There's a lot of talk in this town about a new bar called the Barber Shop; a brand new addition to the CBD's drinking scene opened by a man named Mike Enright. For those in the know, Mike was, until very recently, the head honcho at Merivale (you know, Ivy, The Beresford et al) when it came to managing the colossal collection that is Justin Hemmes' empire.
For us regular folk, however, he's now just a Pom with a big dream of combining an old-school barbershop with everything that makes the majority of his previous responsibilities such a success. Did his dream come true? Well, it seems with the help of bar manager Will Oxenham, and some very experienced/steady hands behind the scissors/cut-throat razor, it has.
The interior is a juxtaposition of clean, white barbershop frontage complete with retro, spinny chairs and combined with an industrial warehouse-style sliding door which leads you into the large, tall and dark-green walled bar. The staff know what they're talking about, the place is large and the menu is appealing.
There's no real food; just olives, meat and cheese, but the Barber Shop isn't trying to be a restaurant. This is a bar; and with the awfully English-sounding and refreshing Fleet St cocktail of gin, chartreuse, pineapple, bitters and lemon ($17), or the signature tequila, citrus and tangelo cordial aka Tangelo Gimlet ($17), it's off to a good start. That is until you turn to the back and see the 24-strong gin selection and too-many-I-can't-be-arsed-to-count array of other spirits, liqueurs and aperitifs, do you realise this place isn't afraid to sprint.
Of course, the aforementioned hair services do give it an edge. After all, the hot towel shave is an absolute winner of an idea for the suit-heavy area and there's enough talent for more than just a short back and sides. Sadly for those not on a financier's wage, $50 for a haircut might be pushing it slightly. But then again, there is a 10% discount for students and OAPs so at least they're trying.
While this isn't the first venue to offer a beverage with a haircut (Cleveland's, anyone?), it is the first salon that let's you wait with a negroni rather than a weak cup of tea and a gossip rag. Definitely worth a visit for all of its services, the Barber Shop is a cut above.