The Best Barber Shops in Toronto
The best barber shops in Toronto have evolved a bit since the last time we made a list. Two years ago, this roundup consited of a dozen shops that mixed old school barbershops boasting years, even decades of experience with a handful of new shops, some of which strove mightily to echo the talc and Barbisol atmosphere of their elders.
This year's list excludes almost every one of these old school shops (think Aristotelis and Gus the Other Barber, for instance) in favour of the new crop of younger barbers, a few of which skew urban or even edge close to the high end salon. For a business that, a few years ago, looked like it might be going the way of the TV repairman, this is a healthy trend.
Here are the best barber shops in Toronto.
This Kensington shop has prospered, specializing in finicky retro cuts and careful beard and moustache maintenance in its crowded basement location. It's also been a training ground for new barbers, charging full and apprentice rates depending on the experience of the man or woman with the scissors. More »
Blood and Bandages - Think twice and you'll have walked from one end of this tiny shop to the other. Packed to the ceiling with masculine bric-a-brac, Roger Janes' shop is an old school barbershop distilled and miniaturized. It's hard not to get to know someone in a space this compact, so the vibe at B&B is relaxed and jovial. More »
A great view over Trinity-Bellwoods Park and a patio - how many barbershops can boast that? On a nice day, Garrison's is a hangout and a barbershop, with staff who take care with the fine points of grooming especially if you have sensitive skin that turns red at the sight of a straight razor. More »
Beejay Diona and his partner set up their barber pole in the gray area between Koreatown and Bloordale just over two years ago, with a retro-themed shop with plenty of room for more chairs. They immediately pulled in a crowd of local regulars, so it would be wise to find a seat well before closing time, especially on the weekend. More »
A cut at this downtown barbershop can be a boisterous experience, with a lot of sarcastic smack talk between the cutters egged on by regulars. Specializing in black men’s hair, their barbers do the whole – and increasingly complex – menu of fades and hair sculpts. Their blog is also worth checking out – a candid and often hilarious running commentary on subjects from dressing well to “Is Monogamy Possible?” More »
Basically Blood & Bandages East - B&B's Roger Janes is a co-owner - this Leslieville barbershop has deer heads mounted on the wall, vintage Playboys to read while you wait, and an easy command of both traditional haircutting and more contemporary looks. More »
This big, bright shop just opened two doors away from owner Jason Culala's old shop, Mankind, and on the same stretch of Richmond as Aristotelis, one of the city's pillar's of old-fashioned barbering. That takes some confidence, and Culala has it in spades, offering spa-quality services for men who regard a cut and a shave as both grooming and therapy - check out their "Hangover Treatment." More »
In a tiny storefront in the old East End, this shop cuts hair for both men and women in an updates space to a beat-heavy soundtrack. Owner Nigel is in fact British-born and trained, and prices are reasonable, with a regular men's cut for just $16, kids for $14 and seniors for $11 - a nice nod to the old east enders living nearby. More »
Located in the oldest continuously-run barbershop space in the city, this clubby, baroque barbers next to the downtown bus terminal got a bit more notoriety than it wanted a year or so ago when they were hauled in front of a human rights tribunal for refusing to cut a woman's hair. It didn't hurt business, since they have a second shop just around the corner on Dundas to deal with the overflow. More »
Located at the back of a Queen West boutique, this urban-oriented shop is geared to the skater and hip-hop crowd, and offers cuts but no shaves, starting at ten bucks for a line up, $25 for a cut and full services for $40. A great place to get into a passionate discussion about your favourite new album. More »
North on Bathurst in Little Israel, Anthony Del Maestro's shop opened to a great response from the local Orthodox community, who couldn't be more particular about what they want in a cut. Del Maestro glories in that sort of precision, even going the extra mile to deal with ear and nose hair, and offering one of the most painstaking straight razor shaves in the city. More »
Sharing space with a tattoo parlour on the Danforth, Justin Picones' single-chair shop is urban but calm, and a great showcase for Picones' clean, neat barbering skills. Self-taught but very experienced, Picones set up two years ago after bouncing around a couple of other east end shops, and he values his local regulars, which have included rapper Drake. More »