Shear Luck

Five barber shops where you can get buzzed, clipped, shorn, and shaved in style.

1. Salzano & Sons Euro Barber Shop

Salzano & Sons Euro Barber Shop
Salzano & Sons Euro Barber Shop

Photographs by Jeremy Kramer

The first iteration of Salzano and Sons opened downtown nearly 60 years ago, when Nick Salzano emigrated from tiny Chiauci, Italy, to Cincinnati. Three years ago, Nick’s sons—Guido, Domenico, and Angelo—moved the spot a few blocks over, but maintained techniques from the old country. Carve out an hour to relax with a straight razor shave, a luxe experience well worth the $45 (cash only). Black towels, heated in a repurposed 1965 autoclave, warm the face. Facial creams will make you wonder why your father insisted on Brut, and a head massage caps off the experience. Plus: G. Salzano’s next door sells high-quality products from Germany, Italy, and California. Ladies are welcome, too—a professional shoeshine can touch up leather and even fix heels.  201 E. Fourth St., downtown, (513) 241-9669

2. Cuts Plus Barbershop
A smooth, polished beard requires a steady hand and can’t be rushed. At Cuts Plus, the barbers take their time, and it makes a big difference. The four-seat shop in Walnut Hills has a friendly vibe, with neighbors stopping in to chat and barbers commenting on the local news playing on the one television—the same atmosphere depicted in a mural remembering the African-American barbershops of yore on the shop’s back wall. When you stop in to get those whiskers trimmed, ask for Pony. He’s new to the shop, but he maneuvers his clippers with patience and precision, sculpting perfectly symmetrical lines for a squeaky clean look. 1001 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, (513) 961-4491,

3. Royal Barber Shop
Amid the sea of retail stores that is Kenwood, it would be easy to pass a simple BARBER SHOP sign in a non-descript strip mall off Montgomery Road. That would be a mistake. Royal Barber Shop opened in 1968 and has been delivering affordable buzzes—always with the requisite neck shave—ever since. Current owner Tim Mathis began cutting hair here in 1974, and he’s brought longtime friends in to cut beside him. The tiny sliver of a shop mixes Reds memorabilia with antique barber tools, like a 1950s hot lather machine, and jovial conversation makes it the spot to visit when your son is ready to graduate from the mixing bowl–and–scissors look. 7324 Kenwood Rd., Kenwood, (513) 984-4388,

4. The Studio
At The Studio, a new customer showing up without an appointment is treated like a regular. The Corryville barber shop, which celebrated its six-year anniversary in May, is sleek, complete with a leather sectional sofa in the waiting area and orange-painted vessel sinks behind the chairs. Their cuts are equally clean: a razor-sharp, perfectly manicured beard trim will run you just $10. And while it may not have the classic barber shop ambiance, the laid back conversation makes for a place where anyone would feel comfortable. “My thing is, if your grandma can come in here,” says manager Josh Kimber, “it’s a good place.” 2915 Highland Ave., Corryville, (513) 221-4247

5. Spanky & Co. Barber Shop

Spanky & Co. Barber Shop
Spanky & Co. Barber Shop

Photographs by Jeremy Kramer

The new kid on the barbering block is Sean Caudill, also known as Spanky the Barber. After years of cutting hair in different shops, in March Caudill opened Spanky & Co. in Newport and quickly cultivated a vintage appeal. Take the waiting area: A 1913 church pew purchased off of Craigslist sits under a wall-covering American flag and next to a cooler holding Coca-Cola bottles. As Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac wax poetic (hey, they’re vintage tunes for twentysomethings) from a laptop Pandora station, Caudill operates with care, like a chef who cares about quality ingredients as much as beautiful plating. Make an appointment in advance, though—it typically takes at least a week to find an opening. 439 W. 12th St., Newport, (859) 815-8592,

Shop Stop: G. Salzano’s
If cans of Barbasol and Gillette FlexBalls aren’t cutting it, stop into G. Salzano’s to upgrade your tools. The small shop is the brainchild of Guido Salzano of Salzano & Son’s—and is just next door to the barber. It features high-quality products from Germany, Italy, and California. Because really, what bathroom is complete without razor handles made from hand-carved African birch wood or rose gold? 201 E. Fourth St., Suite 100, downtown, (513) 241-7297,




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