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Fashion Stores

Crows Nest Barbershop

Posted by Ryan Bolton / Posted on November 11, 2013

Crows Nest BarberCrows Nest isn't just a throwback barbershop or an aesthetic steeped in tattoos, motorcycles, quality fades and memories of days long past. Founded in 2010 by Jon Roth in a compact basement in Kensington, Crows Nest has built a vast and loyal clientele over the years. Just walk in on any weekend to witness the overflow of young gents leafing through men's magazines and shooting the shit, waiting up to a couple of hours to get a fade or straight razor shave.

Crows Nest BarberAfter leaving professional snowboarding, Roth started apprenticing at Blood & Bandages under Roger Janes, who is also part-owner of Hastings Barber Shop in the east end. After being there for a couple years, Roth decided to move on and open his own shop. Crows Nest was born.

Crows Nest TorontoThe pinnacle of Crows Nest's success is its natural charm and raw talent. Some might harp on about pretension or hipsters or some otherwise asinine drivel. But they're wrong. At the crux of Crows Nest is a qualified team of seven full-time barbers and three apprentices who care about the trade and offer a premium service on the cheap.

Crows Nest Barber"I think the core of Crows Nest is that we really love cutting hair. We're all super passionate about the trade," says Roth. "We want to have people leaving feeling great and looking great."

It's a come-as-you-are approach. It's true from the found decor splashed across the walls to the non-stop banter to the dedication to quality cuts and shaves. As for the Gone Fishing signs, the skateboards, the religious insignia and the tattoo flash, it's just part of the natural aesthetic.

Crows Nest"There's a little bit of everybody hanging on the walls," says Jimmy Decaire, one of the shop's full-time barbers. "Whatever we found and liked, we slapped it on the walls and Jon let it happen really naturally. And I think that's part of the charm."

Crows Nest BarberAnd soon Crows Nest will be uprooting and moving. In early December, they're moving down the street to 2 Kensington Ave. to more spacious digs. The new space will be able to accommodate seven barber chairs and a waiting area.

Crows Nest Toronto"We just want to keep doing what we do," Roth continues. "Getting better, cutting more, always trying to evolve without compromising who we are and our approach or aesthetic and dedication to quality."

Crows Nest BarberAt Crows Nest Barbershop, a cut will run you $25, a straight razor shave $35 and a cut and shave $55. Crows Nest is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Walk-ins are available on Saturday-Tuesday, but you can book online if you don't want to wait in line.

Writing and photos by Ryan Bolton



garn / February 15, 2012 at 09:47 pm
i tried to get a shave there - just a fuckin' shave....and they told me on wed. that they may be able to fit me in friday....


Johnathan / February 16, 2012 at 04:58 pm
Theres a reason why they have a website and online booking as well because they are one. Good at what they do. Two they are mad busy. And three it's worth the wait, just recently started getting cuts there and the guys there are cool.
Matthew / February 25, 2012 at 03:16 pm
Best shop in Toronto hands down! Next time, I will just wait the two days. Better than getting a bullshit haircut that takes months to grow out. NEVER GO TO HO PLACE OR HOUSE OF LORDS OR TERMINAL BARBERSHOP! The guys at Terminal are nice but they can only manage one type/style of cut.
Semaon / September 2, 2012 at 11:13 am
Do youknow if they do tapers and line ups
Moth Mother Motherer / October 12, 2012 at 09:57 pm
I went there this morning for a haircut and it was good. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Five billion stars all around.
ju / November 29, 2012 at 01:10 am
does anyone know if they do quiffs????also does anyone noe how much they charge to a 17 years old and was wonderin if its cheaper if ur younger
Flex / February 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm
Online booking system these guys have is MAGIC. Got a great cut from Jimmy, followed by many compliments by friends and coworkers. I usually spend close to three times the price at a salon (where the wife goes) but now I have found a great place for guys that I can call my own. Nice friendly atmosphere, fun and professional staff. Left looking and smelling great. Definitely recommended.
jameson / March 2, 2013 at 12:34 am
The thing about this place compared to other barbershops is that they knew how to do it tight on the sides and high on top and not make your head look like a cardboard box. thats not easy. most barbers won't leave it long on top because they don't know how to do it. they'll do it short all round.

