(credit: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Gentlemen, San Francisco has a couple of things to say about a deftly-executed traditional straight razor shave complete with the hot towel treatment. First, the only thing that really looks good in a fuzzy pink moustache is a Lyft car, and second, Movember is over. Besides, it’s lovely to lean back and luxuriate in an vintage barbershop leather chair as spicy aromas encourage drifting off. It’s really quite critical to find out exactly where you’ll be in the best of hands while someone has a blade at your throat.
1259 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States, was a clean-shaven man. A workaholic, he died at the age of 53. The message here could be: life’s too short to not relax, get a straight razor shave and enjoy the hot towel treatment on the street that bears his name. Meet the Polk Gulch barbershop that looks old school yet welcomes customers with a cold beer. To help you relax even further, they’re open seven days a week by reservations or walk-in, which is amazing for a good straight razor shave barber in this city.
1512 Pine St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
“Straight Razor Shave” is what it says in the window, but that’s an understatement. Since 1987, the master barber from three generations of Sicilian barbers based in San Francisco is Salvatore Cimino. He’s a popular man with a vintage style shop and a roster of loyal customers, so it’s by appointment only. Click online for the appointment diary availability. And, if you’re planning on looking sharp for a wedding, maybe even your own, it’s probably a good idea to book with Sal once you’ve set the date with your intended. Now you’ve really got something to look forward to. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Asano’s Barber Shop
3312 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
You will find a red, white and blue barbershop pole outside the front door. It doesn’t spin, but it’s cool. You will find the best prices in town, but you will not find a facility for credit card payments nor a proclivity for Square app. Neither will you find a website. You will not have a long chat, since the proprietor isn’t terribly talkative. But that’s okay, because you’ve got a hot towel on your face. You will probably not find an appointment available as a walk-in, so call ahead because Asano is a one-man operation with a dedicated following, and has been for 40 years. Then, head for Presidio Heights (there’s a shoe repair next door.) Bring cash. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Cable Car Clothiers
110 Sutter St., Suite 108
San Francisco, CA 94104
Nicky the Barber runs a classic two-chair barber shop within this well-known gentlemen’s haberdashery off Union Square. Called San Francisco’s classic British goods store since 1939, this is the place in Union Square to sub for the days when barbers were found off the lobby of every great hotel. If you fancy shopping for a fedora to set off your jawline after that finely-honed straight razor shave, come here first. It could be the best left-coast place for Geo. F. Trumper products this side of Mayfair’s Curzon Street. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
351 Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
J.P. Kempt, you have been noticed. The newest barbershop in town, in business since October 2013, has already added Sunday opening hours. If you want to know what the “social” is about, Shorty will explain while you’re comfortable. Welcome new owner Shorty Maniace to the ‘hood, with his original hardwood floors, seven vintage Koken ceramic barber chairs, marble countertops, wooden cabinetry, lazy ceiling fans, chilled and talented staff and a great barbershop smell. Straight razor shaves? Yes. Reservations and walk-ins, too? Yes. Shave and a haircut? Yes. You’ll exit looking anything but unkempt.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.