Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Now that everybody is rediscovering vinyl records, they want to build out their collections. Instead of re-gifting your loved one a record covertly stolen from your parents’ shelves or, god forbid, buying the new Taylor Swift album at Urban Outfitters, spend your time searching for something at U Street’s Red Onion Records. New and used albums are organized alphabetically and by genre, but there’s no computer system keeping track of what’s in stock, so you’re forced to dig for the good stuff. The low-key staff doesn’t mind if you move things around or ask questions, and they seem genuinely interested in what you’re purchasing. It’s such an unfussy shopping experience that you find yourself relaxing and losing track of time while discussing the merits of John Denver and Willie Nelson.