June 29, 2017

Philly Offers Fresh Update On Old-School Barbershops

Close Shaves & Cool Cuts From Philadelphia's Modern Bevy Of Barbers

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The Philadelphia skyline, viewed from the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Center City. Photo by C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Used to be when a guy needed a shave or a haircut, he had to choose: Book an appointment at a unisex salon or take his chances at a grandfatherly barbershop. That’s not the case anymore—at least not for guys in Philly. These days, the city is full of tonsorialists—that’s vintage speak for barbers—who pull off skillful styles in old-fashioned shops. Execs seeking subtle shags, students going for a clean crop and grooms getting their first straight-razor shave can all rest easy, knowing they have a bevy of awesome Philly barbers from which to choose. Here’s where to start:

Center City:

  • 2B Groomed – Barber Jahmal Rhaney looked to the 1940s and 50s for inspiration when opening his walk-up shop in 2003. Today, his vintage-feeling business services all manner of men’s grooming needs, starting with scissor and razor cuts and extending into skincare for stubborn bumps, goatee trims, steam facials, straight-razor shaves and beard coloring. Also on tap: a full slate of grooming products, including Truefitt & Hill—and a complimentary shoe shine from the buffing machine with every service. In 2012, USA Today named 2B Groomed in its online list of “10 great places to get a shave and a haircut.” 270 S. 11th Street, (215) 925-3505, 2bgroomedstudios.com
  • Another Planet Barber Shop – This science fiction-themed shop is the brainchild of 27-year-old Jacque Scott, who’s cut hair for Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach Todd Lyght, former Birds linebacker DeMeco Ryans and several other local pros. The shop offers a variety of cuts for both men and women and specializes in multicultural hair. Scott’s plans include a traveling barber truck. 808 South Street, 1st floor, (856) 625-8597, anotherplanetbarbershopllc.com
  • Barbershop Denim – A modern take on the classic barbershop, this west-of-Broad spot caters to both longtime and new customers with walk-in hours extending into the early evening. Groomsmen gathering for pre-wedding beard trims can relax in the homey, man cave atmosphere. 1517 South Street, (267) 930-3980, barbershopdenim.me
  • Blokes Barbershop & Gentleman’s Emporium – Sure, men hit up this Old City spot for haircuts and straight-razor shaves, but they also frequent it for Blokes’ grooming products, books, jewelry, candles, hats and other accessories. Duke Dunne runs the barber side of the business; his wife Jill Ervais helms the retail side. 151 N. 3rd Street, (267) 314-5557, blokesbarbershop.com
  • City Barber – This Jewelers’ Row shop has an old-fashioned look and takes a time-honored approach to hair, from little kids to mature fellows. The classic rotating pole announces the venue, filled with black leather chairs, marble counters, gold-frame mirrors and combs soaking in jars of Barbicide. A menu of standards includes shaves, mustache trims, color and cuts, with a focus on skin fade side parts.136 S. 8th Street, (267) 324-3119, phillycitybarber.com
  • Fine Shaves & Cuts – No-nonsense barbers set up shop in Washington West with this to-the-point establishment, known for speedy, impeccable, affordable hair and beard trims and styles for men and boys. 131 S. 10th Street, (215) 995-2331, fineshavesandcuts.com
  • Gents Barber Lounge – A place where gentlemen can get cuts and hot lather shaves, this second-floor Old City spot offers both classic razor parts and modern mohawks. Additionally, betrothed gents can take advantage of a bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) groomsmen package, which include snacks, a private hour in the shop and coffee. 45 N. 3rd Street, (267) 800-2873, gentsbarberlounge.com
  • Groom – Center City old-timers remember the belowground venue of Joe McMenamin’s retro-modern shop as belonging to local fixture Harry Fini, known for his no-nonsense buzz cuts. Today, the old space has undergone a gentle update and now receives praise for their by-appointment-only gentleman’s cuts, Boardwalk Empire-style pompadours, textured summer cuts, flattop boogies and Ivy League styles. Cash only. 1324 Locust Street, lower level, (215) 545-2626, groomphilly.com
  • The King of Shave – This self-proclaimed “old-school barbershop” offers haircuts, traditional straight-razor shaves, beard and mustache trimmings and coloring services by Diego Rivera. Located on quaint Antique Row, the online-appointment-preferred, cash-only spot offers a relaxing setting—thanks in part to the constantly streaming jazz and tango music—for wedding parties and guys who simply want to look their best. 1201 Pine Street, (215) 732-2900, thekingofshave.com
  • Nic Grooming – Nick Berardi and his sons Joey and Nicky are devoted to the craft of old-school barbering—and to their motorcycle collection. Bikes grace the windows of both of their walk-in only Rittenhouse barbershops, where prices are the same no matter what the service. Also greeting patrons, who may opt for cuts, straight-razor shaves and facials: exposed-brick walls, flat-screen TVs, vintage barber tools displayed as art and craft beer. 1600 Pine Street, (215) 309-5570; 267 S. 20th Street, (215) 732-7767, nicgrooming.com
  • Racquet Club of Philadelphia Barber Shop – Guys don’t have to be squash-playing members of this century-old sporting club to take advantage of its marvelously throwback, third-floor salon. But they do need to make an appointment to enter this classic, clubby gentlemen’s refuge, long accustomed to satisfying discriminating businessmen with the basics, including a $20 cut. 215 S. 16th Street, 3rd floor, (215) 772-1542, rcop.com

