Formerly a bridal shop, refurbished in just ten days, opening on the day of York’s infamous Soapbox Challenge - the street’s busiest day of the year - and serving 650 customers in the first week, Forty Five Vinyl Café is certainly making its mark and putting 29 Micklegate firmly back on the map.
Founders and fellow musicians Dan, Steve and Dom kindly took some time out of their busy schedules to talk about the new venture. After having talked for some time about opening a coffee shop, the idea to combine this with already operating online record store The Vault occurred to them, and in January of this year, Forty Five Vinyl Café was born.
After scouring the city for suitable premises, the location was chosen partly for economic reasons, and partly based on the fact that there is somewhat of a revival happening in the area. In the last few years Micklegate has seen the opening of a good handful of independent new businesses focusing on quality and great customer service. Alongside this, longstanding businesses on the street remain open and profitable, indicating a trend which bodes well for everyone.
‘extensive vinyl selection, fuss-free drinks and light bites.’
The refurbishment was completed on a tight budget and to a tight deadline, but made possible Dan says “with family and friends all pitching in, even if only for an hour” to get everything ready on time. The first week he says was “a learning curve,” but some malfunctioning equipment was really the only hiccup, and was far outweighed by the more pleasant variety of surprises such as the eclecticism of the customers encountered, the overwhelmingly positive feedback, being far busier than expected during the first week of opening, and the fantastic acoustics of the building itself.
This discovery, particularly delightful for three musicians, was made after the Hull-based neo-indie-pop duo Waste of Paint had approached the guys and played an acoustic set at the Café. Asked if there would be more acoustic sessions coming, Dan says “definitely, supporting more local artists in the future is something we’re really interested in doing.” The gig was well-received by both passers-by and those who had already stopped in for a coffee.
Speaking of the coffee, it really is very good. As someone with a background in the food and drinks industry and therefore a personal interest, I probed Dan on the blend because I knew from the first sip that it was something a bit special. Dan told me that the guys worked closely with Bradford-based Indy Coffee Roasters, taste-testing a range of single origin coffees before selecting three strains of the finest Arabica from three different continents to create their unique and “top-secret” house blend. You won’t find a cappuccino here though, because they want the coffee “to taste as pure as possible.” For this reason they favour the drip-filter and pour-over, saying this way the coffee is “served just as it should be.”
After tasting it I quite agree. The Café tagline states ‘extensive vinyl selection, fuss-free drinks and light bites.’ As a fairly new collector, I can attest to the fact that the vinyl selection is extensive, in both genre and era, and with prices to suit every pocket. The ‘fuss-free’ coffee is certainly something to make a fuss over. As for the light bites, time did not allow for eating on either of my two visits, so I suppose I will just have to make another visit. I suggest you do the same, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.Forty Five Vinyl Cafe's Facebook Page