Esquire's guide to the best barbers in London includes the most stylish places for you to get a tidy up, a trim, or a full-scale wet shave. More men than ever are indulging in barbers services; there's something unthreatening and inherently masculine about being expertly sliced across the face with an incredibly sharp blade.
Whether you want a quick shave or something a bit more extravagent, here's our list of the places you need to check out.
Pankhurst’s very own barbershop recently moved from their Savile Row store to new premises on Newburgh Street, the trendy lane tucked behind Carnaby Street. With cut-throat shaves, traditional barbershop chairs and personal televisions on offer - there's plenty to prove Pankhurst the best in the West. Oh, and don’t miss out on the matchless hot towel face massage.
10 Newburgh Street, London W1F 7RN
A Soho institution, Tommy Guns - slightly scarily - celebrated its tenth birthday this year. From the apothecary-esque own-brand products to the neon art decorating the immaculately tiled walls (not to mention the incredibly competent - and achingly cool - staff ) it's one of the best. And this comes from an Esquire staffer who was walked out on not 3, not 4 but 5 haircuts at other, unnamed establishments due to "incompetence".
52 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TQ
Visions of the demon barber spring to mind when you first set foot in each of Murdock's six outlets (Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Covent Garden, Seven Dials, Liberty and Sloane Street), but throat slashing is low on the agenda. Be sure to check out the website after your visit, Murdock sell lots of lovely booty - including a range of luxury shave products and a popular Beard Moisturiser - to compliment your new 'do.
Outlets in Shoreditch, Mayfair, Liberty, Seven Dials and Covent Garden
The great-grandaddy of barber shops, Geo F Trumper has been around since the mid-19th century, first operating from its Curzon Street outlet, before opening a second on Jermyn Street in the 60s. As close to a Empire-era shave as you'll ever get, the mahogany-clad interior, cabinets full of mirrors, soaps and brushes dating back to 1875 and impossibly courteous staff make the £27 for a haircut seem like a pittance.
9 Curzon Street, London, W1. 020 7499 1850
Jones & Payne
Claiming to combine "East end cool and creativity with West end standard service" Jones & Payne, which opened earlier this year in Shoreditch, is one of the smartest set-ups we've seen for a while. The team cut its teeth in the fashion industry, so you know they'll be up to par (at pain of death). Prices are fair-ish, but a cut with the "master stylist" will set you back £50. Though with testimonals from the likes of KT Tunstall and Georgie Parnell, you know you're on to a winner.
Jones & Payne, 73 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BS
Ted's Grooming Room
While Ted Baker's clothing is known for its eccentric touches, their approach to shaving is a little more straightforward, though the interiors of their barbershops take inspiration from the Ottoman Empire. The staff are all expertly trained in delivering the finest Turkish shave - including steaming the skin with hot, fluffy towels and burning away ear-hair with fire. Sounds painful, but something about being whipped with tendrils of fire is surprisingly relaxing. There's a no-appointment policy, perfect if you're in need of a last-minute fix.
Four outlets in Holborn, Cheapside, Mayfair and Fitzrovia
Aiming to provide a safe haven for men in need of restoration, Gentleman’s Tonic avoids feeling overly gimmicky by mixing traditional barbershop features (restored wood paneling, leather seats) with updated ones (sports shown on private LCD screens). If the Mayfair store is out the way, there’s a Gentleman’s Tonic in Gieves & Hawkes, too, if you need a quick fix between shopping.
31a Bruton Place, Mayfair, London, W1J 6NN
While barbering feels distinctly British, the team behind Sharps are originally from the States. With stores in Soho and Fitzrovia, as well as Topman on Oxford Street and Ben Sherman in Islington, it ranks as one of the most affordable places on our list (and they serve up a pretty decent coffee, too).
9 Windmill Street, London W1
Main photo: Rory Mcpharland, GM of Sharps Barber and Shop, taken by Fleur McGerr