Sydney’s Best Luxe Barbershops: Five That Made The Cut
Got face full of fuzz that needs taming? How about an unruly mop in need of some maintenance?
Whether you’re in need of a little facial topiary or a comprehensive ‘do overhaul, we’ve done the legwork and mapped out the best hair salons for men in Sydney.
From retro cool barbers where a visit comes with a glass of whisky or an ice cold beer to trendy venues offering everything from facials and scalp treatments, read on for our top picks of Sydney barber shops – grooming joints where your beard and your barnet will be in good hands.
Spa Q Barbershop, CBD
As you’d expect from the coolest hotel in the city centre, QT’s in-house barbershop (set within its Spa Q spa) is polished to perfection. A go-to for the city-working crowd, this luxe barbershop ensures that unkempt city slickers emerge after an hour looking, well, slick.
Kitted out with antique leather barber’s chairs, the customised barbering services range from the no-nonsense traditional wet shaves, haircuts and beard trims, through to targeted facial treatments. And for an added bonus, every customer gets a glass of neat Chivas Regal on the house.
“We reinstated the traditional men’s barber service from the former Gowings department store that was here before the hotel,” says resident barber, Dustin Halft. “So there’s a sense of old world charm throughout.”
Standouts on the menu include the signature ‘Don’ traditional wet shave and the more comprehensive ’Mr Bond’, a ritual that begins with steaming hot scented towels to soften the beard, followed by a shave using a specific anti-inflammatory cream. Unruly eyebrows and beards are then tamed, before an indulgent shoulder, hand or arm massage. Lastly, a cold towel is applied to close the pores and then a final layer of moisturiser.
“We like to think we offer a temporary retreat from the madness of the city,” continues Dustin. “Regardless of whether customers are dropping in for a quick 30-minute shave or a full hour facial, each treatment is relaxing and thoughtful.”
One thing’s for certain: whatever you opt for, you can bank on way more than a bog-standard snip.
Adilla Barbers, Double Bay
Nestled in Double Bay a stone’s throw from the suburb’s trendy bars and coffee shops; Adilla Barbers’ contemporary design fits in with its salubrious surroundings. But there’s more to this grooming go-to than good looks. The team here have (literally) cut their teeth at some of the world’s best barbershops.
Offering the usual suspects that you’d find at any barbershop (including hot towel shaves and haircuts) the trained stylists are also pros when it comes to colouring services, scalp and facial treatments, each utilising handpicked skin and haircare products.
“Our emphasis is on the entire look, rather than just the haircut,” says Adilla Barbers director, Frankie Flanagan. “We ask customers questions like what they do for work, and how much time they have in the morning to style their hair. We want their hair to work for them, rather than against. We take the time to learn each clients personal likes, dislikes and hair habits to make sure we get it right. That’s a big part of our success.”
If you’re after some serious TLC you can’t go past the Adilla Deluxe, which includes a cut, hot towel facial and shave or beard trim. Pair it with a whisky or an ice cold beer (both free) to help ease yourself into the pampering process.
Truefitt & Hill, CBD
Check-in for a chop at this gentleman’s parlour and you’ll get a history lesson at the same time. Established way back in 1805 in London, Truefitt & Hill hold the Guinness Record for the world’s oldest barbershop. And given this rich history, it’s apt that they’ve chosen the historic QVB building as the location for their Sydney outlet (and second store in Australia). Paying homage to the barbershop of yesteryear, expect gentleman’s club hallmarks such as dark woods and brass accents.
“The setting is classic and inviting,” says Truefitt & Hill managing director Khushwant Dhanoa. “Customers love the unique heritage we have. Then there’s the fact that we have a near unmatched number of available services including massages and facials. We try to make every guest feel like a king – after all, the service we provide has been literally sampled by royalty.”
Yep, this barbershop holds an actual Royal Warrant and the brand’s cutthroat craftsmanship has been sampled by celebrity heavyweights such as Frank Sinatra, and Winston Churchill, so you’ll be in good company.
Aside from the usual suspects, there’s a wealth of cool add ons. The T&H head massage promises to leave you feeling relaxed, a mini-facial promises to rejuvenate, while an eye mask treatment “invigorates” tired eyes, and there’s even waxing and threading on hand to tidy up stray nose and eyebrow hairs.
For an extra fee, you can go full VIP and be pampered in the privacy of the plush Glenfiddich Suite, which also comes with a complimentary scalp or face massage and access to premium refreshments.
The Men’s Grooming Room, Paddington
A longtime go-to for Sydney celebs and the eastern suburbs ‘ladies that lunch’ set, chi-chi salon Valonz opened its doors to men a few years back after the arrival of in-house barber – and all-round hair expert – Aiden Xydis.
Training in the barbershop Mecca of Turkey, his precision cuts have seen him win over a raft of famous faces himself, including Ian Thorpe and David Wenham.
Specialising in haircuts and quick facial pick-me-ups for the time-poor, his approach is admittedly no-frills, but that’s why his client base love him. And given that there’s only one chair in his compact workspace, every client is guaranteed one-on-one time with the cutting maestro himself.
“My motto is quality in quantity,” says Aiden. “I take 15 minutes per client on average for a cut. I think I differ from other barbershops because it’s just me in the shop.”
A modern day barber room with a 1950s American chair front and centre, Aiden offers cuts, shaves, alone with express facials (using hot towels, light exfoliation, and a volcanic mud mask and facial massage), and the unique ‘The Ben’ brows, ears and nose tidy in one.
Solid cuts, good conversation, and a stiff drink (beer and scotch are on the house) – what more could you want?
The Barber Shop, CBD
Ever wondered what happens when you combine expert haircuts and an award-winning gin bar? Us too. Well, at York Street’s The Barber Shop you can find out. A fusion of bar and old school barbershop, The Barber Shop needs to be seen to be believed.
Cabinets display antique barber equipment and retro chairs are set against a backdrop of stark white tiles and dark wood. A team of skilled barbers dole out precision modern cuts on top of traditional barber services, including hot towel shaves and beard trims.
The service menu is short and sweet, but then you don’t need extra bells and whistles when you have a secret door at the back of the shop that transports visitors to a fully-functioning gin bar.
The stuff of speakeasy fantasies, this place has actually been named ‘Australia’s best gin bar’ award three years running, thanks to its setting and impressive collection of more than 700 gins.
Picky punters can also choose from wines, beers and other spirits, and there are bar snacks on hand, including charcuterie and cheese boards. But wait, there’s more. The team has also recently opened their second outlet in Barangaroo, so there are now two venues for a cut, shave, and some late night gin-guzzling.
(Lead image: The Barber Shop / supplied)
Published 24 September, 2019