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Best Of Chicago

Classic Chicago Barbershops

March 30, 2011 7:00 AM

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Esquire Barber Shop

(credit: esquirebarberchicago.com)

When it comes to haircuts, some guys prefer going to a salon for styling, and all the bells, whistles and high-end hair products that go with it. Other guys prefer a simple, straight-up old school barbershop. For the former, Chicago has plenty of options. For the latter, thankfully, Chicago has a lot to choose from as well. Some shops have been around for decades, some are relatively new, and many do offer services beyond traditional haircuts, including hot lather shaves, manicures, shoe shines and vibrating shoulder massages. All of them generally offer a dependable haircut in a friendly environment at a good value. For guys who haven’t yet found their go-to haircut spot, here’s a selection of some classic Chicago barbershops to consider.

Belmont Barbershop

2328 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL

Belmont Barbershop qualifies as a modern classic. It’s only been open for six years, but the staff is firmly committed to delivering the no-frills, quality barbershop experience. They cut men’s hair and shave their faces, and they do it well. And they’ve got a lot of really cool stuff on the walls, including a giant swordfish.

Civic Opera Barber Salon

(credit: civicoperabarbersalon.com)

Civic Opera Barber Salon

20 N. Wacker Dr., Suite 1549
Chicago, IL

The 15th floor of the Civic Opera building’s office tower looks like most office floors, except for the barber pole outside suite 1549. No, it’s not The Barber of Seville, it’s the Civic Opera Barber Salon, and they’ve been serving up old school haircuts since 1973. It’s a hidden gem in an architectural jewel.

Esquire Barber Shop

(credit: esquirebarberchicago.com)

Esquire Barber Shop

1511 W. Foster Ave.
Chicago, IL

Andersonvillians in search of a classic cut need not look further than the Esquire. They’ve been open since 1975, and a traditional clipper treatment is just $15. Kick in another $2 for a precision haircut, hot lather neck shave and hot towel. The proprietor’s dog, Nyla, is there to keep you company while you wait.

Father Son

(credit: fatherandsonbarbershop.com)

Father and Son Barber Shop

5806 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL

Father and Son has been in business for over 40 years, and now operates in a spruced-up, newer location in Edgewater. These days it’s primarily the sons doing the haircuts, and the familial, sports-bar vibe means the guy-friendly atmosphere is always intact.

Frank’s Barber Shop

56 W. Van Buren St.
Chicago, IL

Frank’s hasn’t changed much over the decades. It’s like getting your haircut in a barbershop museum, with bulky leather chairs, large ceramic sinks and individual barber cash registers (Frank’s is still cash only). The shop is well regarded, with a loyal following among financial district dwellers.

Truefitt Hill

(credit: truefittandhill.com)

Truefitt & Hill

900 N. Michigan Ave., Level 6
Chicago, IL

So it may be part of a small chain of shops, and the location may be a big, slick mall in the heart of a glitzy shopping zone, but Truefitt & Hill is the real deal. While the Chicago location has been operating for over 20 years, that’s a mere blip on the timeline compared to the original T & H, which opened over 200 years ago in London. Their master barbers have groomed royalty and local executives alike, and while it’s a pricey outing it is a recommended occasional indulgence.

Wrigley Building Barber Shop

410 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 376
Chicago, IL

If you’re on North Michigan Avenue and need a trim, it may seem like a fancy salon is the only option. But after a stroll down to the awesome, classic Wrigley Building, you’ll find Joe Gambino at his small shop on the second floor waiting to deliver a precision cut. He’s been cutting hair at the shop for over 20 years, and always at a very reasonable price.

Greg Wahl is a Chicagoan, a freelancer, a grad student, and a seeker of all things awesome & interesting throughout the city and beyond.

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