“I remember going with my grandfather and listening to stories and watching communities come together,” says Andy Mobarry, reminiscing about trips to the barbershop as a kid. These experiences inspired the 41-year-old Cincinnati native to open Clifton Barbers last January. “I really wanted to bring back the small barbershop feel, where people would come for a good haircut and also for the fellowship,” he says.
Mobarry’s shop sits on Ludlow Avenue between Telford Street and Ormond Avenue, about a mile from the University of Cincinnati’s main campus. “When I saw the location, I knew the small town feel in the middle of a big city was a no-brainer,” he says. “We love the Clifton community.”
The love is mutual. Since opening, Mobarry has increased the shop’s hours and its staff to six total barbers to accommodate his growing client base. Clifton Barbers has had no problem fitting in the Gaslight District, thanks to its vintage (some might say hipster) vibe. Five black-and-white barber chairs face a wall of 10 antique theater seats that provide seating for waiting customers. The walls are painted a warm mint green shade and covered with retro artwork, flags, and singage. Mostly handpicked by barbers Brandon Cornell and Blake Siebenburgen, the artwork is reminiscent of the 1950s and ’60s and includes snapshots of late celebrities with pomade-greased hair combed to perfection and illustrations of past hairstyles. “We love the old-school American, traditional vibe,” Mobarry says. “Our barbers live and embrace Clifton Barbers and are the heart and soul of the shop. I am thankful for them every day.”
Mobarry and his experienced team offer a range of affordable services Tuesday through Saturday. Get a beard trim for just $15, or request a straight razor shave for $40. Bonus: Customers score a complimentary beard trim with each haircut, which costs just $25 plus tip.
Aside from getting a fresh hairdo, Mobarry wants his customers to get to know each other and build community. That’s why a sign listing five barber shop rules hangs on the wall above the door to the right. The final rule reads No cell phones in the chair. So leave the cell phone at home and the credit card, too. Don’t bother trying to call ahead, either. Like the barbershops Mobarry remembers as a kid, Clifton Barbers is a walk-in- and cash-only joint.
Good to Know
The best time to swing by Mobarry’s shop is from 1 to 5 p.m., when five barbers work the floor. Three are on the clock during opening and closing hours.
Clifton Barbers, 337 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, (513) 281-3163, cliftonbarbers.com