I was energetically bar hopping along Sydney CBD’s latest and coolest entertainment strip of York Street, when I stumbled upon a cool barbershop that had a crowd of people lining up. It was too late for a trim … so what was this long line about? I soon discovered that it was one of Sydney’s coolest cocktail bars. The Barbershop was a real working men’s barber in the day, and behind the chairs a door led into a large open bar of one of the city’s coolest new night spots. I went in and had a whisky sour and sat back on the lounges and enjoyed the vibrant crowd combined with some upbeat DJ tunes. Gin was definitely on the menu, with a choice of over thirty different names – Hendricks and Cucumber on the rocks was my second drink choice.
I was in Sydney for a few days, so I knew when I was out walking I should come back and check out The Barbershop, as it would make a great review for the new Cutthroat Journal with its unique double revenue business model.
When I did get back, I was lucky to catch busy owner Michael Enright (Mikey), who gave me the royal tour and explained his success with this new project. Mikey is well known in the Sydney Bar scene flipping drinks, as he has came straight out of the Merivale Stable to take on this bar project. He formed a small consortium called the Barrel House Group to help him take on this clever concept. He showed me very quickly he has the same passion for barbershops that he has for cocktails, and he has cleverly mixed the two seamlessly. He offers some very cool, house mixed, face refreshing aftershaves that have caught the attention of a few alcohol distributors. On the other side of the wall in the bar he has named a few cocktails like Blood and Bandages to go with the barbershop theme.
The Barbershop Bar has caught the right attention quickly from the media and food bloggers, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are very busy; you expect to be lining up after 9pm to get in. A good tip is to get there earlier to avoid the crowd and to get a comfy lounge. The food is simple charcuterie meat platters and cheese and olive plates for the vegos. The beer selection is good, with some cool interstate craft beers on offer, like the WA Swan Valley Feral beers. The entire bar staff are attentive and very professional about their craft.
Mikey has been lucky to get some great barbers to come into his workspace, and the waiting lines are getting busier as the customers line up for trims and shaves. He has barbers from different countries offering their services, and he has hosted some top UK specialists during the start up phase of the business.
The Barbershop fitout is timeless but very compact and open to the busy York Street frontage. This is great marketing and has created many walk up customers for the barbers, especially over CBD lunch breaks. As a business consultant, this is a standout concept with a real point of difference – one with the theme but also another steady income stream in the day when the bar is closed.
Best of luck, Team Barbershop, at staying on top of the cool list; we look forward to our next Sydney visit to sip on a few Chivas.
89 york street, sydney, nsw 2000
(02) 9299 9699