paul seems to know exactly where everything is and can navigate the towering stacks to dig out something perfect for you. Browsing is a bit of a difficult business, but should you be in the market for second-hand pressings from the 1960s and 1970s, definitely pay Paul a visit.
Vinyl Hero, Flat D, 5/F, Wai Hong Building, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 9841 7136
Alternative and indie fans will no doubt already know of White Noise, which stocks everything from funk and soul to garage and punk. No matter how obscure or far-out your favourite sounds are, chances are they will be found here. We particularly like their Japanese psychedelic stock. White Noise also supports up-and-coming local acts and hosts live gigs fairly often. Plus, they have a cute shop cat who hangs around and lies all over the very records you want to look at.
White Noise Records, G/F, 199 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2591 0499
Another point of interest for indie tunes, Zoo Records has partnered with White Records for various projects and has a similar vibe. You’ll be able to find classic alternative bands like New Order with some obscure acts from across Europe and Asia, but also modern classics such as Radiohead and Joy Division. Hit them up for indie rock acts like Jarvis Cocker.
Zoo Records, Shop 325, 3/F, President Commercial Centre, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok | (+852) 2309 2911
Located right next door to arthouse screen Broadway Cinematheque, Kubrick is famous for being a chill space selling coffee, books, and records. They seem to mostly specialise in Asian music with some indie offerings, and also sell posters, t-shirts, and other such merch in case the album itself isn’t enough to satisfy you. Grab a latte and have a poke around—hours easily gone.
Kubrick, 3 Public Square Street, Prosperous Garden, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 2384 8929
You’d have to venture behind the stalls on Ladies Street market to find The Beat Records. They stock a large collection of Asian releases on both CD and vinyl; on our last visit, we were sorely tempted by a soundtrack picture disc featuring Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (despite not even owning a record player yet). They also carry a large stock of reissues on 180-gram vinyl—just like HMV used to do—but dig deeper and you should be able to find cheaper, more avant-garde offerings.
The Beat Records, G/F, 53 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok | (+852) 2780 0956
No trip to Lamma Island is complete without a visit to Lamma Vinyl. This friendly neighbourhood shop specialises in vintage offerings from the 1960s onwards—if you ever want a pressing of Saturday Night Fever, this is your first port of call.
Lamma Vinyl, 1/F, 45 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island | (+852) 2335 0601
This is not really a vinyl store, but a forum on Facebook selling records, cassettes, and other audio-related paraphernalia. They also host regular record pop-ups, where both sellers and collectors come together to exchange and acquire vinyls. Vintage Vinyl is a great event for analogue aficionados to explore the local scene and get to know more people with the same niche interest. Happy spinning!