Men’s grooming has come a long way from the classic barbershop, with many offering cocktails, face massages and “hand detailing”. Here’s a roundup of Chicago’s best spots – from old school shops to luxe oasis – for dapper gents.
A majority of Chicago’s male population is relatively clean cut and professionally employed, so it’s not hard to find a barber shop. But the list gets shorter when top-of-the-line, personalized and unique services are concerned. Let’s imagine your two-day trip to Chicago gets extended by a few days (or more) and you need a cut or a shave. Where to go? From old-fashioned barbershops to places pampering patrons with rare spirits, we’ve curated a few for you. These are some of the very best barbershops throughout the city.
Downtown’s Financial District is home to several gems where a guy can get a quick trim without frills. By contrast, this den of male grooming feels more like a private men’s club the moment one steps through the door. 316 Club offers a number of welcoming distractions during wait time: cushy leather sofas, vintage curios, a pool table and flat screens tuned in to sports, news or politics. There’s even a fireplace and complimentary cocktails, which add to the ambiance. Prices range from $15 for a “neck clean” (to trim stray hairs on the neckline) to $59 for a haircut or head shave. The most comprehensive package deal is the “pit boss” for $99. That includes a massaging shampoo, haircut/style, “hand detail” or manicure, perfect shave and shoeshine. We hear this is a favourite hideaway for Chicago Blackhawks players.
175 W. Jackson Blvd., 312-880-0316
The Belmont Barbershop
This popular Roscoe Village shop is a straight-up, non-fussy operation that only accepts cash. The Belmont Barbershop is about a 15- to 20- minute drive from downtown, and it’s worth the hike. Its esteemed clientele, including some of Chicago’s top chefs and bartenders, caught the eye of Details magazine, who anointed it as one of the top 16 barber shops in the country. Services are simple and are by licensed barbers: $26 for clean cuts and $40 for close shaves.
2328 W. Belmont Ave., 773-296-0894
iMALE Salon for Men
Based in River North, one of the best aspects of iMALE is that it’s open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. That’s perfect for those who find themselves desperately in need of a fresh trim for the start of the week. The décor is posh and an attractive, all-female staff provides services from a $15 beard/moustache trim to the signature haircut (for $48, clients also get mini face massage and paraffin hand dip). A little grey never hurts anyone, but the menu includes complete grey coverage and grey “camouflage” for those looking for salt-and-pepper highlights.
401 W. Ontario St., 312-943-6253
State Street Barbers
Also open seven days a week, State Street Barbers boasts four locations in the surrounding downtown area in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Old Town and River North. Though it’s only been around since 2003, it creates an old-fashioned atmosphere with vintage barber chairs that feel like thrones. Clients will also encounter a fleet of licensed barbers who can whip up classic haircuts as well as more contemporary ones. Need a straight-edge neck shave? You’re in steady hands: The gentlemen here practice on balloons to hone their art to perfection. A signature haircut (scalp shampoo and condition, hot face towel, straight-razor neck shave, mini neck and shoulder massage) is priced $30 to $38, and that includes coffee and tea for guests.
Various downtown locations, 312-787-7722
Van Buren Gentlemen’s Salon
The executive who travels to Chicago on a regular basis might appreciate an annual membership here, which gives you unlimited haircuts, hand details and shoeshines. This luxury shop is based in the heart of downtown, and membership packages range from $575 to $1,150. The latter is the ultimate barber membership and consists of unlimited classic shaves, haircuts, hand details and shoeshines. Regular barber service ranges from $15 for a neck trim to $47 for a haircut. Guests are treated to complimentary craft beer.
235 W. Van Buren St. C-3, 312-753-5363