sip and spin
Cool Austin hotel hosts bring-your-own-vinyl social with KOOP Radio
Austinites who like a little surprise while driving are likely familiar with KOOP Radio, which plays "none of the hits, all of the time." It takes a lot of creative input to get such an eclectic catalog going, and visitors can be a part of that weird little hive mind during monthly parties at the Carpenter Hotel.
"Vinyl Night," on the second Friday of every month, brings a rotating lineup of radio DJs to spin their own vinyls as well as visitors' in the homey South Lamar lounge; Next up is Art(uro), host of KOOP's aptly named Crate Digger’s Gold. According to the program description, the DJ "unearths hidden gems in an all-vinyl musical journey starting from the blues and gospel to early rhythm and blues, soul and funk."
That's a pretty close description of what's coming with him to the hotel on November 10. Although there is no specific theme for the night, Art(uro) is mostly bringing "blues, soul, and R&B from the 50s to the 70s," according to the hotel's general manager, Elizabeth Harris.
This DJ in particular tends to draw out regular visitors who want to see what he's up to next. "I think he deeply loves this event," says Harris.
Both hotel guests and locals are invited to stop by and share their records, or choose from a library that lives at the hotel. And since the radio station publicizes the event, people from more musical niches are as likely to show up as people to hang out at hotel bars. (Those who belong to both parties know there's overlap, anyway.)
"It feels very much like hanging out in your really cool friend's living room, at a really fun party," says Harris. "Most people are grabbing a cocktail, going back to their little group, and chatting — sometimes mingling, because it is a lot of music-lovers. It attracts all types of people [including] the core contingent of hardcore album-lovers."
Wallflowers may be relieved to hear this all happens in a well-furnished living room-like area, so there's usually not much dancing or awkward standing around. There will also be snacks and cocktails from the Lil Carpenter's food truck and the bar, respectively, as long as the event is going on. Carpenters Hall, the hotel's restaurant, is also open until 11 pm on Fridays, if revelers are willing to remove themselves from the action for long enough to enjoy dinner.
Don't fret if you miss this one: Next month doubles up with two holiday-themed installments on December 8 and 15. This event has been happening on-and-off since 2019, so it doesn't look like it's going anywhere. No RSVP is necessary for this free series.