Another Spin for The Vinyl Room

The Vinyl Room, with its collection of LPs behind the bar, relocated last month to 396 Main St. in Beacon. Photos provided

The Vinyl Room, with its collection of LPs behind the bar, relocated last month to 396 Main St. in Beacon. (Photos provided)

Beacon bar and record shop relocates on Main Street

There is one steadfast rule at The Vinyl Room in Beacon: The DJs must spin old-fashioned records, no software allowed.

“The only exception would be for a supremely talented artist,” says co-owner John Kihlmire.

Vinyl Room co-owner John Kihlmire (left) with DJ Tekwun

Vinyl Room co-owner John Kihlmire (left) with DJ Tekwun

After nearly a year getting things in order, Kihlmire and Kane Licari, childhood friends who played Little League together in Fishkill, opened the third incarnation of the cocktail bar, restaurant, record shop and arcade on Aug. 11 at 396 Main St. The next night, a disc jockey worked sets with 45-rpm vinyl records, known as “singles” back in the day.

Typically, the DJs play “platters,” choosing from stacks of wax in racks that hover over the bar. One lazy Sunday afternoon, The Best of Sam Cooke took a spin on the house turntable. The records for sale are behind the front desk.

The Vinyl Room opened in Wappingers Falls six years ago. In July 2021, it moved to 344 Main St., a space now occupied by Beacon Coffee & Mercantile, but the concept clashed with neighbors and there was no room for vinyl or games. So the partnership formed and bought a building a few doors east of Teller Avenue. The only apartments nearby are the two located upstairs, which they plan to rent short-term and use to entice talent.

Although the walls celebrate hip-hop, with portraits of Nas, Slick Rick, Biz Markie, Biggie Smalls and LL Cool J, the musical selection in the record bins leans heavily toward jazz and rock.

The vibe in the main room, bathed in red neon light, is loungy, with booths and leather-clad couches. Downstairs, nine game consoles, including Mortal Kombat, Ms. Pac-Man and Mario Bros., line the walls.

“If you’re in your 30s, 40s or 50s, we want you to feel like you’re living your childhood again,” says Licari.

This iteration of The Vinyl Room is the first to offer its own food. In Wappingers Falls, customers could order pizza through a slot in the wall that connected to the Wagon Wheel next door. At the first Beacon location, they ordered from Roma Nova across the street (now in Fishkill).

The food options include sliders, salads, pretzel bites and avocado toast, with the closest thing to an entrée being a meat-and-cheese charcuterie board. The drink menu has Lyte as a Rock (for female rap pioneer MC Lyte), Kinds of Blue (after the Miles Davis album), Lo Fidelity and X Factor. 

Kihlmire and Licari hope to offer bottle service and expand their wine list. In addition to an extensive bourbon, tequila and amaro selection, there are a dozen taps, including one for a non-alcoholic brew and another for a Vermont cider.

Over the years, many businesses have occupied the space and historic signs from Nichols Hardware and Schuman’s Army & Navy Store hang inside. Artifacts from its run as the Everyday Tavern in the 1960s are preserved in glass.

For Kihlmire, the past is also personal. Some of his floppy discs containing nascent DJ mixes hang in a picture frame near the door. Two heavy wool jerseys worn by his grandfather, who played baseball for teams sponsored by Texaco and Dennings Point Brick Works, adorn a wall near the bar.

“We offer a modern, yet rustic feel with good energy and great music,” he says. “We have nice dinner options, but we also offer a fun, late-night groove, so we’re going for a good balance.”

Leave a Reply

The Current welcomes comments on its coverage and local issues. All online comments are moderated, must include your full name and may appear in print. See our guidelines here.