Man’s Last Great Bastion: The Barber Shop


Old-fashioned barber shops seem to be having a bit of a renaissance right now, getting recent mentions in The New York Times, Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and Esquire, just to name a few. The perfect antithesis to the androgyny of modern spa-salons, get a straight-blade shave and a no-frills haircut, with old-world customer service in a boys-only zone. But this is old news for swing boys, and anyway, the best barber shops around are still the ones that have actually been around for a long, long time.  Here are a few such establishments, and feel free to email us with details of your favourite old-timey barbershop in your local city!

F.S.C. Barber, New York City
Cool retro styling – even the  barbers are decked out in retro threads. Not too cheap but hey, have a haircut $75, straight razor shave $40, and someone has to try their Hangover Treatment $25 and report back to us! But don’t bother with an appointment, they don’t take ’em.

Truefitt & Hill, London
Claim to be the world’s oldest barbershop! Grooming London gents since 1805, get a traditional hot towel wet shave for £35.00, or for £70.00 you can even take a traditional cut throat shaving class!

The Art of Shaving, locations across the USA
Ok, it’s a chain, but they’ve got the aesthetic right. Old-style leather chairs, dark wood surrounds, jazz in the background.  Haircut $40, straight-razor shave $35, Royal Shave (45 minute package, with steam towels and mask) $55.

Rudy’s Barbershop, Seattle
Funky, retro-styled barber shops, incorporating local art and music. The vibe is barbershop meets coffeehouse meets tattoo parlor. Walk-in service, no reservations needed, cheap and casual.  In the words of “Coolness of yesterday without trying too hard.” Seven locations across Seattle, but stores in LA and Portland too. Visit the original Seattle (Capitol Hill) shop on East Pine.

Hyde Park Hair Salon, Chicago
Established in 1927, and the first integrated barbershop in Chicago. Haircuts $21, shaves $10, shave & a haircut for $27. Past clientele have included Muhammad Ali, Spike Lee and even President Obama.

State Street Barbers, Boston & Chicago
Admittedly not old, but in a nostalgic style – in their words “An old fashioned barbershop with contemporary style and convenience.”  They offer a hot lather shave, complete with steaming towels and a classic straight razor shave. And the standard haircut comes complete with a shampoo, scalp massage, straight edge neck shave and shoulder massage. Not too shabby…

Gornick & Drucker’s, Beverly Hills
Established in 1936, this barbershop has some serious Hollywood pedigree. This is where gangster Bugsy Siegel got his last shave & trim, hours before being shot dead. President Ronald Reagan was a loyal customer for 40 years, and the Rat Pack filmed the original Ocean’s Eleven there. Enjoy the original mahogany and leather barber chairs, get a shave, haircut, manicure – even get your shoes shined.

Al’s Barber Shop, Denver
Opened with the aim of creating the ultimate relaxing space for men and men alone, Al’s Barber Shop is all black counter tops, shiny stainless steel and large screen televisions. The retro styled barber chairs are their own own operable stations, so you get your hair washed and cut, a straight-blade shave, whatever your fancy, all in one seat without being ushered all over the shop. Haircuts from $30, and hairline clean-ups are only $5, just so Al and his staff get to see you more often.

House Cuts Barber Shop, Washington DC
A hidden gem, why not get your hair cut where the Congressmen have been going for 37 years? You’ll have to go through the metal detectors at the Rayburn House Office Building, and head to the basement, but there you’ll find Joe Quattrone’s storied barber shop, open to the public. He’s cut the hair of Al Gore, Dick Cheney, even trimmed Gerald Ford the day before he assumed the presidency. And cheap as chips: haircuts $14, shave $10, beard trim $5.