Great little book shop, another little place I can't enter without leaving with a brown bag full of nooks that I never knew existed.
Great for chats and laughs about books too, whether it is about Patrick O'Brian's betrayal of us with killing off XXXXX too quickly, or having them refuse to sell me a second hand bible (that I had confessed I wanted for a Halloween costume) "not because it meant anything to [the owner] but because it meant something sentimental to someone, once"
A mad little spot which enriches the city with its presence
Great independent record/book store. I have found many a gem here and only recently picked up some CDs I was looking for (I try to avoid getting them online, because it means for my taste I have to import them from the US, meaning the risk of customs charging me an arm and a leg!). For the books and cds/vinyls you really would need an hour or two to get stuck in and search around, but it's generally worth it.
Nice little indie store, and I really like the 'hidden' aspect of it. It's possible to find some unique books or CDs here, at very good prices. In fact, a family friend who is an old lady in Canada traced an out-of-print antequarian book that she wanted to this very shop, and they sent it out to her with a lovely note and voucher for the next time.
The negative points are that the shop, and consequently the books, stink of damp. A big negative that some of the staff are a bit misogynistic. I had books to sell- (they buy books, but at such a low price it's worth the trek to Chapters instead)- brand new, recently published titles from well-known authors. The guy in the shop didn't recognise the authors, therefore decided that these books were 'for women' (pronounced like 'give you herpes') and then went into a speech about how women are 'intimidated' by the shop and therefore he won't stock titles 'for them'. I didn't know women are a different species, their silly easily-scared little heads incapable of reading big important books that are only for boys. Prick.
Apart from that, it's grand.
I just read Shane K's review prior to writing and found myself nodding in agreement but whereas Shane's review is negative I find all those qualities so endearing.
Yeah it's a bit tattered and battered but like the cynical eyes of someone that has been burnt more then a half price crematorium it still has the dewy spark of possibility when the right person comes along. It still holds that hope that someone will come and fall in love with it... And that's what I did.
I saw past the yellowing books, the cramped layout and the eccentric staff. And what I saw is a place that is willing to be found and appreciated by the right person. It's not like the chain stores with their shiny, glossy, try too hard to be cool vibe.
It's the girl at the bar that is in the corner pretending to text and hoping no one will notice her. It's not the girl with her know it all laugh and domineering conversationalist tendencies. When she talks it will be interesting and you should pop along and search for something that this place has that will turn you on.
My favorite bookstore by a mile. This place has educated me. A great selection of books from a wide range of fields organised in a manner which, even after the past five or six years of custom, I simply cannot comprehend.
Plus you gotta love second hand books. A well thumbed novel is probably a good read, so a quick look at the spine will tell you more than the blurb on the back. They're cheaper too.
The hidden record and bookstore specialises in that thing big chain bookstores don't have, soul. Yes, it makes me feel that cheesey.
Yes, the Secret Book & Record store is hidden down a long and narrow hallway, sandwiched between chain stores on Wicklow street -making it less than immediately accessible.
Yes, there are stacks and racks and rows of used books from all eras of publishing, all priced to move onto your shelf. And there's an amazing selection of vinyl on sale, the kind that would make any self respecting music-lover giddy.
But that's not the real secret -it's the love, the genuine appreciation shared by staff and loyal customers for the books and music that's on sale here. Feel free to break into a big smile when you see the spine of an old favourite ready to come home with you for a fiver; everyone here feels the same way.
The cataloguing can be a bit of a mess, but it makes the hunt even more fun (if you have the time).
The Secret Book & Record Store is very aptly named, as I must have walked past the place hundreds of times over the last number of years without noticing it (and I tend to keep my eye out for secondhand bookshops).
I eventually discovered its existence on the recommendation of a friend, so I took myself along one day to get the 411, as it were.
And I haven't looked back since. The Secret Book & Record Store is how you would make a shop of this type look like if you were making a film about a cool shopkeeper and the problems he has with his idiosyncratic love life (whoops, just checked IMDB and 'High Fidelity' has already been made. Ah pooh).
If you have a particular book in mind and think you might go to SB&RS on the off-chance that they might have it: don't. This one is strictly for the rummagers, but a rummagers dream it certainly is, with piles of books stacked any oul' way.
I don't go in for records much meself but they have them too.
I happened upon this place on one of my little exploratory walks through Dublin about eight years ago. Back then in my less cynical youth I found it really cool and quirky.
I recently revisited it to see how the years had treated this strange little shop. I was not impressed. In fact I found myself wondering why I ever liked it in the first place. It's depressing, disorganised and almost always smells like stale bread. The kind of smell you get when you have a tiny but persistent plumbing leak that doesn't get noticed for months until you have to rip up the resulting mouldy carpet.
The shops humble aspirations are something I can normally get into. I'm all for the little guy and it's great to see small business still plugging away but that doesn't mean you can't run the hoover around once in a while. You'll maintain your street cred even if you do break out the Mr Sheen. The staff always look a bit down as well. I feel like going up and handing them a sandwich to lift their spirits some.
The place gets a second star for the mad range of CD's they have. I've seen some seriously obscure stuff in there. Top marks for effort on that.
