Austin’s Equipment Room Pays Homage To Japanese Vinyl Bars

Austin’s Equipment Room Pays Homage To Japanese Vinyl Bars

Equipment Room is a basement cocktail bar impressed by Japanese jazz kissas.

Robert G Gomez

In the basement beneath Hotel Magdalena, in Downtown Austin, Texas, Equipment Room is an area devoted to the artwork of listening. Inspired by Japanese jazz kissas — areas the place patrons can quietly get pleasure from a drink whereas listening to records performed by means of a professional-grade sound system — the bar is a collaboration between outstanding native entrepreneurs with the last word purpose of appreciating and displaying reverence for music.

In the Nineteen Fifties, ‘60s and ‘70s, kissas had been in style in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto as hideaway golf equipment the place music fans might share their vinyl collections as an economical approach to hear the latest music. The venues had been intimate and quiet (some prohibited speaking altogether) and every document was chosen by the kissa’s “grasp,” who was usually the proprietor. The variety of jazz kissas throughout Japan has dwindled since their heyday, however many stay open in Tokyo.

James Moody, proprietor of Austin’s music venue Mohawk and co-founder of Hot Luck Fest, discovered himself in a single on a go to to the town and have become enamored with the idea. The intimate venue, the reverence with which every document was chosen, the eye visitors paid to the music, and the drinks made the expertise one thing he wished to duplicate in his house metropolis.

The decor at Equipment Room combines Japanese and American mid-century trendy types. … [+]

Robert Gomez

“When I used to be at JBS (Jazz, Blues, Soul) kissa in Tokyo, I used to be surrounded by individuals who had been actually taking note of what was enjoying,” says Moody. “Each document (and whiskey) was chosen with such care, and patrons had been there to hear and study — it doesn’t matter what was enjoying. I wished to see if we might convey a bit of that have to Austin, in our personal means.”

Moody reached out to Josh LaRue and Gabe Vaughn of indie document store Breakaway Records, and Amar Lalvan, govt chairman of boutique resort chain Bunkhouse, to convey the idea to the guts of South Congress. The dream turned a actuality in April of 2023.

The entrance to Equipment Room is an unassuming door set again in an alcove. Once inside, visitors are led down a dimly lit hallway illuminated by a floor-to-ceiling stained glass window and padded with acoustic foam. The foam dampens outdoors noise and creates a stark distinction between the quiet hallway and the sound-saturated room.

Once an precise music gear room, the acoustics of the house introduced a problem. To remodel it right into a high-fidelity haven, it was outfitted with a sound system designed by Klipsch that accounts for each facet of sound inside the excellent dynamic vary.

Behind the bar is a part of Equipment Room’s assortment of over 1,200 vinyl records. … [+]

Robert Gomez

The star of the present is a set of 1,200 records displayed alongside bottles of Japanese spirits behind the bar. It’s a extremely curated combine that principally incorporates vinyl from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. And regardless of being jazz kissa-inspired, it options quite a lot of genres together with soul, punk, and hip-hop. From open ‘til shut, an skilled “selector” stays on the sales space to pick out LPs to spin and artists to spotlight.

The inviting front room fashion design is supposed to let visitors get snug and benefit from the music. For an much more intimate expertise, the house is outfitted with over-the-ear headphone units, deliberately positioned at single seats.

“We wished Equipment Room to really feel genuine to the eras of the music we play,” says Moody. “The classic items gave it some pedigree, but additionally made the design stand out. It doesn’t look or really feel like every other bar as a result of frankly we weren’t designing a bar – we had been making an attempt to construct out your bizarre mates rad basement from 1978.”

While music could come first, the drinks are simply as essential. The cocktail menu has two sections, aptly named “A-side” and “B-side.” A-side cocktails are basic favorites like cosmopolitan, Manhattan, penicillin, and espresso martini, whereas B-side cocktails are developed in home by the skilled bar crew.

“B-Side” cocktails function Japanese elements like Honjonzo sake, Roku gin, and Asian pear.

Paul Stratford

These cocktails are combined with Japanese elements like Honjonzo sake, Roku gin, and Asian pear, and are named after in style songs like “When Doves Cry,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison. Non-alcoholic cocktails embrace “Like a Virgin”and “Punching in a Dream.” The bar additionally pours a pleasant choice of sake and Japanese whiskys.

“People come to Equipment Room for the music, however the drinks elevate the expertise,” says Moody. “A number of cocktails we now take into account to be classics, just like the cosmopolitan and espresso martini, had been invented between the Sixties and the Nineteen Eighties, so we knew we needed to embrace these on the menu. But we additionally wished to do a take that paid homage to Japanese drinks and kissa tradition, so we made the A-side and B-side menu. It’s becoming as a result of the B-side on a document has lesser-known songs, however usually they’re among the greatest if you happen to simply give ’em a strive.”

The meals menu options Japanese-inspired snacks like rooster karaage with pickled garlic, contemporary … [+] herbs and kewpie mayo.

Jess Attie

A small menu of snacky objects can also be accessible, and whereas perhaps not substantial sufficient for a full dinner, it’s excellent to accompany pre-dinner drinks or pleased hour. Think rooster karaage with pickled garlic, contemporary herbs and kewpie mayo; a implausible jumbo crab toast on an herbed English muffin, or an ice cream sundae topped with miso caramel, cherries, and whipped cream. Like the drinks, the snacks had been created to pay homage to Japanese flavors and elements.

Equipment Room is a spot the place artistry is quietly appreciated and celebrated. All the weather create an area that could be a distinctive mixture of Japanese kissa and Texas sensibilities. It welcomes all audiophiles to relax, get pleasure from a drink and snack, and actually hear to music – it’s meant to be heard.


by way of Vinyl Records https://ift.tt/Bc4DPKe

November 14, 2023 at 05:41PM

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