The other day, I looked in the mirror and found myself looking a bit more like a woodland critter than I would like. So, it was time for a haircut. One slight hiccup, I'm in Fort Lauderdale, some 1,200 hundred miles from my usual barber. Upon suggestion from my brother-in-law Dan (who frequently morphs into a woodland creature himself) I visited ManKind on SE 2nd St in Fort Lauderdale.
Founded by Lee Garipoli, ManKind has been around for about seven years and is part of the recent trend of barbershops, salons and spas specifically geared to men. While most of this crop of barbers feel more like a hair Applebees, too cheesy and thrown together, ManKind hearks more to the Old Homestead Steakhouse.
Walking up to the bright red door emblazoned with the ManKind logo, I'm hit with the impression that I'm in the right place and about to enter a manly Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Immediately after stepping through the door, I was greeted with dark woods, red leathers, old-time barber chairs, the aromas of sandalwood, rosemary and lemon and Ashley, half-receptionist-half cartender-total package.
"Hi, welcome to ManKind. Can I get you something to drink?" Ashley said when I was about a foot through the door. Hmm. Not a question I get at my regular barber. Looking through the rather extensive wine and beet selections, I opt for an Amber Bock. I was delightfully surprised to learn the beer was included with the cut. Hmm, haircut and a tasty adult beverage, this is looking good.
A few seconds later, my stylist, Janet, introduces herself with a firm & professional handshake and leads me, beer in hand, to her station. The stylists all wear a uniform of black button-down shirt and gray vest. The habiliments combined with the comfortable comfortable old-timey red leather barber chairs further instill the impression of being in a traditional study or den. (I'm trying unfortunately to use for the use of the term "Mancave".) Multiple TVs are tuned to the requisite ESPNs and news stations.
Janet and I settle up the strategy for today's trim (not too short and do not make me look like a dope), and she gets to work. "Would you like a shampoo?" Janet asks. Of course, as if there is any doubt. The shampoo and mini scalp massage is, in my estimation, the best part of any haircut. Wet haired and relaxed scalped, we head back to the chair.
As a highly skilled stylist, Janet does not balk at my request for using scissors as opposed to clippers. I was very impressed at her diplomacy and precision of each cut. She is a serious professional. Every few minutes, she pauses and hands me my beer. Yeah, a haircut with built in beer breaks. Awesome. Janet finishes by using a straight blade razor and hot shaving cream to clean up my hairline. Nice touch.
Looking in the mirror, I come to the conclusion that not only have I had the best barber experience that I've had in a long time, but I have had the best haircut in recent memory. I absolutely recommend Janet for all your coiffure needs.
Dan is also getting a haircut. (Jessica is his regular stylist.) His head is bigger than mine, so I have a few minutes to kill. I get a refill on my beer and look around for a bit. In addition to bar and stylist chairs, ManKind has a pool table and shoeshine station.
But wait, there's more. Full spa services are offered. Straight razor hot shaves, manicures, pedicures, a range of massages (including a stereo massage, that's two masseuses at the same time), facials, waxing and a cook in the steam room are all on the menu of services. The spa area looks like a relaxing zen-like space adjacent to the salon. I am very eager to schedule a ManKind massage. If it's as good as the haircut, it'll be well worth it.
ManKind also offers dry cleaning services and custom made shirts and suits from a master tailor. Not exactly something you find at your usual stylist.
Dan is done, so it's time to settle my tab and be on my way. A haircut with the included beers is $ 35. With the added tip, considering the level of service and all around niceness I received from Ashely and Janet, it was well worth it. Dan highly recommends Jessica, as well. I will definitely be back, hopefully for a massage next time.