Tucked away down The Laneway at 715A Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, you will find the timeless and unassuming Roy’s Barber. Indeed a hidden gem, the building has been in owner Ben Bartlett’s family since the early 1950s. Ben describes the building itself as having a ‘mixed life’. ‘It was a factory of some sort in its early days. It’s been used as a storage space for antique furniture and then as the shop of an electronics repairer’, says Ben. During renovations, they even found old horseshoes, offering a nostalgic glimpse into Hawthorn in its early days. In the last few years, the building was unused and had been boarded up. ‘It was quite dilapidated, but I could see its potential’, says Ben, ‘I love the building and the space, and I always wanted to make it a barbershop’. This desire was ignited by Ben’s love of his grandfather, Roy, after whom the barbershop is named. ‘He was originally a barber, then he owned a hairdresser in Caulfield and a wig shop on Chapel Street’, says Ben. So, when the opportunity came up to refurbish the space, Ben jumped at the chance. ‘There aren’t many buildings left like this, so we thought we would lovingly restore it’. Ben’s aim during the restoration was to ‘touch everything without making it look like it’s been touched’. This rings true through the interior finishes; the use of recycled timber and vintage décor reminding you of classic barbershops and providing a rustic snapshot of how Roy’s own shop may have once looked.
Roy’s Barber opened on the 8th of April 2018, after a year-long ‘labour of love’ renovation. Being located slightly off the beaten track, Ben says ‘there isn’t as much foot traffic, so people have to either come looking or happen to stumble upon us’. Despite this, Ben says they are starting to form a strong customer base that is continuing to grow, and this is largely thanks to the wonderful Glenferrie community. ‘The local traders have been terrific, supporting us and promoting us…and our customers have been giving us great reviews and word of mouth support’. The resident barber, Mikhailion, or Mikha for short, explains that the unique character and location seems to be a big factor in generating regular customers. ‘There is a special ambience about being in a laneway’, says Mikha. ‘It’s peaceful and comfortable, and customers seem to like being away from the hustle and bustle’.
There are many reasons as to why Roy’s Barber is a cut above the rest. Their motto is ‘quality cuts and quality service’, and it is clear that’s exactly what you will get. Ben currently only employs Mikha, because he wants to ensure that the barbers cutting his client’s hair are of the highest quality. ‘I don’t want my customers to come and have a good haircut once and then experience inconsistency each time after that. I want them to come and have a great haircut and overall experience each and every time.’ On arrival at Roy’s Barber, you’re offered a nice, cold beer, and once your haircut is complete, they have a hot towel service to ensure you’re not left with any of those pesky hair trimmings. Unlike traditional barbers where the appointments on offer are walk-in only, you can also make appointments at Roy’s Barber, offering you flexibility and time to plan to come in when it best suits you. Additionally, Roy’s Barber is dog-friendly, so your furry friend can come along too. Roy’s Barber truly is all-inclusive, with Ben saying, ‘we aren’t pretentious – absolutely everyone is welcome…from the little poppet’s right through to the older generation’.
Roy's Barbers is located at the rear of 715A Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn