By Clare Myers
Off the Record, a new bar and record store in Deep Ellum, is capitalizing on a winning combination: beer and music.
Josh Florence, who opened Off the Record with business partners Tim Daniels and Phil Coward, said the idea originated from a conversation between partners after they realized they would have to drive all the way to Good Records in Lower Greenville to purchase the Future Islands record.
“We said, ‘Oh man, we wish there was a record store in Deep Ellum,’” Florence said. “We were already working on a bar next to Club Dada, but it didn’t have a theme yet. We just looked and each other and said, ‘We should maybe just sell records out of the bar.’”
Soon after, they contacted Chris Penn, co-owner of Good Records in Lower Greenville.
“Chris was immediately on board,” Florence said, and Off the Record was born.
In the newly opened bar, exposed brick walls recall the days when the building housed horse stables over a century ago. A large door between Off the Record and Club Dada is opened during shows to let concertgoers pass through. Past the records, patrons can head out the backdoor to access the shared outdoor patio. The vibe is laidback and intimate, with the vinyl selection adding a distinct cool factor.
As Deep Ellum continues to grow and become more vibrant, Off the Record seems to fit right in. The bar serves up craft brews and cocktails, but the record store caters to more than just the nightlife scene.
Florence and his partners depend on Good Records in Lower Greenville for a steady supply of vinyls. Off the Record currently stocks around 3000 records, and Florence says he believes there is space for the curated collection to become much larger.
“At some point I would like to top out at 10,000,” he said. “That’s a nice round number.”
Off the Record is the latest addition to the eclectic neighborhood, but the novelty of the concept extends beyond Deep Ellum. According to Daniels, the only other bar that features a record selection is in Portland. A major deterrent to combining the two is the very real possibility that a customer might spill on a record. Off the Record avoids that danger by strictly selling new vinyl records that are still in the packaging. Daniels also noted that patrons are very respectful of the record section.
The bar had a soft launch on Aug. 26 featuring DJ CeePee, Penn’s disc-spinning alter ego. In the weeks since its opening, the owners said the place has seen a steady flow of business, both at the bar and in the record section.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Daniels said.
Off the Record opens at 4 p.m. during the week and noon on the weekends and stays open until 2 a.m. every night. Beer and vinyl lovers can stay tuned on the bar’s Facebook page for news of the grand opening, which the owners say they hope will be soon. In a fitting tribute to the name, neither Florence nor Daniels would confirm a date.
“What happens in a bar is always off the record,” Daniels said.