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Where to find wonderful vinyl in Budapest

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  • Gábor Wágner

03/09/2021 11.15am

While vinyl is now enjoying a renaissance (hoorah!) elsewhere, here in Budapest, it has never really gone away. If you think that only two or three shops in town held out during the long years of CDs and streaming, think again. Alternative outlets and smaller stores have long maintained a presence in the city, and there are probably a good 20 to choose from. These are our ten favourites.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Aktrecords

1/10

1066 Budapest, Ó utca 35

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On Ó utca in District VI, this store is one of the newer ones, and it shows, airy, open and transparent. Here, they sell underground electronica on vinyl, adding to the mix clothes of a style that matches the musical offerings. In this way, you can not only pick up a few party hits but also splash out on what to wear once you get there. An added bonus is that sometimes DJ sessions liven up the purchase process.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Deep

2/10

1062 Budapest, Aradi utca 22

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For those into electronica, this store on Aradi utca in District VI is a place of pilgrimage. Opened back in the late ’90s, it has flown the flag ever since. Without alienating hard-core followers, what’s on offer is still primarily for those in the shallow end of the pool. Downtempo, triphop, modern and old-fashioned soul and funk, deep house, disco, drum & bass, jazzy dance music and any dance fashion is stocked here. Deep has a solution for every beat and BPM number.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Kalóz

3/10

1088 Budapest, Bródy Sándor utca 25

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In the Palace Quarter behind the National Museum, more specifically on Bródy Sándor utca, you find this friendly little shop where vinyl takes pride of place, but there are also a few CDs and cassettes. A big favourite with record collectors, the store is like a cosy library, where you can rummage through the densely stacked piles of records, often finding a rare trove. Collectors of 45s will have a field day.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Laci bácsi lemezboltja

4/10

1073 Budapest, Kertész utca 42

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The motorbike parked in the middle of this secondhand record shop on Kertész utca in District VII sets the tone. The whole collection here has been thrown together and laid out in wide browsing bins by alphabetical order as opposed to category. There’s everything but the kitchen sink, which is exactly what’s good about it. Anything might at any time, even a record you didn’t think you were missing.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Média-Pont

5/10

1136 Budapest, Hollán Ernő utca 18

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This small vinyl cabin sits on Hollán Ernő utca in trendy Újlipótváros, where similar curious little shops await discovery. Such is Média-Pont. The many records here attract music aficionados like a magnet, looking to unearth the rarity that lifts their day and crowns their vinyl collection. It’s almost as if the owner has made a shop out of his own sitting room.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

MG Records

6/10

1091 Budapest, Üllői út 31

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This business has been around 2010, opening its outlet three years later, on Üllői út near the Museum of Applied Arts. In its eye-catching cellar, you can choose from vinyl, CDs and DVDs, with music in all kinds of styles. They actually claim to have the largest selection in Hungary, no idle boast, although not easy to prove or otherwise.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Newport

7/10

1061 Budapest, Teréz körút 8

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At Oktogon, in an inner courtyard of a residential building on Teréz körút, not only do they buy and sell records, but they also offer professional cleaning. The stock includes mainly jazz, folk and rock, world music and classical. This record collectors’ oasis is not only a place to shop but also to talk shop, as the person behind the counter will be just as fanatical as you about the vinyl you’re after.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Solaris

8/10

1137 Budapest, Szent István körút 16

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This shop on Szent István körút is a real dinosaur, with no slight intended. Solaris is one of the most important landmarks among the vinyl palaces of the capital, surviving when many have not. Tucked away next to the Vígszínház, in the inner courtyard of an imposing building, Solaris specialises primarily in rock music, but it can be a good find for anyone looking for other varieties of music.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Vintage

9/10

1073 Budapest, Erzsébet körút 30

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In District VII, in the stairwell of an residential building on Erzsébet körút, is a small vinyl shop similar to Média Pont (see above), a cellar mainly full of vinyl. You also also find CDs and here you can not only buy but also sell. As its name suggests, the shop mainly stocks older music on its shelves but it shouldn’t be thought of as a retro store per se. Rather, the variable relationship between elapsed time and quality underscores the whole concept.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Wave

10/10

1065 Budapest, Révay köz 1

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If any one record store is to be singled out from the list as legendary, it’s definitely Wave at the downtown end of District VI. This must-visit institution on Révay köz is as integral to Budapest as the nearby Basilica. A mecca for all kinds of alternative music, it mainly worships at the altar of guitar-based rock. T-shirts, books, fanzines, cassettes, badges and all related paraphernalia are also available.

Other record stores in Budapest

There are a few other great record stores in Budapest worth mentioning. At XIII.Kresz Géza utca 11, Metro-Nóm stocks mainly the music of the ’80s and ’90s. Two outlets are located on the same stretch of Király utca, each within easy reach without stepping on each other’s toes: Lemezkuckó (VII.Király utca 67) offers all kinds of music while Rock Diszkont (VI. Király utca 108) goes in for traditional rock music of the domestic variety. Alternative-focused CD Pince (VII.Erzsébet körút 37) has been there forever, as has Musicland (VII.Almássy tér 8).

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