Nestled down Windmill Street in Fitzrovia is a barber shop intent on bringing new-school barbering to the men of London for the 21st century. Sharps Barber and Shop opened back in 2002 on Charlotte Street and have recently relocated their flagship store around the corner. The aim is to give guys a place where they can hang out and fix themselves up. A place that is a den for men to chill out, have a beer and leave looking sharper than the name of the shop itself.
When I first stepped into Sharps I was surprised at how big the place was (a ping pong table set up in the front with more than enough room to play). I was greeted cheerfully by Jacob (my barber for the afternoon) and shown around the space. He told me how the space out front was in fact going to become a New York style pop-up cafe/deli which is ideal as us guys do love our grub! As well as providing grooming services, Sharps have their own range of grooming products for men who believe that “maintenance matters”.
It is definitely a lad’s space here and when you walk in it feels instantly chummy and relaxed. “Grooming” sounds a bit stuffy so they prefer to call it “Prep”. The interior is masculine and traditional with a nod to the past. However, that is not to say it’s old-fashioned. In fact, it is a balanced mix of both classic and contemporary. As well as 1950s barber chairs and sleek wood and tile panelling, there are TVs anchored to the walls and tasteful furniture throughout. Not to mention you can even treat yourself to a beer if you like, on the house of course.
I sat down in one of the vintage chairs and had the pleasure of meeting Dom, who would be cutting my hair. Admittedly my haircut was nothing complicated – I always go grade 1 – but it is a cut that I know so well that I feel I am an expert when it comes to critiquing the final result. I must say Dom did a great job. I’ve experienced haircuts before that felt more like they were try to remove the skin from my skull and also had slap-dash cuts that left me looking like a malting brush. Dom, however, was gentle and thorough and once he was finished I was a very happy chap.
I then jumped over to the barber chair and prepared myself for my first ever professional shave. Throughout the shave, Jacob was very professional and talked me through all the various stages (there were quite a few which assured me that this was going to be a high-quality shave) such as the hot towels, the eucalyptus balm used to relax the hair and sooth the skin. I was expecting to feel tugs against the beard hairs and see blood but none of my fears were realised. If there is something all men should experience in their life, a professional shave is definitely one of them.
The brand itself has grown steadily and successfully over the past 11 years. Rory MacParkland aka Mister Sharps is the man behind this and Sharps can now be found in Topman Oxford Circus and Ben Sherman Islington, as well as Le Parker Meridian Hotel in New York. Men will immediately love this place as it is caters to every masculine trait; fuss-free, relaxed, cool and friendly. The great service I experienced and the growing success of Sharps are no doubt the indicators that Sharps Barber and Shop is becoming a household name, one that men everywhere should be familiar with. www.sharpsbarbers.com
Words by Jazzino Tamani