Wax On, Drink Up! Listening Bars Land in Richmond with Space Mountain Hi-Fi


The Carver neighborhood is getting an injection of sonic psychedelia courtesy of locals Herbie Abernethy and Josh Novicki. Already reigning supreme with Cobra Cabana on Marshall Street and the Van Halen homage that is Hot For Pizza on Leigh Street, they’re cooking up something even more transcendent—a “listening bar” at 312 Goshen St, anointed as Space Mountain Hi-Fi.

This ain’t your run-of-the-mill jukebox spot. The Space will be tricked out with primo audio equipment specifically designed for spinning vinyl. This concept, synonymous with “audiophile bars,” is a throwback to early 20th-century Japan, where vinyl nerds and cocktail aficionados met in intimate sanctuaries to swoon over rare grooves. The tradition is getting a stateside renaissance, with urban cool kids from LA, Miami, and NYC leading the charge. But Space Mountain is the first one to let Richmonders sip bourbon while absorbing every warm beat and bop of a vinyl.

Abernethy and Novicki are not just restaurateurs. Abernethy, who also frontlines rock outfit Valient Thorr, claims to acquire vinyl like some folks hoard cigarettes. After the duo took over the ex-Black Sheep space to launch Cobra Cabana in 2018, they went full-on hedonistic by opening their rockstar pizzeria, Hot For Pizza, in 2020.

And where’s Space Mountain gonna drop? It’ll be vibing on the ground floor of a two-story relic that cozies up to Cobra Cabana’s Marshall Street patio. “This space is practically begging people to come for the liquor and stay for the aural ecstasy,” raves Novicki. This is more than just a bar; it’s a pilgrimage site where artists can premiere their works on a soundscape engineered for pure sonic pleasure.

Look, they’re keeping mum about the tech specs and the Benjamins they’re sinking into this, but expect a lush menu of cocktails, mocktails, wines, beers, and munchies. But hey, there’s some red tape to slice through. They’re seeking a special-use permit, given that the 123-year-old building that Novicki owns is residentially zoned. And don’t worry, neighbors; they promise to keep the volume down while maxing out the quality.

But wait, there’s more. They’ve also opened The Sandspur in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, and bought the longtime music venue Kings in Raleigh. When will Space Mountain Hi-Fi officially open? That’s anybody’s guess, but as Novicki puts it, “We’re making moves and everything’s coming up Milhouse.”

Orignial reporting by Richmond BizSense HERE

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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