We have all seen the quintessential record store movie High Fidelity which is based on the excellent novel by Nick Hornby. It stars three snobby and eccentric vinyl junkies played by John Cusack, Jack Black, and Todd Louiso. Championship Vinyl , the fictitious record store, is based in Chicago. So what about the actual best record stores in Chicago? If you are on the hunt for vinyl in Chicago, here are a few places that we recommend:
Reckless Records has three locations in Wicker Park, Lakeview, and Loop. Speaking of High Fidelity, this store is widely hailed as the inspiration for Championship Vinyl in that film. The emphasis is definitely indie music, and they always have a wide selection of the newest indie releases. Jack White has played secret in-store sets. There is a strong emphasis on local music as well. Heck, you might even see an older gentleman trying to track down Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You.
Dusty Groove, located in Noble Square, definitely wins the award for most comprehensive international collection. Whether you are looking for Brazilian jazz or Swedish metal, they are the most likely to have it in stock. The space is very modern and clean, and the staff can answer your most obscure questions. They also have a fantastic website which lists tons of records, so even if you’re not in Chicago, feel free to get distracted on the world wide webs.
Dave’s Records is located in Lakeview and Dave definitely likes vinyl as much as anyone. In fact, there is a famous sign in his store that reads: No CD’s!! Never had ’em!! Never will!! Dave started working at the store in 1985 when it was called Second Hand Tunes. He purchased the store in 2002 and it became Dave’s Records. Stop in on a rainy afternoon and do some digging in his collection of over 40,000 LPs.
Out of the Past Records
Out of the Past Records is a real gem. This iconic record store has been in business since 1968. It’s definitely old-school, specializing in classic rock ‘n roll and R&B as well as the best gospel selection in Chicago. Vinyl fanatics and history buffs definitely frequent this quaint, aptly named record store in Garfield Park.
Shuga Records moved from the bustling arts district of Northeast Minneapolis (Check out the amazing abstract paintings by Shawn McNulty) to Wicker Park in 2015. They have become a major presence in this area along with Reckless and Dusty Groove. You can browse roughly 20,000 records in their store as well as virtually dig through over 100,000 LPs on their comprehensive website. The store gets extra points for also being a record label, and they also have notable in-store performances.