Best places for records digging in Bucharest

Bucharest is a city where different cultures are interwoven while maintaining a strong contact with the Romanian traditions. This framework also fits when we look more closely at the underground electronic scene in Bucharest, a subculture that emerged about two decades ago. In the meantime, dozens of vinyl-only record labels were born out of the desire to perpetuate this sound internationally, and as a natural outcome, a handful of record-shops saw the light on some pittoresque Bucharest streets. Clubs prove a tying link for musical movements, but there need to be daylight-hours options for discourse and discovery. Whether you’re a seasoned record collector or a newcomer, this is a comprehensive guide on the most influential, friendly and absolute must visit record digging places in Bucharest. Some of the stores listed below are solely specialized in electronic music, but a few extra tips were included for all the crate diggers out there who want to go beyond the usual suspects. Expect crates of both second-hand rarities and the scene’s freshest releases.

Misbits is the only one of its kind in the city of Bucharest – a record store, label and a hub for experimental music in Eastern Europe, opened in March, 2013. Misbits’ bread and butter is electronic music of the 4/4 variety, fuelling a humble yet growing Bucharest underground. Whether you’re into anything from minimal or jazz, to ambient and electro, Misbits has got you covered. Although the new collection is refined and heavily curated, second-hand records are worthy of just as much - if not more - attention. Dig deeper and you’ll find eclectic second-hand electro cuts from the late-’80s alongside soundscaping ambient – making Misbits a must visit. It also sells the essentials, such as needles, sleeves and other bits and bobs. It’s probably the most likely place you’ll bump into any artists who are passing through the city for a gig, searching for some last-minute treasures before their set.

Mad Piano is the result of the connection between two music collectors friends, to unite their knowledge, tastes and especially vinyls in one place, to which any music fan can access. Started in 2014, the concept moved it’s store twice, now being located at Manasia Hub - a cultural spot brimming with inspiration and creative people. Their catalogue features mostly electronic music of all genres and styles, old and new, both Romanian and abroad. And as in any other collection to be respected, the deeper you dig into the boxes, the greater your chances of getting your hands on treasures still undiscovered by other explorers. Owners always manage to get in a wide selection of dance floor-ready releases, and you’re sure to come away with a new favourite on each visit.

Opened in 1997, Music Box is one of the oldest and one of the most proficient music stores in Romania. The shop’s product portfolio offers a variety of new records: new releases and high end records - such as limited editions, special productions, test pressings, rare releases; but also second hand records with verified ownership and in great condition, Music Box sharing one of the best second hand catalogs in Romania. Their discographic library showcases records for collectors of all things rock, pop, jazz, and blues, classic, electronic and hip-hop – you never know what gems you might stumble upon while visiting them.

In a relatively large, triangular, rather simply decorated space, you will find hundreds of vinyls, cds, t-shirts, accessories and everything music related. Niche Records is a brand present on the media products market since 2003 where you can find all kinds of international music, both on the classical and specialized media for high-end systems. Excelling at the vinyl sector - to a large extent, their collection features fresh releases from Ambient, House, Techno, Trip-Hop, Downtempo or Drum N Bass just to mention a few. Their online presence is also a great digging spot, although we recommend a physical experience between the shelves.

A second-hand records shop, Gramofon is specialized in sharing records from early 60's to 2016. With a nicely curated selection, their shop is hiding gems from all genres of music, in order to create a happy discovery experience while digging. Their stated goal is to bring back the feeling which Europe had in the 80's regarding music and music communities and people’s enthusiasm for vinyls.

Although not a conventional vinyl-shop, Palatul Vechiturilor [“The Palace of flea market” in English] is a place that resembles the typical Sunday fair - but on a daily basis. Here you can discover every day all kinds of things, with an emphasis on old treasures and antiques - vinyls included - usually with a low budget. The best part is that the stocks are in a continuous change, and chances are you'll discover some really rare finds here - if you’re patient enough.

Curated by Bianca Iulia