A-Side: The Bar
In the event that you find yourself along the farther side of Katipunan, specifically the White Plains area, then you are probably in bumper to bumper traffic or stuck behind the great wall of trucks, both of which are highly plausible–do yourself a favor and embark on a jaunt specifically in this small but charming bar called 78-53-86 located along the avenue.
What’s so special about this bar? To start, this is not the typical hang out place especially built to entice students around the area. The size of the bar itself does not welcome next month’s college reunion or an end of the semester celebration since seats and tables are limited. The place is intimate and designed for meaningful meetings and thoughtful conversations.
The polished concrete walls complemented by concrete-wood furniture and romantic yellow lighting compel you to sit back and admire the glorious view of neatly displayed vinyl records.
The bar is home to hundreds of vinyls grandiosely placed on one side of the bar. If you decide to pay a visit, you will surely be in awe of the bar owner’s collection of vinyl records and entranced by the pleasant background music. One must know that vinyl records are best played and heard through an adequate turntable and sound system. 78-53-86 does not disappoint at all with its sophisticated set-up. With that and having the place to ourselves, my companion and I took advantage of the situation by freely dancing to the fine tunes.
Just a heads up, this place mainly serves drinks and the only thing available to munch on is ridiculously expensive popcorn, but there are restaurants nearby if you are really craving. I probably would not be surprised if you are feeling unsettled by the fact that there are no actual meals. I mean, where is the fun in that, right? However, do not bother yourself with that bit too much. Whether or not you are interested in jazz or in the culture of vinyl records, the place is immensely charming, it will surely draw you in and make you stay for hours. You will learn to appreciate this lovely way of listening to music and wishing there were more of these places in this side of town.
Despite the changes in the ways we listen to music, it is great to be able to experience how it was done many years ago. 78-53-86 provides the area to simply appreciate the company you are with and the rawness of the music that resonates within such a restricted place. This alluring music box demands its visitors to be mindful and to acknowledge the beauty of the records and the music with your desired beverage.
B-Side: The Store
After minimal contemplating and maybe a few drinks later, the bar has gotten you interested in understanding more about this old-fashioned but enjoyable mode of listening to music. However, you are quite unsure where to begin this new interest of yours. You can start by crossing the street from where the bar is located and checking out one of the owner’s record shops.
The Grey Market houses more records of various genres. Unlike in 78-53-86, you can actually get the feel of holding a piece of musical treasure on your hands and seeing the album art up-close. Moreover, there are new and second-hand turntables you can get to know and probably buy for yourself depending on your budget. The offerors of music present during my visit to the shop were kind enough to walk me through the basics.
I realized that getting into this culture is not as simple as it looked. There are numerous parts to consider and to buy, but surely, it makes the listening experience more valuable and enthralling.
The shop is a convenient traverse to continue your new or increased fascination for vinyl records and other things that come with the experience. But if you are not really into learning the nitty gritty details, you can always head back to its perfect counterpart and immerse yourself in good music and drinks.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE July 2017 issue
Words by Rafaella Alexa Ubaldo