City Cuts: The Barber Shops of the Side Streets

While the city can often feel like it is racing into the future, there is one kind of business that always feels classic and timeless: a barber shop. By stepping into a barber shop and witnessing the centuries-old rituals involved in close shaves, haircuts, and trims, it is easy to imagine oneself in a different decade.

This is not to say that these society staples do not make technological and aesthetic advancements. For example, Barba Men’s Grooming Boutique and Hairrari Barber Salon can be seen as a new chapter of barber shops, one that embraces the modern vibe of salons while still tending to men’s hair and beards with traditional care. Even at St. Marks Barbershop, which appears not to have changed since the day it opened in the mid-twentieth century, we learned just how much the shop evolved by looking at the original tools that one of the barbers used when he first learned his craft.

It is not the tools or the décor, but rather the sense of community that makes barber shops timeless. They are not just places where men go to get a professional service performed; they are watering holes where one makes friends, shares stories, and forms a second home. A good barber can be a friend, a therapist, and a miracle worker.

Below is a list of some of the Manhattan Sideways team’s favorite barber shops that we have visited over the years. Click HERE to see a list of every barber shop on the side streets.