Now patrons at Play can choose more than the game they want to play or the beer they want to drink. They can choose their own music.
On Sunday nights from 9 p.m. until close, Play invites customers to bring in their own vinyl records and play them over the bar’s sound system.
Anyone with at least one record in his or her collection is welcome—no spinning or scratching experience required.
“We’re not asking you to be a DJ,” says co-owner Edwin Banacia. “If you know how to put the needle on the record, it’s all yours.”
In many ways, the arcade/bar hybrid that opened in Pensacola late last year is a monument to the past. Mainstays from the 70s and 80s like Pinball and Pac-Man line the walls, recalling a simpler time before smartphones and PCs.
Now Play is applying the resurrection technique to another piece of nostalgic technology—and this one is over 100 years old.
So why vinyl? Numerous bars in San Francisco, New York and elsewhere have instituted popular “Bring Your Own iPod” nights. Why embrace limited technology when an easier, more versatile alternative is available?
“If you still have vinyl records, it’s probably not crap,” says Banacia. “No one keeps a Ke$ha record on vinyl.”
For those without a vinyl collection, Play stocks a number of classic records in-house that patrons can peruse and spin. And a DJ is normally present to fill in the gaps.
“(Co-owner Albert Lao) DJ’ed here last week,” says Banacia. “He…spun some old funk records and…disco records and old-school hip hop.”
Sunday nights are notoriously slow for the bar and club industry. Banacia hopes that the interactive nature of “Bring Your Own Vinyl” nights can at least bring some fun to an otherwise docile evening.
“This is something fun for us…it’s not really promotional. We haven’t done any marketing behind it, and I don’t think we ever will.”
“We want to be a corner neighborhood place where people who grew up in Pensacola enjoy being,” adds Banacia. “(We want) to be as interactive as possible, and…we already accomplish that with all the games, but (this takes) it to the next level.”
Banacia says that so far the crowd has been a mixed bag.
“It changes every Sunday. I see some guys come up here with the old ZZ Top beards, and at the same time I’ll see some kids in tight jeans.”
The musical selections have also reflected the crowd’s eclectic nature.
“(I’ve) heard everything from Simon & Garfunkel, Miles Davis, Neil Young, The Clash, and Sex Pistols to Dr. Dre and Black Sheep,” says Banacia.
And for Banacia, a former executive at Sony Music and Columbia Records, music is what “Bring Your Own Vinyl” night is all about.
“If the lyrics touch a piece of my soul or talk to an experience that I’ve had in the past, then it’s great music to me.”
BRING YOUR OWN VINYL
WHEN: 9 p.m.-close, Sundays
WHERE: Play, 16 S. Palafox, Suite 200