Toronto barber shop is also a semi-secret venue for intimate concerts
Sometimes a million dollar idea isn't only about the money. Rod, Gun & Barbers has been a barber shop in the Junction since 2014, known for its haircuts, wet shaves, cigars, beer, booze and also a live music series on weekends.
In an effort to create the coolest place ever, owner Jeff James connected with an actual rod and gun club, combining his love of hunting and fishing with a barber shop and licensed bar.
A brilliantly directed, highly stylized promotional clip from a few years back acts like a Hollywood movie script based on a true story.
While there are typically no live performances during the haircuts, and appointments are always encouraged, there is no denying the beauty of a barber shop where you're greeted with a pint.
The lockdowns almost destroyed this gem, and a huge casualty was the Parkdale location which grew out of the original Junction spot, still standing at 2877 Dundas Street West.
"It will take years to recover from this financially," says James. "I lost a lot of money and I don't have the personal wealth to carry it. COVID [also] destroyed service industry jobs. I had about half the staff pack up and leave, to Quebec, Alberta, Peterborough."
James says the loss of the barbers meant he couldn't find enough staff for the two locations anyway.
Now that restrictions have been lifted they're back to programming live music in the Junction location.
It was something the barber shop actually started doing back in 2014. They programmed live music on weekends and found they knew lots of musicians who wanted to perform.
These days, musicians that play at Rod, Gun & Barbers include those spanning genres from country blues to hard rock.
James expects to keep the concerts going for the foreseeable future. There's no cover charge but a pitcher is passed around for tips. The capacity of the shop is only 29 people.
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