Gramaphone Records

2843 N. Clark St., Lake View

A North Side EDM destination for DJs from all over

Beverly Records

11612 S. Western Ave., Beverly

A Far Southwest Side collectors’ paradise

Origin story
The bustling strip of Clark Street where this store sits was known as a “record store alley” when Gramaphone opened in 1969. Starting in the early ’80s, its club-loving owners specialized in house and other electronic dance music. Though that remains a focus, the shop has “come full circle,” says the current owner, DJ Michael Serafini, and now sells “a little bit of everything.” In 1967, John Dreznes bought a fledgling variety store for his wife, Christine, to distract her from worries about the Vietnam War. She gradually upped the record stock, and her son Jack and grandson John later transformed the place into a sought-after spot with around a million (yes, million) vinyls on hand.
The vibe
The black-and-white checkered floor and DJ booth replicate the look of the original location (the store moved two blocks down Clark when Serafini took over in 2005). Give vinyls a spin on one of six record players for your own private testing disco. Take a seat at a counter barstool (a homage to the days when Christine used to run a local tavern) and chat with the owners about what’s in stock or just spill what’s on your mind. Here, everyone is welcomed like family.
Who shops here
DJ Shadow, the Smartbar crowd, musicians looking for samples Passionate recordheads who love the thrill of the hunt
Digging for gems
Get lost in club rarities like extended dance remixes and B-sides. Or comb through the deep synth, industrial, and Italo sections, which speak to your inner emo kid. Jazz, blues, soul, rock — you’ll find it all in crates and on shelves so high they nearly hit the ceiling. Most of the selection is used vinyl, some of it quite scarce (the store had a copy of Prince’s once-rare The Black Album before it became a widespread studio release). Meanwhile, popular new reissues (Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac) satisfy completist collectors.
Remember when
Now-legendary DJ Derrick Carter used to work here, Common was a regular, and a young Kanye West would drop in repeatedly (and no doubt annoyingly) to promote his mixtapes. The makers of the documentary Live at Mister Kelly’s showed up for a quick research mission in 2021 — several albums recorded at the famed Chicago nightclub were in stock — and were so taken by the store that they spent two days shooting here.