“This album changed my life, man,” John Lyons, 24, who runs Prohibition Taproom’s Bring Your Own Vinyl Sunday nights, tells Vince, a customer crammed in the corner next to the turntable. He’s referring to Electric Warrior by T-Rex.
B.Y.O.V. Sundays are the general manager’s night to shine. He has customers bring in their favorite records (for 20 percent off their tab) and relishes the “crackle” of a needle making contact with vinyl. When 10 people bring in a record, it’s a good night. He plays each one all the way through.
Lyons, a giant craft beer and music geek, bounds the length of the bar in one giant stride, energetically pouring craft beers like Hoppy Little Hudson, the Prohibition standard named after owner Michael Pasquarillo’s daughter, Hudson Rose. It’s a special beer Yards made for them, an IPA that’s not bitter, it’s cask-conditioned, English pub-style, he says.
Lyons worked at the Troc from ages 19 through 23, before he had a daughter himself and started looking for a more stable job. He found one at Prohibition.
Most of the records in Lyon’s stack this night belong to Lindsay, an olive-skinned waitress who recently moved back here from L.A.. She pauses at the counter near the turntable. “I always end up in Philly,” she muses, fingering a copy of A Hard Day’s Night . She owns three copies, but has never been able to bring herself to sell any of them for cash.
All the beer-drinkers tonight are guys, except for one girl sitting at table with a heavy-set man. They brought in Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards, which John enthusiastically opens to reveal an artsy spread of four portraits in black and white. “This looks like the Beatles with Nikki Six from Mötley Crüe!” he yelps.
Finally, Simon and Garfunkle lull the stragglers into quiet reminiscence, per Jesse Cane’s request, an “old hard-core kid from the ’80s” who stopped in to buy a six-pack. He forgets about their old songs until Wes Anderson puts them on a soundtrack. Wes is everyone’s favorite moviemaker, Cane claims. “Who can argue with Bill Murray? It’s like arguing with God.”
Like the people who love and defend it, vinyl wears its seeming outmoded-ness with aggressive pride—a kind of integrity, even.
“They take up space. They exist,” Lyons says. “The imperfections are cool, too. They crackle. They hiss.”
PW's 2015 Gift Guide
Calendar: Nov. 25-Dec. 2
Artie Lange knows the score
Calendar: November 18-25