Growing up, I was told that to be a modern man there were four people you needed in your life: a barber, a butcher, a banker and a tailor. These four lifestyle consiglieri’s will keep you looking sharp, well fed and financially stable.
For me, it all starts with getting the right hair cut. Your hair should fit your personality, your barber should be someone you can trust and the barber shop needs to be a place you feel comfortable. There is definitely a sense of community when it comes to the barber shop – it’s the spot for a man to talk about what’s going on in in the city, their lives and anything else they’re passionate about.
If you’ve yet to find your go-to barber, just remind yourself that it may take a few cuts to find out who that person and where that is. My list of the top barber shops in Toronto and the GTA is a great place to start looking.
You’ve probably heard of this Yonge & Dundas staple. Located just south of Shuter St., this barber shop is well known for creating some of Toronto’s top cuts. While some may lament on the waiting time, each barber takes their time to ensure you’ve got the right cut. Prices are fairly reasonable with cuts starting at $20.
Owned by 1LoveTO founder Bryan Brock and master barber Brian Cafua, The Fitting Room has quickly become one of Toronto’s premier barbershops. Offering a complete lifestyle experience, the shop sells a variety of men’s clothing and accessories, and in Brian Cafua’s words, “The Fitting Room is a shop where you instantly feel like you’re part of the family. It feels like you’re chilling at home with your boys while getting a cut, watching the game, and talking smack.”
Originally located above streetwear staple Get Fresh Company on Queen West, Proper Barbers now offers cuts at their own location in Kensington Market. I had the pleasure of getting a lineup when these guys were located inside Get Fresh (then Proper Reserve,) and was seriously impressed. If possible, try and get a cut from Chico the Barber. Prices start at $30.
As the name suggests, The Axe and Hatchet Grooming Club is for the rugged urban man. This place is always popping on the weekend, offering high-end services for all you urban lumberjacks. They’ve got a great space as well, with lots of carved wood and rustic metals, creating a cool modern industrial feel. With cuts starting at $45, Axe and Hatchet may be a little rich for your blood, but it’s definitely worth it. Just check out their reviews and see for yourself.
Located in Little Italy, Glass Box is a new addition to the Toronto barber shop scene. What I like about this place is how clean and crisp everything is. The name, Glass Box, is a reference to the space’s open design and big glass windows. Word on the street is, this place is definitely a must try if you’re looking for a new barber. Cuts start at $30.
Located in Kensington Market, this is probably the hippest spot on the list. Crows Nest Barber Shop has been named one of Toronto’s top barbershops by a variety of Toronto publications. Just walking into their space, you know it’s a throwback to the old barbershop days. These well-moustached barbers were some of the very first to specialize in retro haircuts in the 6ix – pompadours are still in, right?
Every barbershop has something a little different to offer and at Miami Fades Yorkville, it’s Hair Tattoos. What are hair tattoos? Well, the simple answer is: they’re precision designs shaved into your hair. I remember as a kid I always wanted a basketball ball with the Nike swoosh, but my barber didn’t have the technical know how to pull it off – that’s not the case for these guys. You can tell the shop owner has taken his time to curate the perfect south beach Miami vibe and this place hooks it up real proper. Their Yorkville location is currently being renovated, but they have two other locations located in Woodbridge and Scarborough. Cuts start at $35.
Garrison’s has a classic, yet modern barbershop vibe. The shop is right around the corner from Trinity Bellwoods Park on Niagara. Less hustle and bustle, more of a clubhouse for the gentleman. Complete with old school barber chairs, white tile and worn hardwood, Garrison’s is nostalgic of simpler times. Enjoy a scotch while flipping through vintage playboys, kick your feet up and enjoy a hot shave with a straight razor. If you want that classic barbershop feel, this spot is definitely for you. Cuts start at $35.
Gus the other barber has been around forever – the shop celebrated it’s 55th anniversary last year. The Greek barber has cut hundreds of people’s hair including Ed Mirvish. The wall’s covered in sports memorabilia of Gus’s favourite soccer club and Gus accredits his success to simply being a people person. Cuts range from $12-$18.
Just on the outskirts of the city of Pickering, my boy Jude and co. hooks it up at Shear Brilliance. With multiple pricing levels and exceptional barbering skills, the guys at Shear Brilliance will perfectly create what you’re looking for. Cuts start at $30 but if you’re feeling like a boss, check out their Executive Grooming where you can enjoy a shampoo, hot towel and a straight razor shave along with your cut.
What barber shops in Toronto would you add to this list?
Featured image via @Garrisonbarbershop