Rare and Racy

Devonshire Quarter

164/166 Devonshire Street, S3 7SG
0114 270 1916

Established in 1969 and enthused over by many a Sheffielder ever since.

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An independent and free-minded institution since 1969, I first went to Rare and Racy for its records. It was the only place you could be guaranteed to pick up playable John Fahey LPs, along with a lot of rarities from the experimental noise and jazz scenes (everything from Merzbow to Zorn ensembles).

Over time, I realised I was coming out of Rare and Racy with more books than records. Everything from niche music-specific publications through fistfuls of 1950s pulp sci-fi novellas and endless theatre books.

Rare and Racy’s bookshelves are as whimsical as its music stock, full to the brim with esoterica, out of print beauties, fiction, factual, social politics, psychology and reference materials. 

There's nowhere else like Rare and Racy. It is guaranteed to make any bookworm giddy – at which point it’s worth exploring upstairs and the wild collection of art, artefacts and memorabilia that are hidden away.


In 2015, plans were approved to demolish the buildings that house Rare and Racy, along with its neighbours Syd and Mallory and the Natural Bed Company, to make way for a new housing development. Tens of thousands objected, including public figures like Jarvis Cocker and snooker champ Steve Davis, but sadly it made no difference. It turns out these buildings may well be the oldest shop buildings standing in the city centre. We urge you: make the most of them while you still can.

Rare and Racy's last day of trading will be 1 July 2017. We'll miss it. Until then, there's 50% off all records, books and CDs. Read more in the Sheffield Star's interview with owner Allen Capes.

Written by Greg Povey; July 29, 2015
Photography by Nigel Barker.