Esquire's guide to the best barbers in London includes the most stylish places in the capital to get a tidy up, a trim, or a full-scale wet shave.
After being showered with industry awards for their first outlet in Edinburgh, the team behind Ruffians has arrived to conquer London. Both their original site near Covent Garden and their brand new outlet in Marylebone are stunning spaces that offer an oasis away from two of the capital's busiest shopping areas. Enjoy an expert shave or shear from their knowledgable staff and relax in the bright, spacious, fuss-free environment (and indulge in a tipple of your choice). With extremely competitive prices, Ruffians is everything you could want from a barbers.
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, bentley chairs and a Johnnie Walker lounge 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 either.
Joe and Co
Barber to the stars Joe Mills has been running his Soho haunt since 2010 and it is still the place to beat in the area. The light, unfussy, informal atmosphere belies the seriousness with which Joe and his team operate - this is proper men's grooming where attention to detail is second to none. A full range of services for your facial hair is on offer, as is ear and nose waxing. If you really to walk out with a spring in your step request Joe himself for a little more of your extremely well-spent readies.
Tucked away seconds from Sloane Square, Davictor is a small salon that the Chelsea style set need no introduction to but the rest of London would be well advised to visit. Under the vision of Apollon Victoratos - a hair stylist with a CV that include Roberto Cavalli runways, Hermes shows and the pages of Harper's Bazaar - Davictor's delivers serious haircuts and treatments in a cool, informal setting (there's even resident dog nibbling at your shoelaces). You can also get a first class pedicure if that's your thing.
A Soho institution, Tommy Guns - slightly scarily - celebrated its tenth birthday recently. 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".
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.
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.
Jones & Payne
Claiming to combine "East end cool and creativity with West end standard service" Jones & Payne, which opened in Shoreditch three years ago, 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.
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.
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).
While the 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).
A Soho staple since 1987, Fish's relaxed, punk rock aesthetic belies a serious commitment to giving you one of the sharpest cuts in town. Service in this place is exceptional: expect a friendly, thoughful consultancy over your barnet and first class results.
Pall Mall Barbers
One of the best mid-range priced cuts in London, Pall Mall Barbers have outlets in Trafalger Square, Fitzrovia and – since February 2015 – Westminster. The cool, unfussy interiors makes it feel like you're popping into your local barbers but the treatments – pardon the pun – are a cut above.
Main photo: Rory Mcpharland, GM of Sharps Barber and Shop, taken by Fleur McGerr