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Now Open: Bolt Barbers, But Don't Call it a Comeback

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There's a temptation to call the newly opened Bolt Barbers "retro"—after all, they're the first barbershop to open Downtown in more than 50 years, and the shop is accentuated with a jukebox, a shuffleboard table, an old-fashioned shoe shine station and other artifacts from older times. But these elements aren't merely a gimmick: They represent the craftsmanship and style of a certain era and serve a purpose. It's just a really big bonus that it all looks cool and fits the MO of the shop.

We stopped by on Saturday to take a look around and see the place in action. We lucked out and ran into Matt, the owner: he has a story that's just as good as any of the tales behind the equipment, furnishing and the building itself.

He's a successful defector from Corporate America who's following a passion with Bolt Barbers. Matt and his staff are committed to bringing a specific sensibility to their services (shearing, shining and shaving): old-school, but not old-fashioned. There's a very high level of craft and skill to everything they do, including modern-day cuts, too. (And yes, they do other styles besides a Mohawk.) If you're used to getting a haircut that makes you feel like you're simply one customer on a conveyor belt, you're going to experience a pleasant kind of culture shock: barbers have minimum time limits, to make sure each customer gets the proper service and attention.

You can totally see Bolt Barbers blooming into a neighborhood gathering place, too. It's a comfortable, friendly environment that seems to put people at ease (another bonus, considering they offer straight razor shaves). During our visit, there was a steady stream of customers and plenty of chit-chat. There were a few hipster-types, some everyday folks, and one homeboy getting the "Bald By Choice" special.

The thing that struck us as a little ironic about the place was that, in spite of all of the artifacts from years earlier, Bolt Barbers offers a look at what the future of Downtown might be: neighborhoody but welcoming, and wired into the little community it serves.
· Bolt Barbers [Official Site]