Northern Ireland

East Belfast gets the best of both worlds as Bread and Records opens its doors

A new bakery and record shop Bread and Records set up in east Belfast by owners Jason Hawthorne and Paddy Baird. Picture by Mal McCann
A new bakery and record shop Bread and Records set up in east Belfast by owners Jason Hawthorne and Paddy Baird. Picture by Mal McCann A new bakery and record shop Bread and Records set up in east Belfast by owners Jason Hawthorne and Paddy Baird. Picture by Mal McCann

Belfast is best known for two things: great food and great music, so it makes sense that both areas would go well together.

Bread and Records, however, comes with a twist (and shout) as two separate businesses are operating in the same space on Bloomfield Road in east Belfast.

Paddy Baird, the brother of Kevin Baird of Two Door Cinema Club, runs Assemble bakery and will work alongside his friend Jason Hawthrone, who runs First Press Vinyl, which specialises in early editions of records.

Hawthrone said: "It's one space but two shops within and the fact that they are separate is great.

"If it were mixed throughout the whole shop it could get difficult to cross over but if you have just come in for records or the bakery they both have their own space."

Jason Hawthorne who sells vintage records through First Press Vinyl based at Bread and Records in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann
Jason Hawthorne who sells vintage records through First Press Vinyl based at Bread and Records in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann Jason Hawthorne who sells vintage records through First Press Vinyl based at Bread and Records in east Belfast. Picture by Mal McCann

Glancing at the collection, you can see why the records have been flying off the shelves. There is everything you can think of, from a selection of first prints including The Beatles and Radiohead, to less established artists.

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There is even a free records box for customers to take their pick and discover a new sound.

Jason is no stranger to the music scene, having been in a band called Swimming Tapes, who have toured Japan.

Paddy and Jason have known each other for around 20 years, meeting through the music scene and even living in London together for a time before deciding they wanted to work together in this Bread and Records venture.

The business has been open for four weeks and things are going well, with queues down the street.

“When you start anything you aren’t sure what the uptake is going to be,” Paddy said.

“I think we were pretty sure that our wicked music collection and good coffee and pastries wasn’t going to be the hardest sell in the world.

“I just think this area was crying out for something like this and the takeaway nature of it is really working for us.

“People are making this part of their weekend routine, coming in and getting a coffee and pastry and going about their business.

“It’s also nice that we are complimenting a lot of the other businesses around the area as well.

“There’s loads of lunch places and we’re not in direct competition with them as we’re something a bit different. It seems to bring more people to the area which everyone loves.”

Customers are also keen on the cinnamon buns and Paddy says he makes more and more each week "and they’re still the first thing to fly out the door”. 

“The bread is consistently selling here too, I think there aren’t loads of places where you can pick up good sourdough around here.”

Bread and Records has been open for 5 weeks now and shows no signs of slowing down. Picture by Mal McCann
Bread and Records has been open for 5 weeks now and shows no signs of slowing down. Picture by Mal McCann Bread and Records has been open for 5 weeks now and shows no signs of slowing down. Picture by Mal McCann