Best Record Store San Francisco 2008 - Aquarius
Before there was this whole digital music distribution stuff, there was Aquarius Records. The store has been around since 1970, and despite the crumbling of the bricks 'n' mortar CD shop industry, it has retained a loyal following of geeky music lovers over the years. Aquarius' niche has always been quality over quantity, so while you can't walk in there to grab Tom Petty's greatest hits, you can pick from among a number of specialized genres from black metal to field recordings, '60s psych to hip-hop. The store reinforces its commitment to scouring the underground for good tunes through its New Arrivals newsletter, an in-depth review of recent stock that began around the same time e-mail was invented and hasn't skimped on the details since. Add to this the Mission music outpost's occasional in-store shows, and Aquarius is an important reminder that while the Towers may fall, the little guys still carry big influence with record lovers in this city.