Pilgrim Square Barber
Photo by Shane Wynn
In a world where unisex hair salons and spas far outnumber barber shops, the laid-back, masculine atmosphere at the Pilgrim Square Barber Shop is a tonic—a special treat for men and boys.
Customers who frequent Jack Bradley’s place like knowing they can come in for a good haircut or hot shave at a fair price. (Haircuts are $14; hot shaves go for $20.)
“A lot of people just walk in from the neighborhood,” Bradley says. Local doctors and lawyers, coaches, CEOs and retirees are regulars. Lots of dads visit the shop with their sons.
There’s a clever blend of old and new at the three-chair shop. Sears Craftsman tool chests store razors, scissors and other grooming supplies. The barbers use air compressors to blow snippets of hair off customers’ necks. A central vac helps keep their cutting floor clean.
Bradley purposely avoided installing a television in his place so customers would be more likely to interact. They talk about sports and local politics. They share news about airfare deals or what’s happening in the neighborhood.
On a typical morning at the West Akron shop, jazz plays in the background, sports writer Terry Pluto stops by early, and firefighter Rich Chianocone comes in with his 5-year-old son Guido. They talk about St. Hilary School’s dress code and Acme’s “griller thriller” steaks while Guido gets his haircut.
Bradley recalls the day a Miami businessman arrived at his front door in a limousine. He found the barber shop on the Internet and came in for a hot shave—a low-priced luxury currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
Old-style service with a neighborly touch still rules at the Pilgrim Square Barber Shop voted Akron’s best by our readers this year. —Jane Day