Finding the right barber isn’t an easy thing – London’s awash with choice, and many will be only too happy to send you out the door with a distinctly functional cut. Fortunately, there are some barbershops in town that buck the trend, which can be relied upon for a look that’ll make your next date, meeting or party, rather than mar it. These are the best barbers in London for our money, visit one of these and you won’t go far wrong.
Joe & Co
There’s something effortlessly cool about Joe and Co, Soho’s most swish barbershop. Proprietor Joe Mills is a seasoned celebrity stylist, responsible for maintaining the grooming regime of many a star of stage and screen. A-list clientele aside, he also oversees his pin-sharp team of stylists in a pared back concrete and chrome studio on Peter Street. It’s a space that combines traditional values and service with modern styling by some of the most talented barbers in town. One to visit if you’re after a new look, something that nods to the trends of the moment, or for masterful handling of a difficult barnet.
Joe & Co, 22 Peter St, Soho, London W1F 0AG, joeandco.net
Acqua di Parma Barbiere
Tucked away in the corner of the new ‘Designer Street’ room in Selfridges recently revamped men’s department, the Acqua di Parma Barbiere is the first of its kind outside of Italy. Stocked with the perfumer’s full range of fragrances and grooming products, the services available can be split into three categories: haircuts, facials and shaving. An insider tip: there are only two chairs on offer, so make sure you book up your appointment well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Acqua di Parma Barbiere, 1st Floor, Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB, selfridges.com
The Barber at Fortnum & Mason
Tucked away in a corner of the men’s department on the 3rd floor of this 300-year-old London icon, The Barber at Fortnum & Mason is one of the most exclusive grooming spots in town – and, with only two chairs, one of the most attentive. If you want to make this your regular haircut haunt, then how making your custom a little more permanent? In the wall on the left, look over and you’ll see a bank of tiny lockers with tasselled keys and engraves name plates, each a space for that customer to store his favourite grooming products to be used every time he visits. But bear in mind that this is prime central London real estate: each locker costs £850 for a 2-year rental.
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER, fortnumandmason.com
We’ve got a real soft spot for Murdock London. When it opened its first shop in Shoreditch in 2006, the brand more or less made the art of shaving fashionable again, and it’s led the way in men’s grooming ever since. Today, Murdock’s various barbershops throughout London (Covent Garden’s our favourite – make sure you visit) offer what has to be the best wet shave we’ve tried, as well as other well-honed services including beard trims and re-shaping, styling, facials and manicures. Its products are winners too; Murdock offers everything from shaving bowls to moustache wax, as well as a range of well-balanced colognes. If you’ve yet to try them, you’re missing out.
Branches throughout central London, murdocklondon.com
Adam Grooming Atelier
If you’re looking for a thorough service, look no further than Adam Grooming Atelier. Taking its cues from Turkish barbering, this place is all about taking time for yourself – not just a quick wash and trim. Hot towel facials, shoulder massages and signature ear-hair-eradicating singeing all come as standard with a haircut, as well as near-obsessive attention to detail in tidying your stubble. Not to be rushed – this is an experience to savour.
Branches throughout central London, adamgroomingatelier.com
The Ottoman Crew
If you’re looking to be entertained during your next trim-up, The Ottoman Crew is a must-visit. This quirky shop sits at the top of New Oxford Street, and offers some of the best Turkish barbering services in the capital. Whether you head in for a haircut (the ‘Ottoman Sword Cut’) or a beard trim (the ‘Ottoman Dagger Shave’), you can expect to have your eyebrows trimmed, ear hairs singed and a proper Turkish massage to boot. It’s lively, busy and ‘the crew’ are great fun. To quote senior stylist Yasar, ‘we aim to provide a warm atmosphere where we take time listen to your needs over Turkish tea and coffee. We won’t rush you out the door.’ Sounds good to us. Bear in mind, they don’t take appointments – it’s walk-in only.
