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The most essential part of caring for a great beard, aside from a hearty supply of oils and balms, is getting it trimmed regularly at a good barber who specializes in beards. If most beard guys are like myself, then they are a no-nonsense, simple kind of guy who appreciates quality and craftsmanship in all things, including barbers. A good barber shop is more than just a place where one can exchange a small sum of money for a quick shave or trim. They are local watering holes where men can gather, spend time together, and talk about family, craft beers, and sports.
I had the opportunity recently to visit two such barber shops that offered a high quality of service with an atmosphere today’s bearded gentleman could appreciate.
Belmont Barber Shop
Location: 1020 W Main St #111, Boise, ID 83702
Contact: 208-577-1186 shop phone
If brevity is the soul of wit, then simplicity is the soul of elegance. The Belmont Barber Shop is just that in its purest form: simple and elegant. There’s a single chair in the small shop with a single barber at the helm. The floors are dark, well-worn wood while the walls are comprised of a lighter pine. Directly in front of the door to the shop on the back wall is an old fashioned Coca Cola vending machine. I’m pretty sure it’s a Vendo model 63 from around 1958. It’s well restored with an aftermarket faux wood panel on the front.
To your left is a vintage leather bench for patrons to wait their turn. Hanging on the wall from the left of the entrance is a skull of an antelope. There’s a even a stand alone record player in the shop loaded with actual vinyl records next to a vintage barber’s pole. The decor rides a razor’s edge between retro vintage and modern. Think 1950’s American with western sensibilities. Either way, it is a great space that is pleasant to be in and the perfect place to get a haircut and a beard trim.
Ryan Solomon is the proprietor and master barber. He is exceedingly talented and confident with his electric razor shaping and scissor strokes. The classic barber’s chair is welcoming and comfortable and makes you feel special. Like a throne or a captain’s chair on a starship.
I got a beard trim and a hot shave, which he did with a classic straight razor. The result was perfectly symmetrical trim lines that left my skin bowling ball smooth and feeling refreshed. He listened to how I wanted my beard to look and produced not only what I was going for, but made it look even better than I had imagined.
Reserve your spot soon because he is typically booked solid weeks in advance. You can find him on Main Street downtown across the street from Mulligan’s pub.
Don Juan’s Barber Shop
Location: 280 N 8th St #120 Boise, ID 83702
Book online at: donjuansbarbershop.com
Don Juan’s Barber shop is located on the lower floor of the Idaho Building on the corner of 8th and Bannock. Where Belmont is more quiet and simple with a single chair and barber, Don Juan’s is on the other end of the spectrum with a handful of barbers and chairs and a much larger space with more sounds and movement.
It is still a very gentlemanly place to hang out and get your haircut, though. The walls are decorated with framed art of classic barber imagery and vintage metal signs. They have a great lighted barber’s pole as well near the entrance.
I was lucky enough to get my beard trim and shave from the man himself, Don Juan. He was a master with the scissors and electric shaver. He was very professional and confident and provided a great customer experience. I even asked about how to do a few trimming and shaping tasks at home and he gave detailed and sage advice which turned out to work like a charm. Everybody there was in good spirits and you could tell that the other patrons were having a good time chatting with their barbers like old friends.
Everything was classy and sophisticated. One great thing about the Don Juan’s experience wasn’t even in the shop itself, but online. Their website was very helpful and fast when it came to booking my appointment. I was able to pick out what type of service I wanted and the date and time of my appointment. All within a few clicks. I was sent a follow-up confirmation email and even a reminder email. This was a great way to blend the modern convenience of technology with a classic gentleman’s style.
Either way you slice it, you can’t go wrong with a haircut or shave from either Belmont or Don Juan’s. If you enjoy sophistication, style, and excellence, then you will enjoy these two Boise staples for your next visit to the barber’s.