Barber Amsterdam

A good shave.

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When considering places to see and experience while visiting a new city, historical monuments, noted restaurants, and recommended shops all come to mind. The humble barber may not make this list, but perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Just off the Brouwersgracht, one of the most charming of Amsterdam’s 165 canals, sits a contemporary shaving salon with the charisma of an old-school institution. Barber is a place where one can find a moment to relax amidst the hustle and bustle of other attractions.

At Barber the ethos is simple: every man needs some time for a proper straight razor shave and a clean trim. Walk in for an appointment and you’re greeted by friendly barbers clad in artisanal leather aprons offering the choice of a hot coffee, a cold beer, or a fine glass of whisky. From there, turn to the chalkboard on the wall to select a treatment such as the Dude (an easy trim and touch-up for a beard or moustache) or the Hemingway (a full facial and shave treatment with scrub, beard trim or shave, mask, and massage). Their trained stylists also offer haircuts and head shaves for those wanting.

Although outfitted in a 19th-century building with familiar furnishings like classic leather salon chairs, the shop is given a fresh cut with white subway tiling, concrete features, exposed copper piping, and unfinished plywood shelving to achieve a warm but masculine atmosphere, just as shop architect Ard Hoksbergen sought to do. With just two chairs in the main area and one in the back the space lends itself to easy conversation and a feel of comradery as customers and barbers alike participate in topical conversation.

Indeed, though there are many notable attractions in the Dutch capital city—all worth a visit—Barber is one of the few places where you can enjoy a nice beverage and leave looking better than when you entered. So for a short period of rest, consider adding it as a stop on the itinerary.

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August 8, 2014