Best New Place to Buy Gear

Vic's Drum Shop

Critics' Picks

Open since October 2011 in the Music Garage and run by industry veteran Victor Salazar, former general manager of the Drum Pad in Palatine, Vic's Drum Shop seems determined to make up for all the years the city didn't have a dedicated drum store—and in grand style. The shop's eight rooms (a ninth, for drum hardware, should be open by the time this is published) contain a dazzling quantity of inventory: the kit showroom holds 130 complete drum sets, any one of which can be set up and played; the two cymbal rooms shine with close to 1,500 models, all of which customers can test; and the stick selection boggles the mind, with 800 varieties in stock. One room is devoted to electronic drums, another to snare drums (more than 125), and still another to world-music and Latin percussion. Even if all you need to do is replace your heads, you've got 2,500 kinds to choose from. And the service! When I went shopping for a double kick pedal this winter, the staff dug one out of a storeroom to let me try out two different cams on the model I wanted—and while I spent more than half an hour comparing them on a practice pad, nobody put any sales pressure on me at all. By the time I made my choice, Vic's was closing, and when I couldn't figure out how to transport the pedal's unwieldy case on my bike, Salazar volunteered to hop in his van once he'd locked up the shop and drive my new toy to my practice space.