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Onyx Barbers is one of Toronto's favourite barber shops for fades, line-ups, and fresh cuts.
Equipped with flat screen TVs, a spacious waiting area, a community pop-up space, and parking, the Onyx brand has come a long way since it first launched in 2002.
What started as a single chair in a basement flea market across from the Eaton Centre has expanded into a modern, 2,9000-square-foot, 16-chair operation across from St. James Park.The roster of barbers might be bigger now, and Onyx's black-and-white checkered floor look has been replaced by a sleeker all-black situation, but the vibe here is pretty much the same as it’s always been.
Expect to see people of all ages, genders, and hair textures to roll through the place. Onyx is still heavily involved in community work with their programs like Groom The City and free cuts for kids on weekends.
Tuesdays are still their busiest day, with their $7 cuts deal. On any other given day, adult cuts are ($26.55), tapers are $17.70, and full line-ups are $14.60. Go for an old school hot towel treatment for $20.And as always, barbers shout about sports to one another over the din of blow dryers and clippers. While I'm there, someone insists that Houston is going to the finals, followed by a chorus of "no's"—classic barbershop parley.
Big Daddy Kane shape ups may not be the look du-jour, but more modern variations of it are, as are the classic bald fades.
Still, owners Kirk Tullock and Lowell Stephens are definitely in new territory: for years, Onyx was known as the barber shop located around bustling Eaton Centre, an era that included a seven-year stint on Victoria Street, where Amy Winehouse once did an interview before her beehive 'do days.
The shop eventually moved back into the windowless basement at 219 Yonge Street where it all began—this time taking over the full 3,000 square-feet—and continued there for another nine years until they had to move again.
They had to go shop-less for nearly a year before finding this old chiropractor's office; by all means an upgrade, since real windows mean barbers are getting the most vitamin D they have in years.
Now open is a community pop-up space for small businesses to rent for affordable, short periods at a time. There's also a section for budding apprentices to train, and a VIP salon for those seeking a more exclusive barber experience.
A kids' section in the back means toddlers can busy themselves with Baby Shark while the parents get cleaned up.
A staple Toronto barber shop, Onyx is in a new era of its storeyed legacy in the city. Prices aren't growing with it, though, which is more than enough reason to make this spot a haircare go-to.