A brilliant small shop that reminds me of the indie stores I frequented before "Alternative" became a bin label in the Tower/HMV/etc megastores. They handle secondhand books as well as both secondhand and new music (vinyl & CDs). When we were there, separate staff were on for the bookshop and music. The gent with whom we chatted (sorry I've forgotten your name) when seeking irish rock was knowledgable, personable and after a long chat about many different artists and styles gave three solid recommendations that we've enjoyed immensely.
Go past the sterile stores with label-enforced rigid categorization and clueless cheap labour and take the time to visit with someone plugged into the regional music scene.
I kind of liked the 'hidden' aspect of it all.
When I arrived though, the used record section was rather small. I only buy ABBA and old Western albums so the pickins' were extremely slim here. Not even a Loretta Lyn or Conway Twitty to be found. Feel free to judge me.
I was surprised by a large CD area. Maybe they should call it Secret Book & CD Store? I dont even buy CDs anymore except at live shows. Anyway, I also liked how the books were arranged by theme and the large section of philosophy books. It felt like the college bookstore that I never had.
I love places like this, you feel really cool for having discovered it and think that only you and a select few 'hip cool' people will be in here looking for those rare Sly & Robbie or Hendrix vinyl pieces of gold. However, the truth is this is a well known and loved record and bookstore, that even my mum loves.
They have a super selection of both records and books and the collection is really eclectic and exciting! You never know what you might find and what you do find usually leads the bloke serving behind the counter to recommend something else which in turn leads the customer standing beside to pip up and show you another fab item that you just can't pass up and you walk out of the store broke, but ultimately happy with lots of super cool purchases!
I love hanging out in this shop... Millions of books and records all over the place, and interesting ones at that. My friends and I often come here to browse for extended periods of time.
We've picked up some gems here, not your usual Celia Aherns... A friend managed to find a book with a title to the effect of 'If you think your life's shit read this book...' Hilarious!
The other day I found newspaper clippings from a Dublin newspaper in the 1800s... there are treasures to be found here, I tell you!
Books are quite reasonably priced, around a fiver for a decent read, and there's a one euro bargain bin at the entrance to the shop.
The shelves are topped with some interesting ornaments. Look for the freaky dolls heads, and the doll pushing a shopping trolley filled with Guinness. Class!
To get there look for the sign in Wicklow St. Follow along the white corridor (there are yoga studios and maybe even a chiropractor here).
The 'secret' part of this shop's name is that it's located down a long corridor - you'd miss it if it weren't for the big sign on the street.
Once you've unlocked the secret you'll find a fully-stocked second-hand bookshop (great for gift ideas) and a gem of a record shop. The atmosphere in both parts of the shop is probably more welcoming than any other shop in the city.
Music and books. Even if you've no money it's the best browse in Dublin.
If, like me, you know your shit (about music and film and books in all their genres from A to Z) then this little gem will be right up your street (if you live on Wicklow Street that is). it is LITERALLY wall to wall with books (besides the DVD wall and another one with records on it). I went in to find a book (nothing in particular but just something i knew i wanted and couldn't find in Eason's) and I left with something I was VERY happy with (although I haven't read it yet). All major artists and bands and directors are represented in their mediums (and some in a number of mediums!). The only reason I'm dropping a coveted star is because the internet is way better for evertything but you have to wait for it to be delivered. Plus the fat lad who looked like Elvis with shit hair doesn't seem to work there anymore. Where are (is) you (he)?
I found this place sometime in 2000 or 2001, and am still amazed at the random things to be found here. Everything from old Punch annuals to history to Hamlet in Klingon has popped up here, and that's just the book section. It's one of the few secondhand bookshops which survived the Celtic Tiger boom, and the tattered posters on the walls trace the history of arts and social events that the shop has outlasted. A great little find.
I felt pretentious walking in. I was unable to find anything because of the way it was organized and the staff made me feel as though questions were not welcome. They do have A LOT of books and records though...and priced pretty cheap from what I saw!
One of my all-time favourites among the (independent & 2nd hand) bookstores in Dublin. Hidden away on Wicklow Street (though they sometimes pay a lonely man to hold a sign while sitting in front of the shop's entrance), here's everything an old analog person like me needs. With 2nd hand books, CD's and even vinyl, this place is a rummagers heaven. Don't come here if you are looking for a specific title. But come if you want to browse and spend some time. The place also attracts a wide and interesting clientele. Once I chatted for an hour with an 80year old, self-claimed historian named Collin about German tank design in World War 2. Priceless.
This place was always on my 'to-do' list when I was visiting friends at Trinity. I found three hard to find books that I have searching everywhere for. Freebird once again was a fountain of some old punk albums I was looking for. Last time I was there, there was the most amazing older gentleman with whom I spoke with for an hour, mostly about his travels and wanderings around the world. The staff are friendly and shopping here and spending 75euros is pleasurable.
I came here for the vinyl. While the actual store is very cool with it's secret aspect; and posters and notes posted up everywhere there's a very warm atmosphere.
There's LOADS of books, but the vinyl section is disappointingly small. Worth a visit though.
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