THE ART OF THE CLASSIC AMERICAN HAIRCUT | TOMCATS BARBERSHOP

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Our friends over at  R E L I C  put together a nice little short on the guys that run Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s own Tomcats Barbershop. It’s a place where you can roll up on your Harley, and step in for a period-perfect ’40s or ’50s barbershop haircut by a guy who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

The film was produced in collaboration with the Harley-Davidson Ridebook and pays tribute to the great American brand that, “…impacted the early identity of American culture in everything from the way people began to dress to how they wore their hair…” Amen.

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WATCH THE  R E L I C  / H-D RIDEBOOK VIDEO HERE

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32 thoughts on “THE ART OF THE CLASSIC AMERICAN HAIRCUT | TOMCATS BARBERSHOP

  1. mine is like this in a way, i have shorter sides with the same on top and front. I like this, very cool and neat.

  2. ehhh, I don’t know about this one. This looks like choreographed haute’ poseur stuff to me. No 40’s barber shop would have a motorcycle in it with a guy wearing tats and a black t-shirt. Barbers then always wore white oversmocks, Barbers then were the image of cleanliness and managers of mens’ meeting houses. This place looks like it’s trying to hard to be more than it is. The best place I’ve seen for a true haircut done period style is Sweeney Todd in LA…..http://youtu.be/n7FmW6osZRE

    • I appreciate your comment, and I get it. Seeing as how this is Greenpoint, Brooklyn 2011 – and not Mayberry, USA 1950 I don’t see the need to callout the ink and the black t-shirt, and that it somehow makes someone a poseur. Do you have to look like Floyd the barber to get it? The guys there are doing what they love, and are passionate about it. I wish it upon us all that we could all be so fortunate.

      I for one, fucking salute them.

      Peace out.

      • To JP–cool, I read you…There is such a fine line between authentic and being artificial by being ‘too’ authentic. I always view your site as pretty damn close to the real deal, in terms of legitimate period information. I’m old enough to remember barbershops, and almost everything on this site, which apparently pisses off some of your more sensitive fans…

  3. I really love the “vibe” of this place. These guys really get it. I recently went out to East Texas to use my old barber–who was really old school. The experience would start with the smell of talcum powder, leather, and cigar smoke. Surprisingly, a great combination. He would then motion you over to sit in his chair, while sweeping it off with a cloth apron. The apron would drape around your front, the paper collar cover would go on, and then the apron was secured around the neck–right then, you know you are in for a great hair cut. Clippers, scissors, and metal combs did their thing, hot lather was then gently placed around the ears and the back of the neck–areas to be cleaned up with a straight razor. Ears, nose, eyebrows were all clipped and checked–then one final comb thru and check. Then, always a session with the massage “thingie” that slips onto the hand rubbed all over the head, neck, and shoulders.
    Well, that was then. I went to my old shop only to find that some nice lady bought it because my barber passed away and she “decorated” (i.e. ruined) the place with awful country style wood cabinets and stuff–ruined the manly feel of the place. No more white and black checked floor (replaced with faux wood grain vinyl)–no more razor straps, certainly no hot lather machine dripping down the original 50’s style maple cabinetry.
    The cut was decent, but the experience was sad–
    Oh, how I wished I lived in Brooklyn.

  4. Summer Avenue barber shop, in Memphis, Tennessee. Barbers who learned their trade in the Navy during WWII crack ancient jokes all day. Pictures of prize Tennessee walking horses hang on the walls. Your $12 haircut includes shaving your neck and sideburns with hot lather and a straight razor, a dash of aftershave, and a quick shoulder rub. Once you’ve gotten a cut there you’ll never go anywhere else, because nowhere else will have you looking or feeling so sharp.

  5. I have to agree with Marc. My father was a barber, started right after WWII. He never had a tattoo, never wore a black t-shirt and never had stubble on his face. All these hipsters trying despertly to recreate a time that they know nothing about. Sad really. I miss my Dad every day, he would laugh at these and same types in this town.

    • such ignorance. like jp said this isnt mayberry. im sure if you saw these guys clean shaven with white smocks looking like it was 1950 youd say the same thing “hipsters trying to recreate a time” which is funny because these guys arent hipsters. you have no idea what youre talking about. and how do you know what they know about. you know nothing about these men, their knowledge, or their dedication to their craft. im sure your dad would slap you for being such an ignorant boner. just shut your face and try to learn something.

  6. man I remember the barber shops my Dad took us to when we were little (this was early-mid 60s)

    fishing magazines, scratchy AM radio playing Sinatra, my Dad dozing off in the chair while the guy cut his hair. I don’t have enough hair worth cutting these days so I just mow it down with a Wahl and keep gittin up.

  7. i personally frequent davenports barber shop in norfolk va. real deal thanks mr. d for sticking around all these years.

    • Nice! Living in VB now and all I can find is Knockouts for Men and Great Clips crap. Used to do “US Hairways” in downtown, Ray gives a great cut.

  8. If you’re ever in Oregon, the guy to go to is Vinnie Baglioni at Rudy’s on Division St. When I first went to him in 2004, I said, “Give me the haircut of a WWII Army officer.” I came out of there low and tight, about 3″ of hair on top, and a scalp full of pomade. I can wear a hat all day and my hair’s still perfect when I take it off. He learned his trade from a 97-year-old man, and cuts it the same way.

