Taking its name from the Cockney rhyming slang for Hair, Barnet Fair in St Stephen's Church, Bree Street, Cape Town is the new place for the New Gent.
Owner Steven Pitt and a business partner from Scar Hair have created Barnet Fair as a space that has that retro barber shop vibe meets Apple Mac. Pitt and his former wife were renowned for their personal style and exclusive wedding venue in Franschhoek. Barnet Fair seems to be his new beginning.
So why a barber shop? Pitt believes the New Gent - as different from the prissy metrosexual who spends his day getting his nails done before having a back, sack and crack wax, wants to be neat and well groomed, but not smooth all over. Pitt seems to approve of calluses. Clark Gable is the look and style he supports.
Not that he objects to men being smooth - far from it. He offers hot towel shaves that begin with a shiny cut-throat clean before a double shave with a Gillette Mach Three blade. The result is the cleanest, most comfortable shave I have ever had. And, as someone who shaves with and then against the grain daily, it was the first time another person commented on me for appearing clean shaven.
A whiz with the cut-throat
Bryan who cuts hair and wields the cut-throat has worked at salons all over the Cape but Pitt is planning to also introduce a female stylist to offer men a little more. While Johnny Cash sings Ring of Fire in the background, I ask Pitt if the lady stylist will offer manicures and pedicures.
Men having manicures is obviously a big issue with him as he derisively dismisses the option of them ever being offered at Barnet Fair. It may be that that as someone who bites his nails, such a service is anathema but I don't agree with his sissy subtext, after all, in every mafia movie the Don is getting his back rubbed and nails buffed - and let's face it, you'd mock him at your peril.
I really liked the Edwin Jagger products that he used during the shave and especially the Sea Buckthorn aftershave lotion. In keeping with Barber Shop tradition they don't take appointments. There is a good selection of décor and design-orientated magazines, Beers from &Union and when Steven is there you'll find him engaging.
Prices are a little above average for the CBD but I'd happily return as a paying customer. Read some of his grooming tips at aficionado.co.za/makethman/ and for more information go to www.BarnetFair.co.za or call +27 (0) 21 424 1302.
By: Brian Berkman: contributing editor, travel
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