Everything old is new again — Long Island craft breweries are inviting patrons to bring in their records to spin while they sip beer and socialize.
MONDAYS AT LONG IRELAND
Patrick Brodarick, 29, of Riverhead hauls in a tote bag full of records every week for vinyl night at Long Ireland Beer Company in Riverhead. His selection ranges from blues-rockers Blodwyn Pig’s “Ahead Rings Out” from 1969 to prog rock band Thank You Scientist’s “Maps of Non-Existent Places” from 2012.
“Generally, I play it by ear depending on what I want to listen to or what I think other people at the bar would like to hear,” Brodarick says. Even though he grew up in the age of digital downloads, vinyl is his preferred medium for music.
“I enjoy the ritual of a record — taking it out of the sleeve, looking at the album art, putting it on the turntable. There’s something that adds to the experience of listening to music,” he says. “You get more of a rich sound from vinyl, especially from the older records because it’s how they were originally pressed. Plus, hearing the crackle when the needle hits the vinyl adds a little bit of magic to it.”
Each person gets a turn at the turntable to play DJ.
“Sometimes people throw on a side of an album while others put on a track or two then switch it up,” says Greg Martin, the brewery’s co-owner. “We’ve played everything from heavy metal to stand-up comedy to blues and everything in between.”
At Long Ireland, vinyl is not only played, but sold. The company has partnered with nearby retailer Sunday Records, which supplies crates of albums for people to browse and potentially buy.
“If a record is already opened, people can put it on the turntable and see if they like it,” says Brian Volkman, the record shop’s owner. “For the price of a beer you can get a classic album.”
TUESDAYS AT BRICKHOUSE BREWERY
It’s not uncommon to see the bartenders dancing behind the bar on vinyl night at BrickHouse Brewery in Patchogue as they spin selections brought in by the customers.
“We have a sign-up sheet as people come in,” brewmaster Paul Komsic says. “They leave their records with the bartender indicating what they want played.”
Everyone who brings in a selection to play gets a ticket for a new vinyl raffle that gets pulled at the end of the night.
“We make sure everyone’s vinyl gets played,” bartender Alisha Donnelly says. “Everybody is pretty chill with what we put on. We wait till after dinner to play the heavier stuff.”
Sometimes the brewery does theme nights, showing a movie on the flat-screens around the bar then raffling off the soundtrack and playing music from the film.
“Once we did ‘Dark Side of Oz,’ where we sync up ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ ” Komsic says.
Evan Kato, 29, of Patchogue is a weekly regular, listening to his spin of Hop Along’s current release, “Bark Your Head Off, Dog.”
“This is weird indie folk rock with feelings that’s a little punky,” he says of the album. “I tend to bring the off-the-beaten-path stuff that’s not played on the radio. People are pretty open to hearing it, which is fun.”
Meanwhile, Tom Keegan, 66, of Patchogue is singing, “Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa …” in anticipation of his selection, “101 Strings Play the Hits Made Famous by Nat King Cole.”
“These are my father’s records. My wife keeps threatening to throw them away, so I bring them down here to play,” he admits. “I want to make sure the young people here have a concept that there’s other music out there.”