What Saturday’s are made of; music, coffee and books

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This is what Saturday’s are made of, visits to the Book and Record Bar, West Norwood.  A trip that guarantees to transport you back to younger days; Saturday’s spent in Our Price, flicking through the latest chart hits pretending you knew what you were doing.  Nothing much has changed, well maybe a little..


The Book and Record Bar is a second-hand vinyl record and book shop, a feast for any music specialist, collector, record flicker or book worm.

When I popped in I was greeted by the humble ‘record man’ Michael Johnson, who was keen to tell me all about the history of the bar.  The site was the old Gypsy Queen pub on Norwood High Street, he told me how the owners had plans to turn the space into offices, and he approached them with the idea of the bar and here it is today.  The interior is cool, lot’s of space, brand new fixtures and fittings and is filled with over 8,000 hand picked (by Michael) records.  Every musical genre is covered, from indie, jazz to psychedelic and blues reggae.


What makes a visit special is that Michael makes you feel really welcome and he has a habit of playing your chosen record, just take your pick and saunter up to the counter to have it played.  He also makes a mean coffee, beans are sourced from the local roasting house Volcano in West Norwood.

There are books too, all genres, second hand, so take a seat enjoy a coffee, listen to some music and view the artwork on show – sculptures by Michael’s father in law, Richard Mason.

I’ve already picked up two of my favourite albums, most recent was Steely Dan.  I’m a big fan of The Book and Record Bar, visits are a regular occurrence, as I’m sure they will be for you.

We caught up with Michael on a few of his favourite things:


Music:  French progressive rock band Magma (his parent’s hated the band, thought they were dreadful, so of course, that made him want to see them more.  He’s now seen them six times, he refers to them as the ultimate Marmite band.)

Film: Once Upon a Time in the West

Home: Luton

Food: Thai

Art/Design:  Max Ernst, Surrealist

City:  London/Paris


The Book And Record Bar is located at 20 Norwood High Street, SE27          9NR.

For regular updates, cool photos and news of up coming events and gigs check out their Facebook page.

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