Record stores everywhere are not your regular type of shop. They are almost sacred spaces that visitors genuinely adore; they almost feel like home. Parallel microcosms, scattered in the narrow streets of the city where time seems to have stopped in another era, and simply passes by at its own pace.
At the same time, every microcosm has its own inhabitants; those who one rainy day will leave their umbrella and stop by to drink their morning coffee in a calm musical setting; others who want to discuss and socialize with friends and strangers; and even those who are ready to pick a fight about whether the Beatles are better than the Rolling Stones, whether Elvis still lives, or even about more serious issues, as conversations may begin with music, but soon end up talking about vaccinations, politics, football and matters of the heart. Films and books such as High Fidelity convey an idea about what happens on a “vinyl walk” but this mostly pales in comparison to reality. In fact, this may be one of those times when art imitates life, without ever truly being able to live up to it.
Well into autumn now, we took this opportunity to recommend some of the more special record stores – microcosms in Athens, or at least the ones that made the best impression on us this time. Next time there may be others, since, while there may not be so many record stores in operation anymore compared to the golden age of vinyl (1970’s and 1980’s), there are still many more than you think. Nothing compares to a walk around the city’s record stores. We have certainly missed these kind of wanderings.
Le Disque Noir
As one can easily guess just from the name, Le Disque Noir is ideal for fans of the dark music scene. With records ranging from metal, post-punk, industrial, dark wave and some pop-rock, Greek music and jazz selections, Le Disque Noir has attracted many people over the last few years with a marked increase recently. In particular, this place is popular with younger age groups, even children aged 15-16.
This particular record store mainly offers new releases, but also many re-releases, which is why most vinyls bought here are still sealed. A must-visit to Themistokleous 29, not only for those initiated in the dark scene, but also those who are just getting started, as Takis is bursting with recommendations and good records.
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 10:00-17:00 Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00-21:00
Themistokleous 29, 106 77, Tel. (+30) 211.214.3554, Shop, [email protected]
With records almost exclusively from the Greek music scene in all its variety, Mikros Erotikos was born in 2000 but acquired its completely authentic character when it moved to its present address, on Kallidromiou 30. Spyros had been looking for ways to make the shop look different, yet without being offensive, almost like enriching its nature. He finally found this in toys and games from other eras, or as he call them, “objects that remind you of something”.
Mikros Erotikos, with its variety of objects and records filling the shelves and walls, combines two elements “that are very closely connected, as they share a common emotional source”, creating an emotionally charged atmosphere with a childish playfulness. Being a unique, authentic and well-curated record store, this is the ideal place to set your inner child free, in a romantic world, accompanied by the melodies of Hatzidakis and the folk poetry of Thanasis Papakonstantinou.
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 10:00-15:00 Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00-20:00
Kallidromiou 30, 114 73, Tel. (+30) 210.339.0893, Facebook
Featuring records from Africa, the Middle East and all parts of the world, Entropia Records is a relatively small record shop but its good vibes and love for (mostly electronic) music is literally overflowing. Over the past decade and as a result of consecutive crises, Andreas and Stratos set up their record store mostly online, often delivering the orders themselves, especially during the pandemic, with their “store” essentially being the house they share as flat mates.
The dream for a “real life record shop” came to fruition this past February, in between the lockdowns, when they found the space they were looking for in the Municipal Market of Kypseli. From June onwards their headquarters is here, where they also organize many events, parties and concerts with artists and various producers – stay informed and book your spots in time!
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 12:00-21:00 Saturday: 11:00-20:00
Fokionos Negri 42, Municipal Market of Kypseli, 113 61, Website, [email protected]
Staying true to “classics”: classical music, classic rock, classic editions. From the amazing, collector’s series of Schumann’s works to the Doors and Pink Floyd, this specific record store has much to say about “good sound”, about the difference between analogue and digital editions, and about how a vinyl record is preferable, albeit more expensive, not only because of its superior sound quality but also because of the record as a whole.
The store publishes its own magazine on sound quality and sound equipment, while also including many album reviews and interviews with musicians. Since 2015, it is located on 39 Panepistimiou Street, in the Stoa Pesmazoglou.
Opening Hours: Monday and Saturday: 11:00-15:30 Tuesday to Friday: 11:00-19:00
Panepistimiou 39, Stoa Pesmazoglou, 105 64, Tel. (+30) 210.331.3943, Magazine website, [email protected]
Rock ’n’ Roll Circus
With the motto “togetherness brings peace of mind”, Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus is something more than a record store. Number 21 on Sina Street is the ideal destination for every music lover, especially for fans of soul, funk, and jazz music. In a special, two-story space featuring an interior burgundy staircase and the walls lined with beige, wooden shelves filled with records, at 21 years of age Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus is one of the most historic record stores of Athens.
Stocking a wide variety of Afro-American music, numerous rock records, used and sealed, old and new editions, new wave and punk music at the top of the stairs and countless 45 vinyl records. Should you need any help, Dimos and Angelos will be there to help you find your away around, always recommending new records that you never even knew you would like.
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 10:00-16:30 Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00-20:30
Sina 21, 106 80 Tel. (+30) 210.362.0144, Website, [email protected]
And a few more stores
A Strange Attractor: With small treasures by the Beatles to Malicorne, the “Attractor” is one of the most respectable record stores in Athens. It is located on 33 Valtetsiou Street. Find them here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays 10.00-16.00, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10:00-20:00, and via telephone (+30) 210.380.3618.
Rhythm Records: Indie, ska, punk, Greek music and many more on 74 Em. Benaki street. Contact them via telephone on (+30) 210.384.1550 or via email at [email protected] Opening hours include Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:30-20:30 or Wednesday and Saturday 10.30-15.00.
Mr. Vinylios: Greek and foreign music, records and singles, a great variety and some rare titles – all this at Mr. Vinylios, one of the most famous record stores in Athens. You can call and ask about any record on (+30) 210.331.2813, but also pay a visit. It is located on 24 Ifestou Street in Monastiraki, an area with many different types of record shops and salespeople. Regular opening hours, though this is the only one that is also open on Sundays, from 09:00 to 17:00.
Lo – Fi Concept: A gorgeous place on 38 Odyssea Androutsou street in Koukaki that combines latin, jazz, and reggae records as well as handcrafted jewellery and artworks, while it also runs its own record label/recording project. Beyond the store itself, you should also visit the website at loficoncept.com. Open every day 11:00-21:00, except Monday and Saturday when it closes at 17.00. Tel. (+30) 213.045.7027.
Plan59: A great record store that mostly sells a wide variety of second-hand and used records from the 60s, 70s and 80s, from classic rock and pop to selections from the independent and Greek music scene. Pay it a visit at 59 Zoodohou Pigis between 12:00-15:00 and 17:30-20:00 (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) or just in the morning 12:00-15:30 (Wednesday, Saturday). To be sure, it would be best to telephone at (+30) 210.384.0589 in advance to check that it is open, as the opening hours can be rather… fluid.