Tower Records, the Sacramento-based record chain, which boasts the largest record store in the world (in Manhattan), opened its first Washington branch in December at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. That's good news enough, but better still is the news that the store is open daily till midnight, including Sundays and holidays.
Store manager Rob Bruce says the new addition, Tower's 38th outlet, is this city's biggest record outlet, and the second largest in the world. With 300,000 records, cassettes, and compact discs spread over 18,000 square feet of store space (divided into four distinct "sound environments" -- rock and soul, jazz, classical and video), Tower would seem to have the title locked up.
Twer also has more than 10,000 singles (45s -- remember them?), a videotape rental program, a Ticketron outlet and a staff decked out in varying degrees of new-wavish chic. Judging from his first few weeks in the store, Bruce pegs Washington as a town with "highbrow" musical taste -- classical and jazz recordings seem to move faster than pop product here.
Maybe you can't tell a book by its cover, but you can judge a joint by its jukebox. One of the most eclectic and idiosyncratic jukeboxes in town glows in the middle of Herb's Restaurant on P Street, where a crowd of self-styled artists and writers (and people who like to talk about artists and writers) hang out. Peacefully co-existing with trendy tunes like "Heaven" by the Psychedelic Furs and "What Difference Does It Make?" by The Smiths, are such audio oddities as: the "Leave It to Beaver Theme Song" by Toy Parade; "Lili Marlene" by Marlene Dietrich; "Ding Dong (The With is Dead)" by German performance artist Klaus Nomi; and "Das Ist Twist" -- the German "Twist" by Chubby Checker.