Manchester means music, from Northern Soul to new wave, so if you’re making a musical pilgrimage, pick up albums from the city’s most popular record stores and ship them back home to spin for your friends.
These seven shops, most located in the Northern Quarter, offer perks like Manchester music box sets, dance parties and even a vegan café.
Finding Manchester North of England
You can nab both fresh and vintage music in sprawling indie record store Piccadilly Records. Ask the staff to help you find the “Manchester North of England” CD box set encompassing the music city’s contribution to rock.
Manchester brought the world new wave music with Joy Division, the Fall and New Order; punk with the Buzzcocks; punk poetry with Dr. John Cooper Clarke; emo music with Morrissey; Madchester music with the Stone Roses; and Britpop with Oasis.
The box CD set includes all of the above, with a whopping 146 tracks and extensive liner notes tracking the evolution of Manchester’s music scene.
Get on the Northern Soul Train
Northern Soul originated with obscure R&B tracks played at Manchester dance parties in the ’70s, so it’s natural that local stores stay well stocked, from Archie Bell & The Drells to New Orleans soul powerhouse Irma Thomas.
Northern Soul shrine Beatin Rhythm specializes in rare soul and funk albums and singles, with early Motown and Chess albums filling the shop’s shelves. They’re also well stocked with books on Northern Soul and Motown tees.
Fuel Up at a Northern Quarter Café
Put on your dancing shoes and ask the friendly crew at the crowd-pleasing Eastern Bloc Records to guide you from electronica to dubstep records. After stocking up on vinyl, you can take a break for coffee or craft beer in the sunny outdoor café in Stevenson Square (complete with vegan and vegetarian options).
Watch their schedule for evening DJ dance parties to try out your dance moves.
Unwind at Vinyl Resting Place
Northern Quarter favorite Vinyl Resting Place has, hands down, the best shop name in Manchester. Their friendly and knowledgeable clerks will help you dig through thousands of well-categorized albums, including the ones posted all over the walls.
The shop is located on the third floor of Afflecks Indoor Market, and you can’t miss its name in lights.
Join In-Stores Galore
Vinyl Revival in the Northern Quarter sells rare wax dating back to the ’50s, freshly cleaned and in collectible condition. Check their online schedule for in-store music sets from indie bands.
You can also pick up a T-shirt sporting a vintage image of The Smiths or — for the most Manchester of souvenirs — Liam Gallagher flipping the bird.
The shop is so popular that if you visit on Record Store Day (April 21) for live music and giveaways, you’ll be lucky to get through the door unless you get there early.
“Clampdown” on Bargains
Clampdown Records in the Northern Quarter has an extensive punk, soul and jazz vinyl collection curated by music experts, and both new and used records are priced to sell. You can also pick up vintage rock T-shirts, DVDs and rare memorabilia in this indie shop. Browse online in advance to help narrow down your wish list.
Locals’ favorite Kingbee Records‘ collection of Northern Soul albums number into the thousands, and they purchase enough vintage vinyl from all music genres to keep music lovers coming back for more.
You can’t miss their bright-yellow storefront in the Chorlton area of Southwest Manchester. Dig through bargain bins for deep cuts you never knew you needed, and give them a test spin on the shop’s handy turntable.