In downtown McKinney, Red Zeppelin Records expands to become a dive bar and concert hall

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McKinney’s historic downtown will host a concert venue next year, the kind you’d expect to see at Deep Ellum. The Red Zeppelin record store expands to become a dive bar with live music from local and touring bands, comparable to Three Links.

Owner Katie Scott has already changed McKinney’s cultural district. She opened a vintage boutique, Groovy Coop, in 2015 and a large record store, Red Zeppelin Records, in 2020. In January 2021, she transformed Red Zeppelin into a label focused on emerging McKinney artists. The suburb has its own developing music scene that’s distinct from other parts of North Texas, Scott says.

“We do our own thing, and it’s hard to categorize it into a genre,” Scott said. She says most of the artists are under 30 and their music explores all kinds of rock trends from the ’80s and’ 90s, always with a dark undercurrent. “It’s just sort of becoming what it’s becoming, organically. But I think we’re going to see a wave of punk and grunge. We have a lot of kids skateboarders who are in groups and have gone to the School of Rock.

Ben and Rose Sloma browse records at Red Zeppelin, a record store in downtown McKinney.
Ben and Rose Sloma browse records at Red Zeppelin, a record store in downtown McKinney.(Anja Schlein)

After booking shows in other areas, Scott understood the importance of having a venue for local music in McKinney.

“It’s like we have to take McKinney somewhere else,” she says of hosting shows for artists from Red Zeppelin to Deep Ellum and Denton.

Now she has rented the old barber shop next door and will soon be knocking down the bar and hall wall. She plans to open the bar in the spring, but the new space will add live music to the record store by early next year.

“I’m creating a place where people who care will want to come and play,” Scott says.

There are several McKinney bars, restaurants, and cafes that sometimes host live music, but they mostly reserve tributes and country concerts. Scott wants to give the young McKinney music scene a suitable venue, right on East Louisiana Street, the old-fashioned main thoroughfare of the suburbs.

“I’ve always been drawn to this area and fell in love with this whole community,” says Scott. “I think it’s important to do something unique and represent something that is under-represented. And I’m okay with being the weird kid in the neighborhood. It seems to be working.

Red Zeppelin Records is located at 206 E. Louisiana Street, McKinney. redzeppelinrecords.com.

Red Zeppelin, a downtown McKinney record store, will expand next door as a concert hall and dive bar.
Red Zeppelin, a downtown McKinney record store, will expand next door as a concert hall and dive bar.(Anja Schlein)


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