Crows Nest Barbershop
Crows 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.
After 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.
The 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.
"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.
"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."
And 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.
"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."
At 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