Hipster Barbershops: A Cool Cut is the Best Souvenir

Fresh style and local creatives at hip barbers.

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Why not come back from your next vacay with not just an iPhone full of photos but with a new look? 

You can both tap into the local hipster scene and refresh on your next trip thanks to the explosion in indie barbershops where tattoos, beer and a curated playlist make trimming your baby doll bangs a little cooler.

I delved into the hipster barber shop phenomenon with a visit to the ur-cool Rudy’s Barbershop. That iconic barber brand recently opened a new location in Atlanta’s mixed use shopping and entertainment locus Ponce City Market. Rudy’s youthful, hip C.E.O.-Brendon Lynch calls Rudy’s a “more modern barbershop” which means getting a cut or shave comes with exposure to a wide variety of clients, “the rocker next to the banker,” as Lynch puts it.

Seattle Rudy's Barbershop

Seattle Rudy's Barbershop

Cool decor at the Seattle Rudy's Barbershop.

Photo by: C.Stephen Hurst/Rudy's Barbershop

C.Stephen Hurst/Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop, Seattle

Rudy’s currently has 27 locations across the country, from Seattle to Washington, D.C. and has cut the famous heads of no less than Macklemore and members of Pearl Jam. At Rudy’s expect a retro vibe with metal school lockers, wooden church pews and Army chic (the same guys who developed Rudy’s created the Ace Hotel chain). The cuts? Surprisingly awesome, including mine from Teddi, who may have lured me away from my fancy French stylist with her winning personality and great update to my tired long layered cut.

Capital Hill Rudy's Barbershop

Capital Hill Rudy's Barbershop

The Capital Hill outpost of the Rudy's Barbershop brand.

Photo by: C.Stephen Hurst/Rudy's Barbershop

C.Stephen Hurst/Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop, Capital Hill

Seattle Rudy's Barbershop

Seattle Rudy's Barbershop

Retro style and indie art are features of the Rudy's Barbershop brand.

Photo by: C.Stephen Hurst/Rudy's Barbershop

C.Stephen Hurst/Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop Seattle

Band Photos

Band Photos

The Rudy's Barbershop in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward features images of vintage hair bands.

Photo by: Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop

Hair band decor at Rudy's Atlanta

Vintage Barbershop Style

Vintage Barbershop Style

The Rudy's Barbershop chain features old-school retro details in their shops.

Photo by: Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop

Old-school details define Rudy's in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward shop

Rudy's Barbershop in Atlanta

Rudy's Barbershop in Atlanta

Hipster barbershop chain Rudy's opened an Atlanta outpost in 2017.

Photo by: Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop

7 chairs serve a diverse array of customers at Rudy's Barbershop Atlanta

Magazine Pages

Magazine Pages

The Rudy's Barbershop chain allows stylists to ornament their stations to express their personalities.

Photo by: Rudy's Barbershop

Rudy's Barbershop

A work station at Rudy's Atlanta

So what’s the appeal of this new-meets-old breed of barbers? For one, an unfussy, more welcoming space closer to a well-designed coffee shop than a prissy salon, with no side eye for your lack of a status bag. That accessibility extends to the clients too, who no matter what their gender identification, will feel comfortable in this 21st century barbershop, because a sense of community along with your cut has always been a feature of the barbershop experience.

Hip, retro-inspired barbershops are popping up all over the country. Check out our tip-of-the-iceberg list of some of the notable shops on our radar.

Rudy’s Barbershop, various locations

With 27 locations around the country, Rudy’s Barbershop is the original hipster barbershop since 1993, fostering a come-one-come-all attitude in its LGBT-inclusive policies and its diverse barbers. The retro ambiance with a mix of industrial and schoolroom furniture and vintage rocker images lends just the right touch of tongue-in-cheek charm.

Trap House, Atlanta

Breaking the hipster barbershop mold, Trap House is a combination social club, recording studio and car detailing stop. What can you say about a barbershop that serves food along with its ladies and men’s services? You say: go!

This Brooklyn barber offers sodas and local beer (housed in a vintage cooler, no less) while you wait and a good-deal shave and a haircut combo for $75. Beards galore and a clubhouse ambiance makes this hipster grooming destination a go-to spot for city folk in-the-know.

Fellow Barber, San Francisco + New York

With locations on both coasts, this pioneer in the barbering revival has been around since 2006 and features its own extensive, popular line of grooming products from pomade to shampoo.

A diverse group of barbers and a clean, mod space make this a high-style riff on mom and pop. A $40 cut and $15 beard trim may even register as affordable in an expensive city like New York.

Two words: free beer. With barbers whose monikers include Miky the Maggot and Raunchy Randy the Retro Rebel, this shop opened in 2011 caters to customers in thrall to the past (no women are allowed) whose deep retro vibe can suggest Gangs of New York-meets-rockabilly. This no-appointment shop draws long lines and customers who travel from around Europe for one of their 12 available signature cuts. 

Appointment only, this swank spot centered on the Turkish barbering tradition has 11 London locations and features the usual cuts and shaves but also new jack brow threading. Fancy! 

Baxter Finely, London

Paring down the barbering experience to the basics, Baxter Finley offers just two services: a cut and a shave. There is something wonderful in simplicity done right. The shop also features products to keep you looking great between services,

A cool cast of barbers and services from beard trims to kids’ cut and an old school shave with a straight razor make this a great all-purpose salon with an edge (think tattoos and taxidermy) opened in 2011.

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