Grooming rooms and luxury treatment salons open in London all the time, and they’re often excellent ways to blow the best part of £100, if you have the means or occasion. But while London is gradually developing a taste for blow-dry bars and polished nails, we’re still miles behind our cousins in New York, where getting a ’do and a mani is something you’d consider for a meeting, not just your wedding day. But if anything is going to up our grooming game, it’s Barber & Parlour, Soho House’s newest London venture. Crucially, it’s going to do so without boring us for a whole afternoon, or emptying our wallets. It’s fun, fast and cheap.
Barber & Parlour takes up a whole building on Redchurch Street, also home to numerous cool fashion stores and a big advertising agency, with Shoreditch House members’ club just around the corner. It fits in perfectly – and the casual ground-floor café with velvet-ey sofas and flat whites on the menu will no doubt be an instant hit. This is where you can also find Neville, a new barber shop and men’s groomers serving up everything from a moustache trim (£12) to a men’s manicure (£15) or a quick haircut (£30). Crucially, it’s walk-in, so men working in the area can just amble over between thought showers.
Upstairs, the gals have The Cheeky Parlour (which has been open since this time last year) for rapid, excellent and cheap mani-pedis (£10/£14) – again, available on a walk-in basis. A further menu of waxing and beauty treatments is promised before Christmas, served from two little back rooms, done up Cowshed-style.
Most excitingly, there is now also a Josh Wood salon, with cuts and colour from this most esteemed of hairdressers. Wood has trained a new Shoreditch team, and somehow agreed to a menu of services at least half the price of anything in his two west London branches. A basic trim is £35, a fringe trim £10; while a colour touch-up is £40. That means follicular kingpin Wood is now one of the most reasonably priced snippers in the area, in probably the nicest setting.
If you’re the kind of couple that are likely to go for a his-and-hers grooming session (we’re not judging), then you’re perfectly able to do so here. Then top your tandem-preening off with a film in the basement, where Portobello Road’s Electric Cinema has taken over what was the Aubin & Wills screening rooms, filling it with luxurious furnishings to compliment a boutique film schedule. You’d never get an audience this well-groomed in the local Vue, would you?