awesome place. i can understand if its not everyone's style, but i don't think they care and thats perfect to me
John / April 18, 2013 at 08:03 pm
They cut hair good. Good english.
But the only people who go there have the most free time in the world. I mean, 3 WEEKS wait before I can get a cut? You gotta be kidding. This is not Los Angeles, or New York. This is Toronto, for goodness sakes. Wow.
And if you walk in (on their walk-in days), you gotta wait about an hour. Guess what? You're not allowed to leave for that one hour. Are we in North Korea? Lol
Teej / October 23, 2013 at 04:48 pm
Love Crow's Nest!
$25 for a cut ($15 with an apprentice). Online booking is super easy but yes, you DO need to plan ahead. They take walk-ins but they're busy for a reason...! Seriously, I always walk out of there feeling like a million bucks.
AT / October 25, 2013 at 05:36 pm
Stop complaining about the wait times. It is not like they are a nightclub and intentionally leave a lineup to look busy. They are always swamped. It is not their fault they are good at what they do and are therefore busy. Book an appointment, or show up first thing in the morning for a walk in. And you are absolutely allowed to leave, as it is often considerably more than an hour.
Glen / November 2, 2013 at 11:50 am
I have recently started going to the Crows Nest, yes they do tapers very well. If you are having a problem getting in, do what I do and make an online reservation. As someone who never really had a barber before it is great to have a place to go that knows what they are doing. Best shop in the city bar none.
C / November 11, 2013 at 10:53 am
I used to go here and got a wonderful hair cut by Chris. Then they fired him. I went back a couple times but it just wasn't the same.
Mike / November 11, 2013 at 11:24 am
I am going to preface this comment with this: I was a loyal Crows Nest customer and stuck with the shop after the departure of Chris, who was my regular barber. Within the past couple of months, I have noticed a distinct shift in the culture of the shop. It might be just me, but it feels like the barbers are all part of an inside joke that the customers aren't privy to. On two separate occasions with two different barbers, I got the sense that I was somehow inconveniencing them by being their customer. The cuts are top quality but the new atmosphere of the shop leaves something to be desired
John / November 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm
This is a very good barber shop, but it is very difficult to get in there when you have a free moment. You have to book days in advance, which means your day revolves around their availability. Hopefully this move will help fix this issue. Good luck guys!
You are precious / November 11, 2013 at 02:15 pm
By the pictures Alone one can see the types of clientele they cater too.

#2 sides and back. As tight as my denim.
Felicity / November 12, 2013 at 10:56 am
Is it that they only know how to do one haircut or that everyone wants the same haircut?
nestpas replying to a comment from Felicity / November 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm
The side shave with the Flock of Seagulls side swoop, is all anyone gets these days.

Seems like these guys have "mastered" the art of the Queen West hair cut.
Todd replying to a comment from Mike / November 12, 2013 at 02:58 pm
The joke is $60 for a cut and shave, but trust me, the customers are in on it.

How would they ever be spotted in a regular $7 haircut?
Guy / November 14, 2013 at 08:07 am
And here come the random detractors who are so incredibly concerned with what everyone else is doing with their hair, or their time or anything else. How do you have time to live your own life when you're so concerned about someone else's?

As for Crow's Nest, it's a great place, and congrats on them moving to a bigger space. Running a successful business is no easy feat. They're doing it while training apprentices, letting people earn skills that will make them successful as well. If you want to come here and talk down about that, that's despicable.
Jaime / November 15, 2013 at 05:42 pm
Used to get my hair cut here by Chris until he left. Crowsnest was pretty cool, but it's gotten a bit vibey and has a sour attitude lately. Love the concept but i think they've lost their way.

