Opening a lounge where you can peruse bins full of records, have a beer, and sit and talk with friends seemed like a fantastic idea to Jada Pfarr, owner of Longshot Vinyl Lounge.
The name seemed fitting since she battled cancer several years ago. Doctors told her that it was a longshot if she survived. Listening to records had long been a passion for decades. And it’s one of the things that helped bring her comfort during her treatments. So why not create a space where people could talk about their favorite music and appreciate each other’s company?
The business opened earlier this month.
“I feel like I just landed the best job ever. I get to talk about records every day,” she said. “It’s tough but someone’s got to do it… I guess it’s going to have to be me.”
Longshot Vinyl Lounge, 324 6th St., features a bar made from old speaker faces, lounge seating, several tables for her to serve charcuterie boards with meats and cheeses, and of course — bins full of records. She’s got new and used records, including titles from rock, jazz, punk, rap, and pop groups.
Located in the building where the old Red Cross Drug Co. operated, that business shut down in 1995 and had been the home for several other businesses until Chris Hefel bought it in 2016. The black and white tiles, 1970s furniture, dark green walls, high ceilings, and crown molding create a welcoming atmosphere.
And that’s just what Pfarr was going for.
Her goals in opening the lounge: Offering a comfortable place where people can listen to good music and talk about new bands. She also wants to support artists by hosting events.
“I think it’s important now more than ever to have a place in the community where people can talk face to face rather than on a cell phone,” she said. “That’s what we are going for, a place where anyone can come in and feel comfortable.”
Longshot Vinyl Lounge inhabits a historic building
But what is also is interesting is the history of the building, which was originally built as a YMCA by architect James Gilbert Chandler in 1886. The 24,000 square-foot building also has a ballroom, a space Pfarr hopes to host events in once it has been fully restored.
“It was taken over by the Knights of Pythias after that,” Hefel said.
The Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization, started in 1864, according to Wikipedia.
“Then last, it was the Red Cross Pharmacy Co., which operated out of here for many years. They had four locations in Racine and this was their headquarters,” she said.
Hefel said she envisioned a space that had a number of female business owners. Roberta’s, a restaurant, and Perennial Soaps are also located in the building.
“And dare, I say… you delivered,” Pfarr said. “And here we are.”
If YOU go
What: Longshot Vinyl Lounge
Where: 324 6th St.
When: 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday