I can't say I have a lot of personal experience when it comes to getting my face shaved. But from what I hear, a straight-razor shave at the hands of a skilled barber is a rare delight, an old-world luxury worth the extra dough even though a pack of disposable razors from Rite Aid will kill a five o'clock shadow for cheap. Vintage-style barbershops have been making a comeback lately, with jazzed-up, fedora-wearing barbers vying to recreate shaves and cuts from the days of yore, and while they're fun for a visit, there are also a few red, white and blue-poled remnants left for those looking for the real thing. Here are our favorite old and new spots for a shave in the city—leave yours in the comments.
BARBIERE: East Village shop Barbiere's only been trimming hair and beards since 2010, but the joint feels plenty old-school all the same, if a little pricey. Proprietor and native of Italy Lello Guida has been barbering for over 30 years, and he knows his stuff, offering up stellar straight razor shaves ($30, $50 with a Moroccan skin treatment) in a laid-back, elegant space. Guida and his crew also do beard trims for $20, and haircuts here run about $20 to $40, with a cut-and-shave combo clocking in at $70. Note that Guida doesn't speak much English, but that won't stop him from handing you a shot of Jameson pre-treatment. Bonus: Barbiere is James Franco-approved, if that means anything to you.
Barbiere is located at 246 East 5th Street between 2nd Ave and Cooper Square in the East Village (646-649-2640, barbierenyc.com).
FREEMANS SPORTING CLUB BARBERSHOP: Upscale LES clothier Freemans Sporting Club has long had its own barbershop line, F.S.C. Barber. Recent management shakeups, however, have moved the Rivington Street incarnation into an even lovelier, larger spot, rocking a clean, stylish vibe and helmed by even more stylish barbers. A shave here runs a hefty $42 (shave and haircut costs $78) but comes with all the fixings—a luxurious, super-sharp, super-close shave complete with hot foam and a hot towel dry-down, soothing pre-and-post shave balm, and a face with nary a nick or whisker.
Freemans Sporting Club Barbershop is located at 8 Rivington Street between Freeman Alley and Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side (212-256-1309, freemanssportingclub.com).
THE HUSTLE BARBER SHOP: This 10-year-old barbershop has no shortage of regulars, and though that might make for a long wait for a seat, the slick, affordable shaves doled out here are well worth it. $12 gets you the hot-towel treatment, though if you're going to combine it with a cut, it can climb up to $70. It's worth it to spring for the full deal. While shaves here are fun, haircuts are how The Hustle earns its keep, turning out fades, buzzcuts, mohawks and other stylish looks that transcend a basic trim.
The Hustle is located at 13411 Hillside Ave in Kew Gardens, Queens (718-658-5605, thehustlebarbershop.com).
VINCENT'S BARBER: This 100-year-old barber shop hasn't changed too much over the years, with the classic barber's pole and red Belmont chairs firmly in place. The prices haven't spiked too hard, either—a classic shave runs $11, and a shave/cut combo's a smooth $23. There are no frills or fancy MALIN+GOETZ artisanal chin butter at this neighborhood establishment, but there is a hot foam machine, a post-shave towel rub and a friendly, skilled barber on hand to make sure you receive A list treatment.
Vincent's is located at 1505 Cortelyou Road in Flatbush, Brooklyn (718-693-0619).
BARBER ON PEARL: This DUMBO joint rolls out a pretty top-notch shave, with a typical beard trim and straight-razor job running $25. Beyond the basics, though, you can score a signature shave for $35, which boasts the added bonus of a facial massage and post-shave aloe-vera rubdown (pre-shave booze is also de riguer here). And it's evident that barbering's a family affair. The shop's owner, Robert Isakov, has a brother who runs the Clinton Street Barber Shop in Brooklyn Heights, another worthy establishment if you're looking for an affordable trim.
Barber on Pearl is located at 57 Pearl Street between Plymouth Street and Anchorage Place in DUMBO, Brooklyn (718-855-3090, barberonpearl.com).
FRANK'S CHOP SHOP: Frank's Chop Shop is of the nouveau barbershop persuasion, offering up a veritable hip, contemporary vibe complete with hip-hop music and $40 snapbacks, all the while doling out classic cuts and shaves for the "modern gentleman of leisure." A basic shave here runs $30, but if your barber agrees to it, you might be able to score a cut/shave combo for $50-$60, which is a deal considering cuts can climb as high as $40 here. Either way, though, you'll roll out of Frank's looking fresh—just make sure to lock in an appointment, since they won't take walk-ins.
Frank's Chop Shop is located at 19 Essex Street between Rutgers and Division Streets in Chinatown (212-228-7442, frankschopshop.com).
BEDFORD BARBERS: Bedford Barbers is another newcomer with an old-world attitude. The friendly barbers at this tiny (four chairs!) low-key shop offer classic hot towel shaves for a mere $20-a-pop, along with beard trims for $10. And if you're looking for something a little more decadent, a $35 Royal Shave includes a hot and cold towel treatment, moisturizing balms and a facial massage complete with a hand massager attached to the barber's hand for added vibration.
Bedford Barbers is located at 322 East 59th Street at 2nd Ave in Midtown East (212) 308-0333, bedfordbarbers.com).
PAUL MOLÉ BARBERSHOP: To be fair, Paul Molé's probably not the best barbershop on this list, and there are probably a few unmentioned others out there that warrant a spot in its stead. But it's noteworthy if just for the fact that it's the oldest barbershop in Manhattan, and if you're looking for some old-world Gatsby-esque elegance, here's your place. Shaves run $40 and haircuts are an additional $40 per half hour, but for that price you get to chat with seasoned barbers that have tended to the heads and faces of many a celebrity. Plus, they moved to a new location about a year ago, and word on the street is that the new space is super clean and swank.
Paul Molé is located at 1034 Lexington Ave between 73rd and 74th Streets on the Upper East Side (212-535-8461, paulmolebarbershop.com).
RAY'S BARBER SHOP: For another no-frills face shave, this Inwood barber spot offers stellar service and close shaves for $15, treating customers to the kind of neighborhood shop talk that seems to have vanished with the subway token. Brush up on your sports trivia and banter, and bring along three Hamiltons (plus tip) if you want a real deal, since a haircut at Ray's runs only $15, too.
Ray's Barber Shop is located at 634 West 207th Street between Broadway and Cooper Street in Washington Heights/Inwood (212-569-4090).
TOMCATS BARBERSHOP: Tomcats is one of this list's radder establishments, operating as a sort of rock 'n roll biker bar where you get your hair cut instead of getting plastered (though do note they'll give you a free beer while you wait). Dynamite hip cuts aside, Tomcats's crew will give you a classic shave for $30, while a shave-and-cut deal runs $60 total. If there was ever a reason to pair a smooth face with a pompadour, this is it. Do note that the barber shop is cash only.
Tomcats is located at 135 India Street between Franklin Street and Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-349-9666, tomcatsbarbershop.com).