Chris opened up a spot called Town Barber if you're looking for a different experience in a good ol' barber shop.
Alex / December 6, 2013 at 01:38 pm
Do NOT go
really poor customer service
Nev / January 29, 2014 at 03:18 pm
WORST customer experience i have had in the past 5 years! I initially came in during walk in time where i was told it would be an hour and half until i could get my 30 dollar haircut. so i decided to book an appointment for the next day over the phone. I came for my scheduled appointment the next day and i was told that my appointment didn't exist. I did not receive one apology. Just dont go, unless you want to be treated like absolute scum. Might as well be called the FUCKNEST!!
Owen / February 3, 2014 at 02:40 pm
Crows Nest is just sooooooo achingly cool it hurts. Yes they take reservations, but if you do walk-in expect to wait at least an hour and usually a lot more. Take that opportunity to sit back and admire the witty banter, the x-rated language, the total ignorance of the barbers to the "walk-ins" while they eat their food, go outside for smokes, laugh at their utterly hilarious in-jokes (they're so comedic you wonder why they are just barbers), sit in their chairs and spin around waiting for the next appointment to come in, which is late, maybe 15 minutes late in which time they could have, you know, cut some hair from the walk-ins.
Then, when you just can't take any more hilarity, get up and walk to another barber's like Terminus where the barbers are old school, get on with their jobs, are courteous, professional and everything that those at Crows Nest can only aspire to.
Mike / February 26, 2014 at 04:07 pm
Crows Nest is hands down the best barber shop going - LOL @ all the walk in haters, what do you expect? It's a busy spot because they're good and if you can't bother planning out days in advance getting a haircut then take a trip to magic cuts and pay the 10$...let's be honest I doubt anyone's going to give a fuck about your haircut anyways, so maybe you should just become a regular walk in at magic cuts
JB replying to a comment from Mike / May 3, 2014 at 02:33 pm
Mike - couldn't agree more - I stuck around even after Chris "left" , and lately, it's all changed. Especially after their move down the street. I booked a cut three weeks in advance (seriously, that's insane for a MENS haircut) - day of, TTC screwed me, ended up being late to my appointment. Even called ahead to warn them / apologize. No dice. Couldn't squeeze me in - next available booking -- two weeks away. Waiting 5 weeks for a haircut after being a loyal (re: YEARS) customer seems crazy. The fact they couldn't even try to make it work really pissed me off.
Matt H / January 26, 2015 at 10:14 pm
Everyone bitching about the wait times should go to their nearest barbershop and get a discount cut with no wait time and STFU about it. Even those who apprentice at this shop are light years beyond you'll get anywhere else. Everyone knows the Crow's Nest for a reason. It's because they give great cuts/fades/tapers/shaves/styles. If they didn't, you wouldn't have to wait so long. So while we are we VERY SORRY you have to wait to get a booking, why don't you just commit yourself to a regular haircut/shave every couple of weeks like all the rest of us at the big kids table do? Fucking blogto trolls.
Matt H / January 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm
ps I work at a shop very close by and i STILL schedule my haircuts 2 weeks in advance because I'm not an internet troll with bad hair.
MR. Nobody / March 22, 2015 at 09:24 pm
Every time i've been there I felt a sense of "disdain" towards me. On the other hand I really like their style and pomade products... Oh well.
JeanF / April 16, 2015 at 08:24 am
Quick and easy. Tristan was great. Not chitchat and use the trimmer with purpose. Will be back.
jp / August 22, 2015 at 04:16 pm
not happy with my service the gentleman who cut my hair has no idea what hes doing the buzzer he cut my hair with was dull and was pulling hair out of my head. He had my back to the mirror and had me facing the wall so I couldnt see what he was doing. He didnt listen to anything I said I wanted done to my hair I asked for a little off the top and he chopped it down to nothing my hair looks like the traditional army style box head not to mention the hair buzzed on one side of my head is longer then the other how that happens i have no idea cause the buzzer cuts one length all the way around . extremely not happy with service not worth my $20 bucks will never go back there not to mention will never refer anyone ever to your place thx

The service wasnt bad people were polite besides having to wait an hour and a half for them to have their lunch .
jp / August 22, 2015 at 04:17 pm
this barber shop is possibly the worst in toronto
jp / August 22, 2015 at 04:18 pm
stick to your sailor jerry tattoos

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