The Ottoman Crew, 47 New Oxford St, Holborn, London WC1A 1BL, theottomancrew.co.uk
Brent Pankhurst is another mythic name in British barbering. He’s been cutting a dash on the grooming scene for the best part of 20 years and his shop just off Carnaby Street is something of a gentlemen’s mecca. Billed as part speakeasy, part gentleman’s club, Pankhurst is the place to go for a clean, sharp look – well suited to professionals or city slickers. His team is close-knit and talented, and can be relied upon to deliver the best technically demanding and sophisticated cuts you could wish for. Arrive 15 minutes early and head downstairs for a sit down with a Scotch, some music and a flick through The Jackal to unwind before your next appointment.
Pankhurst London, 10 Newburgh St, Soho, London W1F 7RN, pankhurstlondon.com
Truefitt & Hill
The old guard doesn’t come more storied than this. Truefitt & Hill is everything you’d hope a 212 year old barbershop would be. In pride of place on St James’s Street, the company’s cavernous, mahogany clad shop plays host to a bevy of gentlemanly barbers, with traditional skills par excellence. We recommend it for classic shaving products (think sandalwood shaving soap and badger-bristle brushes) and a traditional wet shave administered with all the hauteur of the world’s oldest barber shop. The hour long deluxe facial is a great restorative too (book it after a heavy night on the tiles); including an exfoliation treatment, cleanse, tone, mask face and neck massage. Nice.
Truefitt & Hill, 71 Saint James’s Street, Westminster, London SW1A 1PH, truefittandhill.co.uk
Despite the name, the experience at Ruffians is anything but rough-hewn. In fact, the company was established in Edinburgh in 2012 with the simple aim of countering the mass of poor quality men’s haircuts out there. Within six months of opening, it won Best Independent Newcomer at the British Hairdressing Business Awards, and two other industry awards besides, propelling it onto the London scene. Now, there are four shops in town to choose from, which can all be relied upon for a crisp cut (Tom Hardy’s a client, by the way – and his barnet’s always razor-sharp) and a welcoming environment in which to put the world to rights. Next time you need a trim, rock up, relax by the open log fire and treat yourself to a Ruffians Pale Ale.
Branches throughout central London, ruffians.co.uk
There’s a lot more going on in Dulwich Village than swanky houses and art installations. Porters is an all-round grooming destination, where men can find everything from eyebrow threading to facials and hot towel shaves – and, of course, hair cuts. Even better, though, is the in-house barista bar serving up organic Union coffee, with cafe tables out front and a secret garden at the back. Come for a hair cut, and stay for your morning (or anytime) pick-me-up. It’s well worth the journey south.
78 Dulwich Village, Dulwich, London SE21 7AJ, portersbarbers.co.uk
Located a stone’s throw from the Green (and on the same drag as one of London’s best coffee shops, Lumberjack), recently-opened Off-Cut Barbers has brought sharp cuts to Camberwell. Inside you’ll not only find a full-size motorbike, but also a team who have a raft of experience, gained at some of the top barbershops in central London – all of whom are more than happy to serve you a complementary craft beer to make the experience that little bit more relaxing.
1 Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, London SE5 8JA, offcutbarbers.com
The Nomad barbershop sits just off Brick Lane in the beating heart of East London, and it’s the place to go for a fashion-forward cut. Founded by Miguel Gutierrez in 2014, the shop is as much a passion project as it is a business. Gutierrez set out to create a barbering experience with a multi-cultural outlook, following a year travelling the world and documenting barbershops across different nationalities and cultures. As such, a willingness to experiment, a warm welcome and a safe pair of hands are part and parcel of the Nomad package. ‘We offer a hot towel and massage with every service, many of which are inspired by the UK, India and Turkey,’ says Gutierrez, ‘and we always have cold beer in the fridge.’ It’s hard to argue with that.
Nomad Barber, 8 Heneage St, Spitalfields, London E1 5LJ, nomadbarber.com
If you’re pressed for time and can’t get to the barber, have them come to you instead. Get Groomed is a team of professional, mobile barbers, who offer treatments tailored to fit your 9-5 (or 5-9). Whether it’s a wet shave pre-meeting, a beard trim post-workout or haircut mid-lunch, the guys at Get Groomed will arrive at your office, home or hotel to level-up your short back and sides or sort out your overgrown moustache. So long, last minute dash to find a barber shop.