It's Friday night, and the tables and couches at the Sip This coffeehouse in Valley Stream are filled. The patrons -- some 20-something hipsters, some teenagers, some middle-aged -- are drinking java, playing board games, fiddling with smartphones or engaging in conversation. Everyone's taking notice of the music: old-fashioned records (as in, vinyl) spun by a DJ. That's probably because it's the guests who get to pick the soundtrack tonight.
They brought the records, too.
CHOOSE YOUR TUNES
The event, known as Bring Your Own Vinyl Night (BYOV), takes place the first Friday of each month, inviting record aficionados, music fans and anyone else who's interested to gather and groove to the offbeat playlist.
"You never know what you're going to hear," says Elizabeth Gilmore, 23, a boutique manager from Rockville Centre, "I think there is something special about listening to a record . . . it's almost like hearing a story."
Patrons who show up with their 33s and 45s hand them to DJ "Cash" Lawrence, who works a cut or two into a session he has already planned.
"Last time, I had Cash play Fats Domino," Gilmore says. Not what you'd expect from someone in her 20s.
Raaid Bacchus of Valley Stream is another regular. He's supplied such tracks as a rare green-hued vinyl record of The Beatles' "Abbey Road" and a 7-inch single from The Smiths. The most contemporary: an LP from the indie band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
"I really do love vinyl," says Bacchus, 23, who works in marketing and promotions.
Although Sip This has only been open since last summer, vinyl, it turns out, has a much longer history at the venue's address. The space housed a music shop, Slipped Disc Records, from 1982-2008 that specialized in bringing off-the-radar albums to Long Islanders.
"It was already locally famous as a 'cool place,' so when we opened here we wanted to connect to that," says David Sabatino, who co-owns the coffeehouse with Stephanie Pontillo. Nostaliga for the record shop not only inspired the venue's name (Slipped Disc=Sip This), but spurned the idea for the monthly vinyl appreciation night. Sip This also sells Slipped Disc T-shirts alongside other items and jewelry.
The coffeehouse stays open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday nights. Patrons can choose from six blends of coffee (from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters upstate), and enjoy desserts such as fruited breads, muffins, brownies, crumb cakes and other pastries.
Besides the monthly BYOV night, Sip This hosts poetry readings, live music and other performers such as magicians or comedians. A movie trivia night involving teams of three competing to answer questions dating as far back as '60s flicks is scheduled for 8 p.m. March 7.
Bring Your Own Vinyl Night
INFO 516-341-0491, sipthisny.com