East Passyunk/South Philadelphia:

  • Basement Barber Co. – Located in what is actually a ground floor space, this neighborhood spot attracts a diverse clientele and specializes in all hair types. Patrons can expect precision cuts, razor shaves, fades and good conversation in this laid back, family-friendly shop. Pomade from Holland brand Reuzel is available for purchase. 1227 Tasker Street, (267) 250-8979
  • Faheem’s Hands of Precision – Master barber Faheem Alexander grew up in the South Philly barbershop of his mentor Jazz. Today, Alexander employs four barbers at his own spot, where shaves, mustache and beard trims and cuts are a serious matter of pride. Twice a week, the boss travels to New York City to make the domes and beards of The Roots crew ready for live, high-def television. 2100 Snyder Avenue, (215) 271-7098
  • Meister’s – Vintage barber chairs and rustic wood finishes give this East Passyunk shop its distinctive look. Owner Rob Baumiester’s near-namesake offers an array of services: trims, side cuts, neck cleanups and straight-razor shaves. The handsome shop also retails tonics, texture creams, pomade, beard wash, balms and oils. 1810 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 309-3169, meistersbarbershop.com

Fishtown/Northern Liberties:

  • Ed’s Barber Shoppe – With high and tights, pompadours, Ivy Leagues and fades among the offerings, this Fishtown spot is well versed in old-school styles. Patrons frequent Ed Torres’ friendly place not only for the looks; they’re also fans of the walk-in appointments and the $15 pricing. 600 E. Girard Avenue, (215) 426-4120, edsbarbershoppe.com
  • Franklin’s Barber Shop – A self-described purist, owner Anthony “Sailor Tony” Reilly started cutting hair while serving in the Navy, eventually getting licensed and taking up the barber moniker professionally upon getting out. Franklin’s, named for Reilly’s son, is a reflection of his decidedly throwback taste, with a 1920s cash register, barber chairs from the 1930s and a working radio from the ’40s transporting patrons to another time. Still, it’s not all old-school: Appointment bookings are online-only. 225 E. Girard Avenue, franklinsbarbershop.com
  • Sulimay’s – Third- and fourth-generation barbers Joe Sulimay and son Marc Uscher aren’t known only for the comforting, tried-and-true cuts and shaves they give to hipsters, politicians and regular neighborhood types alike. They’re also known as some of the nicest fellas in Fishtown. Cash only. 303 E. Girard Avenue, (215) 426-9919, sulimays.com

Philadelphia Proper:

