by Britt Chester

Depending on what generations you speak with, vinyl records are a thing of the past. But they, whatever ill-informed generation that is, couldn’t be more wrong.

The Black Lodge, a small bar located at 282 E. Fourth St. in the gentrifying Innovation Quarter of downtown Winston-Salem, has chosen to capitalize on vinyl’s increasing popularity with its weekly “Bring Your Own Vinyl” night on Wednesdays.

According to Neilsen SoundScan, vinyl sales grew by more than 32 percent in 2013, totaling out at over six million units sold.

“People said that vinyl was dead,” said Jerry Cooper, a bartender at the Black Lodge. “But really, the CD is what died.”

Neilsen SoundScan also reported that compact disc sales dropped by nearly 15 percent, which brought sales from 193.4 million to 165.4 million units.

Vinyl album sales now make up just over 2 percent of music sales in the U.S.

On Wednesday nights, the Lodge allows guests to bring in their own records to be played while guests sip a beverage and enjoy the view as the setting sun paints a silhouette of downtown Winston-Salem.

Given that the Lodge is located right around the corner from Reanimator Records, a popular music shop located between 3 rd and 4 th streets on Patterson Avenue, it makes sense that “Bring Your Own Vinyl” would emerge.

“It’s great because people can bring in anything, we’ll put it on, and depending on what it sounds like, we’ll let it play … for at least one song.” Cooper said.

Cooper typically brings in a couple crates of records that he spins until people start showing up. His records, most of which show obvious age from years of being handled, consist of early ’90s hip-hop, classic rock, ’80s and the always pleasant ’70s funk and soul.

Cooper said a lot of bands that come through and play at venues such as The Garage, Reanimator and even Ziggy’s bring in their own records to throw under the needle.

“I get to hear a lot of music that I would otherwise never get to,” Cooper said.

For the most part, the music leans on the rock ‘n’ roll side, but that doesn’t mean your Barbara Streisand record won’t get a spin on the player, even if it’s only for one song.

The Black Lodge offers a special Wednesday night drink called a “Jerry Coke,” which is a rum, cola and grenadine concoction for only $7.

“Bring Your Own Vinyl” starts at 5 p.m.

on Wednesday nights and ends at 2 a.m. when the bar closes. !