Top Chop-Top Shops

Until you find your regular go-to guy (or girl), getting a haircut can be a man’s most vulnerable aesthetic experience. Clothes, you can change — but you’re pretty much stuck with a haircut. Common wisdom suggests that men’s barber requirements are much simpler than women’s; still, Toronto has everything on offer from old-school barbershops to ostentatious men’s salons. Choosing can be a delicate juggling act, so here’s a miniature survey.

Blood & Bandages
Vibe: Old-school, new-school
It takes cojones to put “blood” in your name if hairstyling is your business. B&B proprietor Roger Janes is committed to vintage aesthetic: His shop has only two chairs (both antique), and the ’70s Playboy magazines and stag-head hooks create the right throwback mentality, albeit filtered through a 21st century prism. Considering B&B’s diminutive size — 97 square feet — you should book an appointment. $17 to $22, 932 College St., 416-357-9178.

The Terminal Barbershop
Vibe: Old-school, old-school
Plenty of new places aim to create a “traditional” barbershop experience (see above), but the Terminal has a leg up: It was established in 1925. The Rat Pack soundtrack, turn-of-the-century barber chairs and vintage New York City cash registers exude a certain type of masculinity that’s been lost in a world of “manscaping.” If you want a no-fuss cut or a straight-razor shave, head to Bay Street. $22, 594 Bay St., 416-598-4941.

Toni & Guy
Vibe: Yorkville
It’s no coincidence the Toronto outpost of this U.K. chain located itself in the city’s most notoriously posh ’hood. Toni & Guy is the place to go if you want whatever haircut is in fashion, and money is no object. Well, almost no object: In order to keep the ’dressers up to date with the latest styles, they’re trained every Wednesday night, and you can get yourself a deal if you don’t mind being a mannequin. $46 to $78, 180 Bloor St. W., 416-929-4997.

Grateful Head
Vibe: Über-hip
Ever go to a local concert and wonder where that moppy-headed lead guitarist got his asymmetrical ’do? Chances are it was Grateful Head, a Trinity Bellwoods salon whose rock-and-roll mentality transcends its punny moniker. Most of the staff moonlight in bands (more likely, they’re musicians who moonlight at the salon), which is reflected by everything from the soundtrack to side-table reading material. Sure, this can be offputting to the more conservative dudes out there, but if your style barometer leans more Win Butler than Brad Pitt, this is your spot. $35 to $60, 1006 Dundas St. West, 416-915-4323.

Chinatown
Vibe: No frills
It takes a certain kind of guy to trust an ultra-cheap haircut. Still, in the interest of covering every base, we will inform you that Chinatown offers hands-down the cheapest cuts in the city. Intense competition has driven prices as low as $4 (yes, four dollars) along Chinatown’s Dundas Street stretch (to name but three spots: Excellent Haircuts, Clean Cuts and Tong Hua). You get what you pay for, though: a basic, standardized, assembly-line cut. Consider bringing a picture of your ideal, as not many of the barbers speak English. $4-$7, Dundas St. W, Spadina Ave. to Augusta Ave.

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Image courtesy of Fixcinater.

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1 thought on “Top Chop-Top Shops

  1. This list has no credibility without Truefitt & Hill. It defines old-school holding the Guinness Record for World’s Oldest Barbershop – in Toronto since 1995 carrying on the same tradition.

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