On the corner of Cleveland and Bourke Streets is a new spot that’ll sort out your under-coiffed or semi-faded look. Bourke St. Barbers is the fourth shop by Daniel Jaafar (after Newtown’s Jack the Clipper, Balmain Barber Shop and Chicanos in Redfern), and it’s all about Surry Hills.
Jaafar wants the space to bring back the former glory of barber shops: the nostalgia of warm towel shaves and a classic beard trim. With two barbers on rotation – including Stephen Perisic, a Surry Hills local with over 30 years experience – the barber shop will offer style cuts, beard trims, cut-throat shaves, and “all the really, really cool stuff for guys”, Jaafar says.
“As a kid, it was a bit of a bonding session with my dad. Every couple of weeks, he would take me with him on his barber adventure,” says Jaafar. “I used to sit down and watch him get a cut, and then I’d get a cut. Every time I’d see a barber shop, it took me back to that sort of era.”
The Surry Hills store features a minimal aesthetic, with the classic reds-and-blues on a panel from floor to ceiling. Photographs of dapper, barbered gentleman throughout the ages – 1920 to 2016 – are framed and sectioned on the walls. Two Art Deco glass cases are sparsely decorated with Morgan’s hair-care products and shaving tools.
There’s a wooden waiting bench against the wall, and two barber chairs opposite tall mirrors; the concrete floor is covered in paint splatters and general wear-and-tear. It feels effortlessly, classically cool.
“We wanted to emphasis the timeline and the gallery feel; [this space is] a blank canvas,” Jaafar says. “Later down the track, people can use our blank walls to put their canvases up and show their art.”
On top of the community-focused space, Jaafar has plans to expand Bourke St. Barbers to the streets.
“We’re going to be specialising in homeless nights, barbering people,” he says. “We want to see if we can make these guys feel different at zero cost and see if it makes a difference in their day-to-day experience.”
And that, Jaafar says, is just the start.
“I want to be the Merivale of the barber business,” he says. “It’s open to everyone.”
Bourke St. Barbers
Shop 1, 642 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Mon to Fri 9am–7pm