The Top 3 Best Old Fashioned Barbershops in Hong Kong

Thursday 15 September 2011 9:35 am

Get yourself a sharp shave at these places.

There is nothing more decadently masculine than a visit to good old-fashioned barbershop; if you’re still shaving over your bathroom sink or getting your hair cut at a salon you’re missing out.

One of the most charming things about Hong Kong is how oddly old-fashioned it can be. You can take the ferry to work, private clubs abound, men still wear watches and people still get their news from the paper. Perhaps the best from the past in Hong Kong is the tradition of the barbershop.

Combining the best of a day at the spa, a good night’s sleep and a Victorian gentlemen’s club, a visit to a real traditional barber is what civilization is supposed to feel like. If you’ve never had a barber, now is the time to find one and before you let just anyone hold a straight razor to your throat may we suggest you try one of these three fine establishments.

Gentlemen’s Tonic

Gentlemen’s Tonic originated in London’s Mayfair and this year has opened its first international branch in the basement of The Landmark building in Hong Kong.

Gentlemen’s Tonic offers all of the features of a traditional barbershop and much more including a wide array of male grooming and treatment options from facials to massage. Perhaps the most charming offerings of Gentlemen’s Tonic are the packages, including “The Hemmingway,” a hangover cure involving a bloody Mary, facial and aromatherapy massage and a father and son haircut appointment where you can enjoy a cocktail while your boy watches cartoons before sharing a haircut together.

The facilities are impressive, private barber stations with marble fixtures and plasma screen televisions, equal parts modern and classic. Read our overview here.

The Mandarin Barber

For years The Mandarin Barber in The Mandarin Oriental Hotel has represented the gold standard for luxury shaves in Hong Kong.

Located on the second floor of the hotel this masculine retreat is probably the most traditionally inviting space on our list.  Obviously inspired by 1930’s Shanghai chic with lots of dark wood, ironwork and panes of glass etched with images from traditional Chinese screens, the impressive décor is easily matched by the level of care provided by the on-staff barbers, many of whom have over twenty years of experience.

The Mandarin Barber offers a wide variety of services from facials, massages and body waxing to acupuncture but the real reason to head to The Mandarin Barber is the same as it has always been, the Mandarin Shave.  The Mandarin shave is an hour-long straight razor shave complete with hot towels, essential oils and massage, perhaps the best shave the Hong Kong Dollar can buy.

The Barber Shop

In a way, The Barber Shop is the most charming location on our list.  Don’t expect the bells and whistles of the other places we’ve mentioned, no facials or aromatherapy.

The Barber Shop is not a spa or a beauty parlor. It is a barbershop, what a barbershop used to be and what it should be.  The Barber Shop is unpretentious with a basic but classic décor, hidden down a non descript alley, on the first floor of an equally non-descript building in Lang Kwai Fong.  The barbers are all experienced, talented and personable making for an experience that is relaxed, social and unpretentious.

All of the barbershops on our list provide an oasis from the heat and hustle of Hong Kong but The Barber Shop also provides a respite from the incessant hunger for luxury and pretense that abounds here.  It is a neighborhood barbershop in a city where the notion of neighborhood seems to mean less and less.  Unfortunately, The Barbershop does not offer wet shaves, one of the best reasons to visit an old-fashioned barbershop in the first place.

  • Gentlemen’s Tonic, The Landmark, B47-B48, 15 Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong
  • The Mandarin Barber, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 2/F, 5 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
  • The Barbershop, 1/F, 15B Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong (look for the barber poll)

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