The 12 Best Barbershops in America
These are the coolest places to get a trim—and a whiskey.
It's no secret that we're in the midst of a barbershop renaissance. All those fluorescently-lit, linoleum-lined, and Mayberry-like corner joints of last century? They've been replaced with sumptuous man lairs lined with rich wood paneling, leather accents, and walls of books. And those ultra-cool barbers? They won't just cut your hair—they'll pamper you with hot towels and pour you whiskey and turn up Radiohead while you wait.
To celebrate this wonderful trend, we've rounded up the 12 best trendy barbershops across America, so no matter where you're traveling, you're no more than a stone's throw away from the barbershop experience you deserve. Here they are:
Church Barber & Apothecary; San Francisco
If you're looking for a true au natural barbershop experience, look no further than Church Barber & Apothecary. The shop's stylists only use Church's own branded products—all of which are entirely plant-based and chemical free. Even their talc powder (you know: the finish-up powder that gives off that distinct barbershop smell) is crafted from arrow root powder. And to top thing off, the space was done up in sumptuous fashion by Daniel Castro, of SF's own legendary design firm, Ken Fulk.
Fleischman, A Men's Salon; New York City
"Damn good haircuts." That's the tagline of Fleischman, A Men's Salon, and not for no reason. Prior to every cut, the stylists—all of whom are female—will put you through a thorough consultation, covering far more ground than, "So, how many inches are we cutting today?" The result is a cut that is all-but-guaranteed to look as good during the sixth week as it does during the first week. The best part, though? Free beer and Scotch. Cheers.
Birds Barbershop; Austin, TX
Most barbershops prefer clients to make appointments. At Birds Barbershop, appointments are verboten. As such, if you're looking to get a cut at this in-demand joint, chances are, you'll end up with a wait. But that's okay: In the waiting area, you'll find arcade games and beer. (And yes, the beer is free.) And for when you finally end up in a seat, don't waste any more time deciding what style to get, and instead order The One Haircut That Will Shave 10 Years Off Your Age.
The Argyle League; Houston
Between the taxidermy, rough midcentury décor, and a healthy selection of Bulleit whiskeys (which are—you guessed it—free), The Argyle League is manliness epitomized. It also happens to be staffed by 11 of the best barbers in Houston. Small wonder that, in the three short years since they've opened their doors, this barbershop has rocketed to national acclaim.
Barber of Hell's Bottom; Washington, D.C.
Don't let the name scare you off. Hell's Bottom is simply what Shaw, the D.C. neighborhood where you'll find Barber of Hell's Bottom's flagship location, used to be called. The three locations in the capitol—not to mention a one-manned outpost in Richmond, Virginia—are staffed by stylists devoted to traditional techniques. And you know what that means: That straight razor shave won't run you an arm and a leg. And while you're there, don't miss the museum-worthy azure Spanish mosaic floors.
Junior & Hatter; Miami
Sure, you'll get an excellent trim, courtesy of some masterful scissor-work, at Junior & Hatter. But the main draw of this Miami barbershop is the fun-loving attitude. While you're waiting, you can enjoy a game of Foosball, bust out licks on a vintage Fender, or even play a few rounds of Super Mario Bros. on a classic NES.
Ball and Buck; Boston
The barbershop at Ball and Buck might be Boston's best-kept secret. Neatly tucked away in the back of the clothier's Newbury Street retail location, scoring a cut at this clandestine location feels not unlike the sensation of cool you experience when you uncover a new speakeasy for the first time. But consider yourself warned: There are only a handful of chairs, so you may have to book several weeks in advance.
BEST BARBER; New York City
Stepping into BEST BARBER is a bit like stepping into grooming heaven. The space is stark, minimalist, and effervescently white, giving the place an almost ethereal feel. As far as the stylists, they're all masters of the craft. Go in, ask for a scissor cut, and see for yourself how BEST BARBER is deserving of its name. (And enjoy the post-cut eucalyptus-scented hot towel.)
Throne; Portland, OR
Throne's M.O. is simple: Get a cut there, and you're treated like a king. Before getting seated in one of their custom-made barber chairs (or "thrones"), you're implored to stop by their bar, which is extensive—stocked nearly as well as an actual bar. Unlike an actual bar, however, Throne's booze is complimentary.
Bolt Barbers; Los Angeles
It pays to become a regular at Bolt Barbers. A one-time fee of $3.33 will get you a Bolt's Hairy Beast Card, which gets you a free mug of beer and access to their suite of wait-time-killing games, including a PlayStation 3 and a 22-foot long shuffleboard. And if you've got a kid, be sure to take advantage of their father-son special for a $5 discount—bonding outings like that are just one of 20 Easy Ways to Be A (Much) Better Father.
Belmont Barbershop; Chicago
It's no surprise that Belmont Barbershop boasts an clientele spanning a century. (Allegedly, their youngest regular is a one-year-old, while their oldest is 99.) The barbers at this no-frills at this north Chicago hotspot mean business, expertly wielding scissors and clippers to offer perfect cuts every time. If you want to step outside the box, however, ask for their signature pompadour. Owner and head barber Josh Cooley has put a twist on the iconic 'do—some extra length on top—so you'll walk away more James Dean than Elvis Presley. Rock on.
Aidan Gill for Men; New Orleans
A visit to Aidan Gill for Men is like stepping back in time. For one thing, cell phones are prohibited, and the owner and namesake, Aidan Gill, encourages his staff of barbers to strike up lively conversation—kind of like the old days. So right off the bat, you'll feel a sense of historicity. For another, the front wall of the shop is lined with vintage barber brushes. The best part? They're all for sale, so you can bring a piece of time travel back home with you.
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