Call it the Mad Men effect, but in the past few years men have become ever more interested in and concerned with the way they present themselves. Even after the show has finished its final season, sporting a combed crop and manicured facial hair has yet again become an integral part of the modern gentleman’s daily grooming routine. But with businesses now attuned to our collective vanity concerns, finding a good barber is just as difficult as maintaining the perfect fade for longer than a fortnight. Here, our selection of Sydney’s Best Barber Shops (some of them with a bar, for a post-shave ale).
Sterling Hairdressing Parlour & Barber Shop
3/29 Brisbane Street, Surry Hills
Old School barber shops have popped up all over Sydney in recent years, but Sterling Hairdressing Parlour & Barbershop is one of the originals. Owner Tony Vacher has specialised in retro styles for over 30 years – he’s the master behind the Porteno guys’ coiffed quiffs – and at his Surry Hills shop, a team of easy-to-chat-to cutters are adept at achieving that sharp style of yesteryear. But where many barbers apply a one-size-fits-all rule to classic cuts, the team here always look at and ask about your hair (its thickness, how you wear it for work) to ensure that it’s cut and styled to suit.
Hawleywoods Barber Shop & Shaving Parlor
432 King Street, Newtown
Ever see a guy on the street with a hairline blended so brilliantly well – from clean razor on the neck to a full crop on top – that you almost want to ask him where he’d got it done? Don’t bother – he probably goes to Hawleywoods. The inner west outpost of this Californian barber shop offers the full treatment with every cut (hot towel, straight razor shave and a neck massage), making it something of a place to hang out and chat as much as it is to clean up your look. Whether classic businessman, high taper, flat-top or rockabilly quiff, the team here is thorough – so much so they’ll even shine your shoes.
The Happy Sailors Barbershop
748 Bourke Street, Redfern
This space on Bourke Street in Surry Hills is a haven for good things. Formerly one of the cities best art book stores, it has more recently been converted into a classic barber shop replete with candy-striped pole out the front and vintage leather chairs. And while the look and feel is classic, the owner and barber-in-charge, Nathan, isn’t afraid of what’s new, either, putting a slightly modern spin on traditional cuts for those not wanting to appear as though directly from a post-War love story. Best of all is that at $40 for a haircut, it’s more affordable than many of Sydney’s other barbers.
Culture Kings Barbershop
420 George Street, Redfern
Located within streetwear store Culture Kings – home to perhaps the country’s largest selection of sneakers – this fast-paced barber shop is the place where hip hop music royalty like Big Sean, Tyga and Fabolous have their locks tended when Down Under. As the team say, from mild to wild anything is possible, so while the cuts are rooted in barber tradition, they’re not averse to shaking it up, either, so you can update a classic taper with a disconnected part or undercut, or add some artistic lines along the sides or front. Not necessarily for the faint of heart, but you can’t help but get caught up in the spirit at this heaving destination of street style.
The Barber Shop
89 York Street, Sydney
In true New York City style, this barber shop – aptly titled The Barber Shop – is both a place for a cut and a cold drink, doubling as a classic cocktail bar, too. All services – including regular cuts, as well as hot towel shaves and beard trims – include a complimentary pilsner or pale ale, making it the perfect place to relax after knock-off whilst keeping your look up to date. It’s bar is so good, in fact, that it picked up a raft of accolades at this year’s Australian Bartender Magazine Awards.