Smart Dressing

The Jackal’s guide to the best barbers in London

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The right haircut can make or break a date, job interview or board meeting. Here's where to go for the sharpest cuts in town

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 eight are the best barbers in London for our money, visit one and you won’t go far wrong.

best barbers London, Joe & Co, Jackal1. Joe & Co – for the sharpest cut in Soho

There’s something effortlessly cool about Joe & 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.

best barbers London, Murdock2. Murdock London – for a flawless wet shave

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.

Ottoman Crew, best barbers London3. The Ottoman Crew – for the best Turkish barbering in town

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.

Pankhurst London, best barbers4. Pankhurst London – for a polished, contemporary look

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.

Truefitt & Hill, best barbers, London5. Truefitt & Hill – for old school luxury

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. 

Ted's Grooming Room, Jackal magazine6. Ted’s Grooming Room – for smooth, sophisticated service

Ted’s Grooming Rooms are a series of British barbershops scattered across town that offer a polished range of services, whether you’re after a Turkish-inspired shave or a new do. The story goes that being a well travelled fellow, the eponymous Ted was lured into a backstreet barber during a trip to Istanbul and fell in love with the artistry behind a close cut-throat shave. It was a natural leap to recreate his near-spiritual barbering experience back in Blighty, and so the grooming rooms were born. Head to your nearest one for a slick tidy-up, shave or even for eyebrow threading, should you need it. Each shop takes walk-ins, too – ideal for a last minute fix-up.

Nomad Barbers, Jackal magazine7. Nomad Barbers – for the free spirited

One for the adventurers out there. 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.

Ruffians, best barbers London8. Ruffians – for a clean cut and comfortable surroundings

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.

Best barbers in London, Geilly Green9. Gielly Green at 10 Trinity Square – for unadulterated sophistication

A new arrival to the capitals barbering scene, this recently opened outpost of Geilly Green (arguably one of Londons swankiest salons) has taken up residence in 10 Trinity Square, the Citys latest behemoth hotel. Its as polished as it looks, with excellent mens barbering services front and centre. The head barber, Carmelo Guastella, is something of a wizard (an award winning wizard no less) and an appointment with him is a must. Its worth heading in there for the hair washing routine alone – expect to recline on a dreamy waterproof pillow for an excellent scalp massage that will have you drifting off in no time – and thats even before the haircut starts.