A good haircut is key to a man’s crafted style, but finding the right chop is always a tedious job. Over the years, hair salons have undergone many changes, from being incredibly low-end, less-happening places to becoming cool places to hang out.
Even better than a favorite local watering hole is a great place to get a trim on the regular. Here, we picked the coolest barbershops in the United States.
Who is a Barber?
A barber is a person whose occupation is mainly to cut, dress, groom, style, and shave men’s and boys’ hair or beards.
What is a Barber Shop?
A barber’s place of work is known as a “barbershop” or a “barber’s”. Barbershops are also places of social interaction and public discourse. Sometimes, barbershops are also public fora.
They are the locations of open debates, voicing public concerns, and engaging citizens in discussions about contemporary issues.
The modern barbershop has enjoyed a well-earned renaissance in recent years, with savvy trendsetters and vintage enthusiasts alike seizing on the barbershop’s genius combination of practicality and old-world luxury.
There’s no mistaking that red, blue, and white candy-cane sign outside, nor the comfortable chairs where centuries of gentlemen cleaned up and enjoyed a bit of pampering.
And while no modern barbershop is complete without those time-honored elements, a new era is emerging in the barber’s trade.
The Coolest Barbershops in the United States of America
1. Cutthroat, Houston
With two locations, this shop is responsible for many of the fresh fades on Houston’s male population. There’s a gratis beer and a Kendrick Lamar–heavy soundtrack for you upon arrival; after your cut, get a snack at the neighboring taco truck.
2. Church Barber and Apothecary; San Francisco
If you’re looking for a true 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
3. Spruce, Denver
The lumberjack beard is a mainstay in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood, and many guys here perfect the look at this hybrid barbershop–a clothing store that offers cuts, shaves, and a house line of all-natural grooming products.
4. Stag Barbershop, Milwaukee
The salon captures the balance between old-school sophistication and innovative charm that suits the taste of modern men.
The joint is famous for its haircuts and straight razor shaves that are customized to suit a gentleman’s character.
5. 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,
6. 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.
7. York Barber Shop, New York City
It’s the kind of place the hipster Brooklyn shops model themselves on. Other than the prices, not much has changed here since the Upper East Side institution opened in 1928.
Insiders recommend the traditional straight-blade shave.
8. Throne, Portland, Oregon
While many barbershops will offer you a beer, this place stocks top-shelf booze to sip during your traditional cut or shave. Its skilled barbers have a reputation for being lively—but not too chatty—conversationalists.
9. Junior & Hatter, Miami
Some masterful scissor work by the hairstylists of the salon will provide an excellent trim. The main highlight of this barbershop is its fun-loving attitude.
A game of foosball or Super Mario Bros, on a classic NES, can be enjoyed during the waiting period.
10. Belmont Barbershop, Chicago
One of Chicago’s Best Barbershops is known to serve all age ranges. They don’t offer mediocre pampering, salon, or spa services, but provide personalized, tailored service.
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- Barber chair
- Hair clipper
- Barbers’ articles (20th century)
- Barber cloth or wrap (Victoria, Australia)
- Barber mirror or back mirror
- Hair brilliantine
- Disinfectant or Barbicide (Fansuan, Belize)
- Hair cream
- Hairdryer, hair blower, or blow drier
- Barber powder (talcum powder or baby powder)
- Hair gel
- Hair pomade
- Barber neck paper/tape
- Hair scissors
- Shave brush
- Hair spray
- Hair tonic
- Shaving oil
- Hair wax
- Straight razor
- Barber Strop
- Station mat
- Mustache wax
- Shaving soap or Shaving cream
Some Skills of a Good Barber
Below are 5 Skills that make a successful Barber:
1. Hair Cutting
Hair types vary from person to person. Learning the difference between hair types and how they respond to cutting is an important first step in becoming a barber.
Along with learning the different types of hair, barbers must learn cutting techniques and stay up to date on the latest trends in men’s hairstyles.
Prior to becoming a professional barber at a barbershop, you will be required to have the necessary skills to cut and shape hair to the desired style each client prefers.
If you’re thinking about becoming a barber, the next major skill you will need to learn is hair maintenance. Once your client has a style they like, they’ll want to keep coming back to you for maintenance and trimming.
Learning the techniques of trimming to maintain a client’s preferred style will not only help increase repeat business for your barbershop but also increase referrals from happy clients.
Styling techniques are needed to ensure barbers are equipped with the skills needed to provide for a client’s wishes.
In order to become a successful barber at a local barbershop, you will need to learn how to replicate specific hairstyles that the client found on TV, online, or in a magazine.
Shaping is an imperative skill to master for those who are interested in becoming a barber. Ensuring sharp, straight lines on both the beard and hairlines of those with short haircuts is key to a successful cut.
Clients seek out professional barbers for the clean lines and precise shaping they offer.
Straight razor shaving has become increasingly popular in the past decade. Men enjoy the clean feel of a close shave and are seeking out professionals who offer this service.
How do you become a licensed barber? You will be required to learn advanced shaving techniques such as straight razors and other methods.
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What Makes a Great Barber?
1. Technical Talent
There’s no getting around it: A great barber is a talented barber. Look for a barber who’s well-practiced and who regularly performs great haircuts.
A great barber will be familiar with a variety of techniques, will have an excellent eye for detail, and will be able to work with clients who have different hair types and styles.
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Great barbers have a certain amount of confidence. They know that they’re talented, they’re comfortable with their jobs, and they look forward to being able to help clients get that ideal cut.
Talent and confidence are essential skills for any barber, but great barbers are also adaptable and always willing to learn.
Hairstyles and trends change, and a great barber will only stay great by being able to keep up with those changes and by embracing new trends.
4. A Clean Shop
One common characteristic of great barbers is that they take pride in their shops. While things may get a bit messy during a haircut, you can bet that a great barber will be sweeping and cleaning up right after every haircut.
Look for a shop that is neat, clean, and stocked with equipment that’s well cared for.
Having the patience to work with a haircut until it’s just right is a characteristic that separates good barbers from great barbers.
Some haircuts will take longer than others, but in general, if a barber only spends 15 minutes on each haircut, he’s probably rushing.
A great haircut takes time and attention to detail, so don’t settle for a barber who hurries through a haircut just to get started on the next one.
6. People Skills
Great barbers tend to also have great people skills. Being able to interact with people is a necessity in this industry.
Barbers need to welcome clients to their shop, communicate effectively to make sure they understand what the client is looking for, and even make small talk to keep the client comfortable during the appointment.
7. Asking The Right Questions
A great barber won’t make assumptions about what you’re looking for in a haircut. Instead, they’ll ask you questions and will ask for feedback during the haircut.
Your barber should ask you any questions needed to clarify details about your desired haircut length and style and should give you a chance to check out the shape and length of your hairline during the cut to make sure it’s just what you’re looking for.
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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 the 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.
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