Let’s face it: you can’t so much as let a gerbil loose on Sheepshead Bay Road without it getting its fur frosted, quiffed, and faux hawk-ified. Sheepshead Bay is home to more salons and stylists than this neighborhood could possibly need. But for some of us – the dyes, the sprays, the haughty attitudes – it’s just not for us.
Some of us just want something a little less gay.
Thank goodness there remain holdovers from the olden days, when men went to barber shops. These no-frill man-caves cut through the crap and offer the trim you want at a fair price. And, most importantly, the loyalty we build with our barber is beyond explanation. Barbershops are the confession booths of the modern man – a place where we spill our guts to a barber we barely know. And ain’t no one judging us on our lack of Eurotrash frippery.
But the barbershops in Sheepshead Bay are few and far between. So when reader Allan B. wrote to us last week, “Men need barber shops, not the other metrosexual crap” we knew exactly what he was talkin’ about. That’s why we put the question to our Facebook readers who spotlighted three reliable old-school barbers (and two newer spots making waves).
Mr. Figaro Hair Cutting
This one-time local media darling and Borscht Belt performer made a name for himself by singing to his customers. Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti belted out of the old man during the 80s and 90s, before his voice ebbed with age. Until the beginning of this year, when Mr. Figaro (a.k.a. Jerry May) hired two younger assistants, the storefront was decorated with old actors and singers from the 1920s to the 1960s, and news clippings about the shop from local papers. But though it’s been “cleaned” up to look more like a generic barbershop, you can still spot some old-school trimmings, like the fading Hollywood star he had engraved outside the front door. Mr. Figaro is a class act, a born barber, and a neighborhood staple here for more than 30 years. – 1919 Avenue Z (off Ocean Avenue); (718) 332-2122
Jack’s Barber Shop
Okay, so it’s not technically Sheepshead Bay, but Jack’s in Brighton Beach was so highly praised by our readers that it had to be included on the list. “Absolutely no metrosexual tape-ups are going on in there,” writes reader Margo D. “His clientele is either under six or over 70.” Like Figaro, Jack’s has been snipping at neighborhood heads for a couple of decades, and brought in some notable clientèle. Even Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, whose Sheepshead Bay Road office sits next to the Ginger Rose Hair Salon, gave the thumbs up to Jack’s, but the 56-year-old politician was quick to point out that not all of Jack’s clients are under six or over 70. – 1103 Brighton Beach Avenue (off Brighton 13th Street); (718) 646-9715
We hadn’t heard of this one before, and the name worried us a little. But this Avenue U shop, run by two younger guys, also got a few nods from Facebook readers and we’ve heard that some come from out of state just to get cuts done here. Anna T. tells us to ask for Chano or Charlie when we get in the barber’s chair: “They’re the best in BK let alone the bay.” - 3032 Avenue U (off of Coyle Street); (718) 648-7600
Other new shops that are getting some recognition in the area is the aptly-named Barber Shop on Avenue Z off of East 14th Street, where three young guys and a pit bull are slowly building a base; and Master Cuts on Nostrand Avenue off of Avenue W (“Nothing metrosexual about being across the street from the projects,” writes reader Igor Z. “He also does sick designs in the head.”).