Revolver, the bar dedicated to playing on vinyl records side for side, has been in its Capitol Hill home for just six months, yet the place has already made a name for itself. The spot with stacks of records, some frayed at the spine, is really the perfect combination: Great drinks, fine beers, vinyl albums, all in the heart of one of the city's best neighborhoods. Owner Gary Reynolds, who also operates Electrokitty Recording Studio in Wallingford, smiles when he talks about his new bar.
What's new these days with Revolver?
Well, in a couple weeks we're going to revise our entire drink menu, actually. We play all vinyl albums, all album sides and the decor is late 60s to early 70s -- so I felt like the cocktails should be the classic cocktails at that time. What were the cocktails that the Beatles drank? Manhattans, martinis, brandy alexander, Tom Collins -- we're going to do that for our house cocktails. You go to a bar and you order a mixed drink, sometimes it tastes like kerosene. But when you order from us, even well drinks, it's all beautiful, classic cocktails. We're also going to have shots named after fun rock themes -- Ziggy Stardust, Strawberry Fields, High Voltage, the Flaming Lip. We're toying with a hammer of the gods option, too: a drop shot or an accompanied schooner of beer.
What about the beer selection?
Right now, we have eight taps. We have standards like Manny's and Rainier. The IPA that we're carrying is HiFi, which we love. We rotate our pints quarterly. Personally, I like crispy, light beers. In my opinion you have to have one bargain beer, especially here in Capitol Hill. But I like the bright, crispy beers. Next month we'll bring in a Winter Ale. We actually just got another IPA we're set to put it -- it's called Space Dust from Elysian. Can't wait to put that on.
What's the six months been like since you opened?
It's been great, man. We started off with a bang and it's stayed the same. People started really digging our Cajun food and now we're going to be extending the menu, too. We're going to carry classic po' boys with catfish and shrimp. Also, chicken dumplings. We can't wait! What I've seen over the last six months is people wanting to eat more substantial food and we want to offer them that.
How has it been working in Capitol Hill?
I think the neighborhood is only going to expand and we've had no problems with clientele. I love having a bar up here. Everybody here is cool -- it's great. In fact, we want to add more booths so we can accommodate even more people. We've also recently upgraded the stereo system -- got to stay up to date.
Last question -- how and why did Vinyl Bar come about?
Well, I inherited a giant record collection from my uncle and I wondered what I was going to do with it. I went to bars and saw everyone was playing stuff off their iPhones. But I was wondering, why couldn't there be a bar that plays music from whole sides of albums? Not just the same 12 songs over and over again. So that's where I came up with the concept. Then I learned vinyl bars were big in Japan, so I started researching those places. They were mostly jazz. But I wanted to start a rock one here. Here, the bartender is the DJ, and people really like that.