Gold Line, a new cocktail bar with more than 7,500 vinyl records, is now open in Highland Park. Local music label Stones Throw Records, whose headquarters have been situated above the bar’s space for the last 15 years, opened the watering hole.
Partners in the bar include Tyler Bell, co-owner of L&E Oyster Bar and El Condor, among other ventures, Stones Throw general manager Jason McGuire and the labels’ founder, Chris Manak, who is better known to audiophiles as hip-hop DJ and producer Peanut Butter Wolf.
The records stored here all belong to Manak, divided into different genres to bring the look and feel of a used record store to the midcentury space.
Pop-up parties featuring Manak’s LPs planted the seed for Gold Line, and inspiration also came from Japan’s established record bars and cafes, where DJs weave live musical tapestries from a wide scope of albums.
“I never really was interested in opening a bar just in terms of a drinking establishment,” Manak says. “I’ve been buying records for so many years. It got to the point where I couldn’t even step on the floor anymore.”
In addition to McIntosh amps and Altec Lansing speakers installed to showcase music the way it’s meant to be heard, a vintage Rock-Ola jukebox playing 7-inch records will greet the first guests upon opening each evening.
Following that, Gold Line bartenders, various guest DJs and even Manak himself will spin the in-house collection of records, with tunes primarily from the 1960s to the ’90s. Digital music files are beyond forbidden, and DJs will not be permitted to bring their own records in.
In addition to gifted local DJs, Manak says that out-of-towners like Portishead’s Geoff Barrow may swing by as soon as this week. And an unnamed performer from “Saturday Night Live” is expressing interest in taking over the turntables.
“I’m happy just seeing different people meet each other that are all in music; different friends and acquaintances that have never met each other,” says Manak.
Drinks at the bar include Japanese whiskey highballs straight from a draft system, beer, wine and cocktails such as the Orbit, with mezcal, sloe gin, Campari, agave and cassis liqueur that is named for Manak’s dog.
And a nightly happy hour stretches from 5 to 7 p.m. with $8 highballs.