At first glance, there’s nothing fancy about Cottonmouth Records. It’s between a post office and an Indian takeout joint on Enmore Road – an unassuming addition to one of Sydney’s busiest streets. But that’s part of its charm.
Cottonmouth is part-record store, part-dive bar. The walls are lined with vinyl and it’s filled with clusters of locals and music lovers. The space hums with a mix of booze and banter – we’ve got a feeling it’ll become an Enmore institution.
Owner and inner-west native Zachary Williams is about as humble as they come. After three decades in the music industry Cottonmouth is his way of adding to and engaging with the heartbeat of his hometown. “I wanted to create a space where people can dig for records, have a drink, catch up with friends and listen to music in a comfortable and inclusive environment,” he says.
The venue owes its name to a southern American viper snake, which is also the brand’s mascot. It’s a nod to Williams’s affinity with the New Orleans soul, jazz, blues and funk scene, evoking “the sounds and flavours of the Deep South”.
In the day, Cottonmouth operates as a record store selling new, remastered vinyl with an emphasis on soul, jazz and funk labels. At night it’s a cosy dive bar flowing with local brews and spirits. Punters can expect the likes of Wildflower, The Grifter Brewing Co, Yulli’s Brews and Nomad Brewing Co, with a rotating selection of small-batch beers on tap. It offers whisky under a similar pretence: it has an ever-growing menu spotlighting a mix of local and international whiskies from Australia, Scotland, Japan and beyond.
You can prop up at the front room’s weighty wooden bar between looking for records, or head to the intimate Lynchian back room for knee-knocking conversations. On Thursdays from 7pm it’s open-turntable night, where anyone can be DJ. It’s strictly vinyl only, of course.
Thursday to Sunday nights is for the experts; some of Williams’s favourite emerging acts will DJ. Beer and whisky tasting events are planned too.
Clear your schedule for Record Store Day on April 13. “This is a day for the people who make up the world of the record store – the staff, the customers and the artists – to come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities,” says Williams.
182 Enmore Road, Enmore
Tue to Sun 12pm–midnight