  9. I agree with Marc….. looks overdone to me. Nothing authentic about it. There are plenty of good, authentic barbershops scattered across the country. No need for ‘Mayberry 1950′, they’re still out there. Get my haircut at one every 6 weeks or so. Same place for 23 years now. But, I wish the guys luck..

  10. The heck with the great American brand thats now building its M/C’s in India …. this should be focusing on the resurgence of the Great American Barber Shop . Made the switch back from Salons myself a couple of years back and have never regretted it . Got the real deal in my neighborhood ( its been around since 1920 ) No pretense or Disneyfied Nostalgia , just a great crew of young and older Barbers who know their trade in the original reasonably well maintained building .

    Great haircut , Zero Attitude , no one trying to upsell you into a bag full of product you neither need or want , REAL music on the stereo rather than the latest EuroDanceTrance garbage ….. and all for half or less the price of said pretentious Salon

    One Trend thats worth coming back to .

    Heck even the wife goes there now .

    Barber Shops in the 2010’s Who’d a thunk it .

    • HD has been sourcing non-American parts the last 50 years. As for barbershops, they never left….. or were you just waiting for another trend to follow?

      Tattoos + rockabilly = hipster….. but I wish the guy luck anyway.

      • @CA

        My reference was to the fact that Harley is now manufacturing complete M/C’s in India . As to barbershops as I alluded to I’d made the 80’s mistake of going to the salon which I rectified two years ago . And whether you’ve noticed it or not barbershops as of this year ( NYTimes WSJ ) are on the rise , having for the most part disappeared .

        FYI no tatoos , rockabilly or Hipsterness in my household if you were referring to me . Try Jazz n Classical etc .

      • Barbershops have not disappeared in my town, or any other I’ve been to in the last several years.

        I was just ribbin ya a bit though….. we’re on the same page.

    • Hell yesh….I, Mah Own Damned Self, was gonna bring up The Great American Betrayal (Harleys made in India). Betrayal seems to be The New American Brand for just about everything we cherished….nevertheless, it’s good to see Mens hair cut by Men…reminds me of Rob’s Chop Shop in Dallas…same ethos…same creed…

  11. Its easy for people who’ve never walked into a place to cry “Hipster.” Hell, no matter what you’re into chances are you’re not going to be the first one to have thought of it and I promise you someone else will be calling you a hipster for having any interest in it in the first place.

    Joey’s a straight up no BS barber who works his ass off. Does he have tattoos, ride a Harley and play in a kick ass rockabilly band? Sure. Cliche or nor he’s the genuine article and Joey cares about his business and his customers. I think anyone who truly cares about preserving something and making it their own, whether it be a style, a moment in time or a genre of music should be commended. (keep in mind the guy charges $20 for a haircut when everyone around him hits you up for at least $60.) Is it authentic and ‘period correct’? Does it have to be?

    True glory goes to those who keep it all going.

    …and I’m not just saying this because they always hand you a beer when you sit down at Tomcats.

    • As long as the man gives a good Haircut @ a decent price I couldn’t care less what he looks like , what music he listens to or what he does in his free time !

      And if he’s like most Good barbers there’s probably a ton of cuts in his repertoire .

  12. Who cares how the guy dresses? As a guy who slings hair for a living, I’ll tell you right now, that cut shown at the bottom of the post is the genuine article. That’s definitely not a “standard barber cut”. At $20 per, I’d make a weekly visit for sure.

  13. Great old school barbershop in my little part of the world: Steveston Barbers http://stevestonbarbers.com/. Been around for 70 years. (A very long time around here. 80 years ago, it was swamp and salmon canneries.)

    Great place. Decent prices, a good cut and great conversation. Flat screen TV with hockey on all day Saturday and the guy who owns the place is a passionate Arsenal fan. Nothing fey or fake about the place.

  14. Why do people insist they are not nor do they associate with “hipsters”?

    Look: no one is authentic and everyone is; do yourselves a favor and just do you.

    I think it looks hokey and overdone and hella-white– a small slice of what I consider American, but you know what? It doesn’t matter, because clearly, judging by some of the comments in defense of this place, it makes some people happy– deliriously so. So go on! Do your thing and enjoy it! This isn’t a dress rehearsal, after all.

  15. Quick, JP!
    The Keith Ferguson post….the Robert Mitchum post….The Lee Marvin/Point Blank Appreciation post….tacit requests to bring divine intervention to quell This House Divided….

  16. Old school does not equal superior quality. New school, hipster,whatever does not equal sub-par quality.
    Quality is quality no matter the packaging and accoutrements.

  17. I wish I could pull off a haircut like this, but unfortunately the “classic” american haircut does not suit people with long faces.

  18. If you’re in London I’d recommend Ozzies in Camden. Sadly no Rockabilly music, but you do get a proper haircut with clippers, scissors, straight razor and talc. And they’ve got one of those stripey poles outside.

  19. man i wish usa had a barbershop in my hometown with the old fashoned haircut. the one with the razor, shave foam on the neck, talc and a short haircut like the 50’s. all we have in my town is salons with girls, perms, no music, just gossip and hair fashion. ulk I want a real mans barbershop with rockabilly music, grease and guts. you guys are fortunant to have these in your town. keep greasin! rockailly rules!

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