The Saint Catherine at 660 Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights is about to resurrect a practice you thought died when Columbia House sold you 20 CD's for a penny — gathering around the turntable with some shared vinyl.
Owners Brad Nicoll and Sara Williams want their customers to bring out their best vinyl and show it off to the neighborhood on Monday nights.
The idea came from a very modest turntable setup that's been with the bar since it opened in March. Both Williams and Nicoll are vinyl fans, and a lot of the staff at The Saint Catherine were audiophiles as well. Once customers caught on to the turntable, a plan started to come together.
"People will be here and then the music will stop for a second and they'll realize the bartender's flipping a record," Nicoll said. "You don't see that often, it gives it a little bit of a different vibe."
The plan is to set-up a turntable at the end of the bar, and customers with a yen to show off the pride of their collection can sign up for a three or four song stretch, similar to karaoke. For now? There are no rules.
"We're gonna try to keep it open and we'll see what happens with it," Nicoll said. "If somebody's playing super abrasive Japanese noise rock or something, we might be like 'Ok, you can't play In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, that counts as more than one song."
Co-owner Williams said that the house rules would probably take care of themselves. With so many customers and staff passionate about music — and vinyl in particular — policing likely won't be a problem.
"It's more fun when you can play it and you've got an audience, you can show off what you've got, and what you've managed to collect when you've been crate-digging and flea market shopping," Nicoll added. "It's an opportunity for people to come out and make the night theirs."