The Buzz: NY’s Blind Barber Makes its West Coast Debut
Business in the front, party in the back. While that famed saying refers to the mullet — a less-than-desirable hair style — it’s perfectly apt when it comes to the Blind Barber, L.A.’s newest hipster barber shop by way of New York’s Tompkins Square.
Like the New York location, Culver City’s Blind Barber is a full-service barber shop in the front, catering to guys who crave traditional haircuts and straight-razor shaves. But behind a door that’s cleverly hidden with a line of pegs for coats, there’s a Speakeasy-style lounge hidden from the main drag of Washington Boulevard, serving up drinks and haute cuisine twists on grilled cheese sandwiches.
“The barber shop provides the great quality of service but in a man’s environment,” said Jeff Laub, co-owner of Blind Barber of the resurgence of the old-school barber shop. “Women have it in the salons and men like to talk about stuff just as much as women do.”
In New York, the Blind Barber is always busy. Since 2012, they’ve made do with just two chairs and their bench outside, and it might actually be harder to get in for a cut at the shop than it is to get into a show during Fashion Week. But in Los Angeles, the vibe is completely different. Filled with the California sunshine and boasting four chairs, the shop’s soft opening had no semblance of a crowd at all — in the front, that is.
But in the back, it’s like a scene straight out of Boardwalk Empire. The lounge is dark, sexy and crowded just about every night. And now that more and more people are hearing about the barber shop, the crowd is likely to form hours before the lounge opens its doors at 6 p.m.
“Despite being across the country, we have tons of friends and family that live here on the West Coast, so it seemed like a natural fit,” said Laub.
Creating the combination of barber shop and speakeasy wasn’t an accident. Laub and his partners Adam Kirsch and Joshua Boyd (both come from a background in nightclubs and hospitality) wanted to create a place where men could hang out — a modern-day gentleman’s club, if you will.
“I feel like talking about the one-night stand you had, cursing, sports and drinking are a bit out of place in a salon for a man,” said Laub. “I think we take great pride in making our space feel like home, like a hangout.”
That community feeling has made the New York location a place where guys not only get their hair cut, but also a place for them to gather after work or after their shaves.
It’s also what’s made Blind Barber a collaboration-ready brand, especially when it comes to Fashion Week. The shop frequently hosts pop-ups and events with sponsors such as Gillette. They’ve even branched into their own line of grooming products, candles and limited-edition ties and headphones (with C. Chauchat and Skull Candy, respectively). They hope to create that same feel out here on the West Coast.
“We work heavily with ‘gut feeling’ and when we saw the neighborhood and the mix between all that has been here and all that was being built, it definitely excited us to be here,” he said. “What place doesn’t need a barber shop and a watering hole?”
The Blind Barber is located at 10797 Washington Boulevard, in Culver City. 310-841-6679. For more information, visit www.blindbarber.com