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Record Store Review: Black Gold Records

December 7, 2012

This is the first of what I hope will be many reviews of the record shops in the NYC-area.  It is for a little shop in Brooklyn that instantly became one of my favorite local spots from my first step into the store – Black Gold Records.

Black Gold is a small coffee shop in Carroll Gardens that features a nice selection of used vinyl … or maybe it’s a small record shop that offers delicious coffee and baked goods.  It’s difficult to pinpoint what the main attraction of Black Gold is, but the result is wonderfully charming.

The records are sorted into two general areas – with hundreds of records sorted alphabetically (no classifications by genre, though most of what they carry is obscure rock of the hard and metal variety) and a smaller section of “just arrived” records.  This latter section seems to turn over fairly frequently and is worth flipping through on no less than a semi-weekly basis if you live in the area.  The alphabetical section naturally turns over less frequently, and the records there are generally pretty obscure – this is not the place to find that Doors, Strokes, R.E.M. or Arcade Fire album you’ve been looking for.  But search patiently and you might find some vinyl from the Kills, Screaming Females or Superchunk (these were my last 3 purchases there).

Perhaps the best part of Black Gold is how easy it is to do just that – search patiently.  The records are neatly arranged (and always in good shape), the owner and baristas are very friendly and more than a little quirky, the music playing in-store is always fun and funky, the coffee is exceptional (have the “Rook”!) and the baked goods from the Good Batch are delicious (have the Honey Bear).  Overall, the vibe of the place will keep you there and keep you coming back for more.  Anyone who has been to Black Gold walks away talking about the taxidermy – a stuffed owl here, a hyena up there – hopefully that alone will convince you that this place is a must-visit.

Bottom line: Black Gold’s vinyl isn’t cheap and its selection is only OK at best.  Yet I have never once walked out disappointed or empty-handed.  If you’re not on a mission to find something specific or to “crate-dig”, and are instead looking for a leisurely browse and a great brew at a cool place, this is the place to go.

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Quick stats:

  • Sells used, new, or both: Used only
  • Genres: Rock, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Non-vinyl for sale: coffee/tea, baked goods, taxidermy, antiques
  • Selection: 5 out of 10
  • Price: 4 out of 10
  • Atmosphere: 10 out of 10
  • Ease of browsing/shopping: 9 out of 10
  • Used vinyl condition: 9 out of 10
  • Yelp rating: 4.5 starsphoto 1

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