Sterling Hair Apothecary

Chippendale’s Sterling Apothecary is a fragrant, debonair time machine. A sister to Surry Hills’ Sterling Hairdressing Parlour & Barber Shop, it emulates the comfort and style of the mid 1930s.

Owner Tony Vacher’s obsession with collecting has supplied the retro-alchemist decor. The front room – previously an antique dealer and gallery – is dominated by British-railway green and deep-cherry timber. One copper-topped counter was recovered from an old Randwick barber, while Vacher shipped another from Mumbai. Melt into a hulking, 200-year-old Vulcan barber chair and enjoy a flawless curation of blues, jazz and swing.

The close shave here is a transcendent, therapeutic exercise in trust, and Vacher does a 45-minute complete steam shave. Exclusive products fill a towering apothecary cabinet, including Reuzel, Dapper Man and Vacher’s own Bay Rum, a spicy tonic decanted in-store.