  • Backstage Barbers – Given its name when owner Chandra Jones came to the rescue of Off-Broadway performers in need of a haircut, Backstage Barbers is a mother-son operation devoted to their Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood—giving out free haircuts to students on back-to-school day, operating as a voter registration site and more. To boot, they offer all the classic barber services: shape-ups, beard trims, straight-razor shaves, haircuts and lots of warm smiles. 1430 W. Cheltenham Avenue, (267) 335-5459, backstagebarber.com
  • ESPM Hair Zone – A classic barbershop pole, antique mirrors and flat-screen TVs throughout the space give this nine-year-old, seven-day-a-week West Philly shop—ESPM stands for Expert Styling Performed by Monroe—its established-yet-sporty vibe. Popular for cutting black hair, this spot is known for taking care of “the Philly beard,” a full, often long look originally worn by local Muslims, who’ve come to call the traditional facial hair a “Sunni.” 5929 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 747-3931, espmhairzone.com
  • The Men’s Club Barbershop – Chairs lined up on a city porch and that telltale red, white and blue pole announce this old-fashioned yet hip Roxborough business where walk-ins and booked-online appointments are equally welcome. Shampoos are free, when there’s time, and a haircut sets customers back $20. 7617 Ridge Avenue, (215) 483-1831, mensclubbarbers.com

Multiple Locations:

  • Burke & Payne Barber Co. – The Italian Market’s old Sarcone’s Deli now has antique barber chairs, a black-and-white tile floor, exposed bricks and an 80-year-old barber pole that creates the ultimate new-school meets old-school corner shop, where a traditional men’s cuts runs $30. Owner Michael Burke has a similar operation across town called Barber on 24th. Burke & Payne, 734 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-0299; Barber on 24th, 2401 Lombard Street, (215) 732-7797, burkepaynebarber.com
  • The Duke Barber Co. – Fifth-generation tonsorialist William Brown runs operations at his two ruggedly hip retreats, one in Northern Liberties and a second in Chestnut Hill. Patrons at either spot can expect to find a TV Maestro’s Beard Butter. Cuts are precise. Executive shaves include facials. But best yet: Each patron gets a bottle of locally brewed seasonal Yards beer, or on “Whiskey Fridays,” a glass of Jameson. Both spots are justly popular for bachelor and pre-wedding get-togethers. Northern Liberties, 619 N. 2nd Street, (267) 519-0042; Chestnut Hill, 7946 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-2740, dukebarberco.com
  • I’m Sergio – Owner Sergio Tosti comes from a family of barbers. After years of running from that identity, he finally opened a shop with all the signifiers of a classic barber shop, plus twists such as complimentary beer-and-a-wash service, complete with a scalp massage, warm towel and menthol conditioner that he swears puts some customers to sleep. The Philadelphia location offers mani-pedis and body waxing. 1825 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, (215) 454-6381; 109 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, (610) 943-3215, imsergiomenshair.com
  • Shaving Grace Barbers/Upper Cuts Barbershop – With an original, bare-bones location called Upper Cuts in East Falls and two more luxurious, lounge-like versions in suburban Exton and Doylestown dubbed Shaving Grace, these venues offer the most basic of razor cuts to the most posh of spa services. The city venue is the place to pay $15 (cash only) for a quick trim. The Exton location, tricked out with leather couches and private spa rooms, offers full-body massages, waxing, manicures, pedicures and bundled services, in addition to the standard shaves and cuts. Upper Cuts, 3471 Ainslie Street, (215) 844-5159; Shaving Grace, 345 E. Lincoln Highway, Exton, (866)-427-4283, 41 E. State Street, Doylestown, (267) 620-2005, shavinggracebarbers.com
  • Style of Man – This crisp, modern local mini-chain of men’s salons caters to guys who prefer to get their cuts, color, shaves, waxes, manicures and scalp massages among men—but by women. The Liberty Place shop offers extended morning hours for fellas who want to get groomed before work. All four destinations keep evening hours. Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut Street, (215) 561-2887; 4448 Main Street, (215) 487-2820; 108½ Fayette Street, Conshohocken, (484) 351-8055; 65 E. Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, (484) 329-7544, styleofman.com

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On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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