Old’s cool at Modern Times Beer

Point Loma-based brewery’s in-house record shop a hit and being replicated in North Park

Since launching in 2013, Modern Times Beer has aptly focused on exuding relevance in terms of modernity. Almost ironically, nostalgic elements of yesteryear – comic books, cassettes, VHS tapes – are integral in maximizing appeal to younger generations of beer-drinkers. Vinyl is now among those mediums thanks to a partnership with Vinyl Record Rarities (VRR) that fits a harmonious groove with Modern Times’ craft-beverage offerings.

On Black Friday of last year, Modern Times Director of Hospitality Jake Nunes (pictured above, at left) worked with VRR owner Stan Schwartz (above, at right) to set up a record outlet in the tasting room at the company’s Point Loma location, otherwise known as the Lomaland Fermentorium. Up to that point, all of Schwartz’s record sales had come online and via his pop-up trailer, the largest mobile vinyl store in the county. Thus, he was enthusiastic about the idea of teaming with a popular local beer concern.

“When Stan and I met, I was looking for a record store to do a pop-up at our brewery during San Diego Beer Week. As we were discussing the logistics of the pop-up, he let me know he was looking for a more permanent relationship with a business to house a record store with his inventory,” says Nunes. “Modern Times’ taproom had a coffee counter, but it had been vacant for a while. I pointed out the space to him and asked, ‘How about here?’ He loved the idea and the rest is history.”

And it’s been a successful history. Enough that Nunes and Schwartz have expanded on their partnership, installing a second retail record depot inside Modern Times’ North Park tasting room, The Flavordome. There, the entire south wall of the venue will be used to display VRR’s inventory of albums, along with CDs and tapes. Those goods will also be visible through floor-to-ceiling windows facing 30th Street.

There is a definite overlap in the types of people that enjoy good music and a tasty beer. There is a social aspect to it and also an escape from the day-to-day routine that you can experience with shopping and listening to vinyl records as well as having a delicious beer at the same time.”

Stan Schwartz, Owner, Vinyl Record Rarities

VRR’s vinyl stock covers a multitude of genres ranging from the 1960s to current day (i.e., modern times), leaning heavily into classic rock, soul, new wave and jazz. Both tasting rooms have dedicated turntables, and Modern Times is looking to hook up with individuals who would like to host casual weekly vinyl nights, using records from the store or albums brought in by customers.

“Modern Times’ theme is very mid-century retro, and vinyl records are such a great fit with our brand. I know lots of beer nerds who are also record collectors, myself included. Selfishly, I wanted to have a record store at work” says Nunes. “Digging through the crates is something fun for our customers to do while enjoying our beer and coffee, but the store has also attracted new people looking for records that are getting introduced to our taproom.”

Modern Times record store

The record-shop component of Modern Times’ North Park tasting room will debut to the public on Saturday, March 23. Launch-event details are still being finalized, but figure to include beer specials, giveaways and, fittingly, a DJ spinning vinyl. 

“I believe music enthusiasts, concert-goers, collectors and, really, just people of all ages are once again beginning to appreciate the sound and physical art of vinyl,” says Schwartz. “Of course they like the convenience of digital music and streaming services, but nothing can replace the experience and journey of a record hobby. Searching for, finding and enjoying original vintage records with all types of music really transcends eras and time.”

When asked if the company’s Encinitas location may one day house a third iteration of this beer-and-music concept, a decision has yet to be made, but both parties are approaching it with open ears and open minds.

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