url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url url

RIYADH: Alkhobar-based Bohemia Art Cafe and Records has opened a new branch at The Warehouse in the Kingdom’s capital where visitors can enjoy coffee, buy vinyl records and vibe with live music.

Overlooking the picturesque rocky hills that showcase the beauty of historic Diriyah, the standalone vinyl shop and cultural music hub is situated at the end of a trail of warehouses. Approaching on foot, you’ll see the neon sign drawing you into the space. The cafe is smaller than the Alkhobar branch and has the same cohesive energy with a vibe that is all its own.

Co-founders Fawaz Alsulaim and Mansour Alhmaid met at university in the UK, where they studied mechanical engineering. They each had different tastes but both loved music. They opened Bohemia Art Cafe in Alkhobar in 2018 and it has become a sonic refuge for them and their clients.

Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Alhmaid, who is from Riyadh, told Arab News about the significance of the new location: “We are very proud that this (Riyadh location) attracts the right clients. The client base in Riyadh is way bigger than Alkhobar; they enjoy different genres of music here — it’s all types, a bit of everything.

“We don’t have many walk-in clients, most follow us on our social media channels,” he said. As if on cue, several people arrived — all were enthusiasts from the Alkhobar branch.

The second branch was a long time coming. The Bohemia Art Cafe name has become synonymous with creatives in Alkhobar, a place for like-minded people to congregate and a space to amplify the Saudi talent brewing within.

Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Building on the creative community, pulling from the nostalgic, retro vinyl culture was something the founders strived for.

Before COVID-19 put the world on hold, they had tried to open up a second branch in Riyadh.

“The plans were there since before COVID. Unfortunately, with COVID, the financial situation became tough. We had to delay it. And then when things settled, it became a good time to go there,” Alsulaim told Arab News.

Co-founders Fawaz Alsulaim and Mansour Alhmaid met at university in the UK. (Supplied)

Carving out a space for creative Saudi voices to be heard is the goal that unites the two branches. Open-mic events are one way to do it.

Alsulaim, who greets people at open mics in the Alkhobar branch, is always welcoming.

“We just had (one of) our last open mic in Alkhobar before Ramadan; we were very excited about it. First time for The Pineapple Jam Project, led by Sawsan, who has always been opening for people, so it was amazing to see her finally be a headliner in a show,” he said.

Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Sawsan, who performed a medley of melodies at a recent show in the Alkhobar branch, said that she was elated that the cafe had blossomed recently.

“I can’t describe my feelings because it (had) been a year since my last gig. It feels amazing. These are my friends,” she told Arab News after her performance.

As a child, Sawsan would sing using a bottle of perfume as a mic in her bedroom and would belt songs out in the shower. Now, Bohemia Art Cafe is letting her voice flourish on a bigger stage.

Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

“The vibe at Bohemia is so good. I mean, I was so scared. Everyone here came to support me — half of the people here are my friends, the other half got to hear me sing so they might be my future friends — or something like that,” she said.

Both branches aim to foster local talent such as Sawsan’s and to serve as a hybrid space to collectively promote local voices.

“We have a great strategic partnership with The Warehouse. It works great for us and great for them. The shows are on the weekend so our work is done for us, in terms of shows,” Alsulaim said.

Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

“I’m surprised that records have been selling in Riyadh more than coffee — which is the opposite of what’s happening here in Alkhobar. People have been coming for the first weeks just for our records.”

Both branches have a “pre-loved” section in which clients can sell their records, something the founders are proud of.

Alsulaim plans to go back and forth between both locations. No matter what, he insists that the Alkhobar branch, which he calls “the OG” (or original), will remain.

During the month of Ramadan, Bohemia will be open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m in both Riyadh and Alkhobar. Artistic types in the Jax district will be able to step into Bohemia and enjoy their late night coffee and study, chill or listen to music — or all of the above.

“We plan to open a branch in Jeddah in the future,” Alhmaid said. “At Bohemia, we sell happiness.”

 

By admin

Leave a Reply