Hastings Barber Shop (Cabbagetown)
"There's something very authentic about Cabbagetown," says Karolina Conroy, owner and chief barber at Hastings. "As one of the oldest Toronto neighbourhoods, it has a lot of soul. Cabbagetown is more of a wild card [than Leslieville]. You never know who is going to walk through the door. It's fun."
Compared to the original shop, the new space has plenty of space. Enough space, in fact, that there's a pool table in the back. (I believe that's a first for a Toronto barber shop .)
With three barber chairs and a washing station with the custom "Hastings" backsplash, the new shop is all about the details. All of the barber stations are made from reclaimed barn wood against the exposed brick. The reception desk is a classic roll-top that a librarian from the '60s would have fought for. There's a collection of vintage ads and photos in mismatched frames above a church pew.
The deer head, "all are welcome" attitude, and pricing (a haircut is $26, beard trim is $7, straight razor shave is $30 and a cut and shave is $50) carry over from the original shop, too.
Hastings now also boasts a line of its own pomade and paste ($20), which is nestled beside the customary selection of Layrite. Both the paste and pomade are homemade by Conroy, who "mastered" the consummate texture and consistency. And smell.
"I was raised in a Polish house of 'homemade' rather than 'store bought,' so I always try to make things myself before purchasing," says Conroy. "I believe that everything you put on your body shouldn't have harmful ingredients. I started playing around with designing the perfect paste and pomade as a barber who works with hair every day."
With the two locations, Hastings now has expanded its barber roster to seven - and eclectic is one word you might use to describe the gaggle of hair professionals.
"Our barbers include a long haired hippie, the finest of Dublin's barbers, Australia's shave master, a beautiful wolf woman, an Italian published author and professor, a Filipino acrobat, and it's all run by a crazy Polish lady."
Writing and photography by Ryan Bolton .