The neon mustache above The Shave’s door.
The neon mustache caught my eye.
The simple design burns above the door at The Shave Barbershop, one of the newest additions to my Poncey-Highland neighborhood.
What I found inside intrigued me further: an authentic barber shop, handsome and hip with hardwood floors, a pool table and Michael Jackson and Franz Ferdinand in the audio mix. Hunting trophies and old-school photos of bearded men on the walls. No appointments taken.
Does it sound like too much? I think it might now that I’ve written all of that.
Me after: Suddenly I’m Adam Levine. (Ha!)
Me before: not a total disaster.
But it’s not.
I also got a snazzy haircut, reasonably priced, and a great talk with my barber, Michael Sponsel. (Check out this amazing transition he shared on Instagram.) The barbers use old-school tools and modern techniques for contemporary styles. Beard trims. Shaves.
What’s His Story?
And I met owner Jackson Butler, who told me the tale of his business. A Gwinnett native who spent a decade in Los Angeles, Butler came home recently to visit the folks. Needing a haircut, he went in search of a barber shop like he’d seen in L.A. — not a chain and not your grandfather’s barbershop.
Jackson Butler and his dad put in the wood floors. I also dig the back wall — and the pool tables and hunting trophies are great conversation pieces.
Barbers Michael Sponsel and Mo Gonzalez
Long story short, he opened The Shave late last year, after laboring side by side with his father for weeks, refreshing their bond with a whole wave of new memories and stories. The shop is on Highland Avenue near North Avenue, the corner that’s home to Manuel’s Tavern, Videodrome, the King of Pops’ original cart — and lots of bearded dudes with trendy haircuts.
It’s a specific neighborhood, close to Inman Park, Virginia-Highland and Midtown — and The Shave reflects all of that as skillfully as it does the new masculinity inside. You’ll see hipsters, sure, but also a mix of ethnicities, ages, orientations… It’s hard to imagine anyone feeling uncomfortable.
In fact, I couldn’t help but imagine my own father there. It’s a lifelong association, since my career Army dad always took me to the base barbershop in the PX when I was a kid. Some things linger, you know — that jar of blue disinfectant. The hum of the clippers. The nothing-feminine-here aesthetic.
Because it’s not a salon, you know?
I like the spot, I like the dudes, I like the cut.
I like the story and the father-son connection.
Check it out: The Shave Barbershop, 630 N. Highland Ave., N.E. 404-565-0730. theshavebarber.com. And on Facebook.
Toolboxes from Jackson Butler’s grandfather are refurbished for the barber stations.
Well? Or good? Or both?
Pomades, beard balms and such … They’re also on display tables for sale.
Old-school masculinity, and facial hair, adorn the wall behind the reception desk.
Come on in and wait a little while — no appointments taken.
RELATED: Success Tips from the King of Pops
RELATED: Ex-reporter Now Serves as Atlanta Mayor’s Spokesman
RELATED: A photo tour of Ponce City Market