As a teenager, Jeff Laub was so taken by his grandfather's stories about the barbershops of old—"where a man could get a good long cut, and speak freely"—that he decided he would one day open his own shop. That day came last week, when Laub, now 26, and co-owners Adam Kirsch and Joshua Boyd opened the doors of the Blind Barber in New York's East Village.
A barbershop moonlighting as a bar—or a bar pulling day shifts as a barbershop—the front-of-house salon sports a classic black and white aesthetic, with stark white walls, a medicine cabinet, and surgical trays recalling the days when barbers performed operations on more than just hair. (Un-fun fact: The twisting bars of the iconic barber pole represent bloody rags hung out to dry). Cuts and straight razor shaves are easy on the wallet ($40 and $30, respectively) and each come with a complimentary cocktail—served up behind a door in the back of the shop by a bulky gent in suspenders and a wife beater. There, sterile-chic and the snipping of scissors give way to dim lighting and the tinkling of ice in whiskey tumblers, and yellowed portraits adorn the dark walls. "That's what the blind barber looks like," Jeff says, pointing to a picture of a grinning but clueless old man. A DJ booth in the corner suggests things could get raucous.
While the double duty concept isn't entirely new, the Blind Barber sets itself apart by broadcasting a mood of chummy conviviality. Still, the age-old questions remains: which comes first, tipple or shave? "I don't really care," says a white-haired man sitting at the bar, sipping a tequila gimlet. "As long as it's before the barber's had a drink."
The Blind Barber, 339 East 10th St.
Aidan Gill for Men
New Orleans, LA
Waging war on unisex imposters one straight
razor shave—and Jameson shot—at a time.
304-342-8677 (opening in July)
Retro salon meets pleasure palace: pin-up girls,
cocktails, and Swedish massage.
Esquires of Wall St.
New York, NY
Where Masters of the Universe hit the bottle
while getting a trim.
The Proper Barbershop
Los Angeles, CA
1920s style grooming with street punk attitude.
It's like the Hooters of haircuts, brah!