This cultishly popular chop-shop, with butter-yellow walls and exposed brass-pipe fittings, occupies a tiny storefront in the landmarked London Terrace apartment complex. Since 1997, well-groomed Chelsea guys and clued-in gents from all over the city have been lining up for reliable, stylish cuts that won’t send them into credit-card debt. And line up they do: Since there are only three stations, there’s a perpetual queue of BlackBerry-punching patrons waiting to don a salmon-colored smock and get snipped, clipped, or buzzed. (Arriving when the shop opens is the only way to guarantee a fairly fast turnaround.) Bertilda Garcia, the affable proprietor, honed her trade at the Sherry-Netherland hotel’s barber shop and has exacting standards for her own business. Meticulous, unhurried cuts are the norm, and she also insists on a scrupulously clean space, a relaxed vibe (other than the stereo, noise is kept to a minimum), and Kiehl’s products (the only ones used). Old-school touches like straight-razor cleanups and steaming, menthol-scented towels are incorporated into every service. — Lexi Dwyer
NEW YORK MAGAZINE, Critics picks, Profile.
$40 a pop, including a hot shave of the sideburns and neck. A great deal. Be ready to stand though if it is too crowded. The aura is very old-school and classy. The wait took about 36 minutes on a Friday early evening. NEW YORK MAGAZINE, Critics picks, Profile.
Hipper than your average old-school haircutter, it has a strong following among the fashion-forward (yet thrifty) residents who live upstairs in London Terrace. A basic men’s haircut is $40 — and maybe you’ll meet someone while you’re waiting. NEW YORK MAGAZINE, Critics picks, Profile.
2002Beauty Best Men’s Haircut
Chelsea Barber 465 West 23rd Street 212-741-2254 GREAT DEAL: If you don’t mind waiting on line, Chelsea Barber offers a quick but stylish shearing for a mere $40.
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Beauty & Fitness: Best Barbershop
Sixteen months ago, Bertilda “Betty” Garcia, a Colombian immigrant, opened up in a shoe-box-size space on the ground floor of the historic London Terrace apartment building. Since then, Chelsea Barbers (465 West 23rd Street; 741-2254) has attracted the likes of Todd Oldham and Joan Didion, who wait for up to half an hour for one of Betty’s $40 cuts. How good is Betty? Mark Kostabi is another ecstatic customer. “I used to go to John Sahag,” says the artist, as if he were confessing a grave transgression. “But Betty is much better. The haircut she gave me has changed my life. My girlfriend, Gwen, actually fell in love with me because of my haircut.”
The Surest of Shaves
Travel and leisure magazine
Four cities where men are returning to the age-old tradition of getting a close shave
Chelsea Barbers When someone’s holding a straight razor to your throat, it can be hard to get comfortable. But reclined in a vintage-style, 1,000-pound barber chair, I started to relax. I was under the soft-spoken but firm-handed care of Bertilda (Betty) Garcia, and in seven years of professional shaving she has yet to draw blood. The shop has been open only since December, but it has found a niche. “The shave is coming back,” says Betty. “People want to take care of themselves again.” The neighborhood packs the shop Fridays and Saturdays, with regulars under the knife twice a week (the effects of a professional shave usually last twice as long as an amateur one).
At the end, Betty applies the time-honored dusting of talc. When the chair is cranked back upright and my shiny mug appears in the mirror, I can see that, along with a little tension, Betty has stripped me of every trace of beard. CHELSEA BARBERS, 465 W. 23rd St.; 212/741-2254. —Paschal Fowlkes
Greg D. 10/14/2013
I moved here from Southern California about 3 years ago and have been searching for a great barber/stylist ever since. I can finally say I’ve found my place. I stopped in today (no appointments btw) and got the best hair cut I’ve had in almost 3 years. Ray was my guy and he did an awesome job. He listen to everything I said and made great suggestions along the way. He took his time and made it feel like he had a plan for every single hair on my head. It includes a nice straight razor and hot towel, all for only $40. Trust me that is cheap for cut and style in NYC. I’ve been to John Allan ($75), Art of Shaving ($50) both appointment only and neither came close to this place! The search is over!
I stay in the building when i visit NYC but have never gone down to get a haircut. Idiot. This was one of my favorite of all time. It’s so quiet and clean in there and my barber whose name was Max (i think) moved like an assassin. The price didn’t bother me at all. 40 bucks for a great haircut? big deal. I’ll be back next month. And it’s cash only, but there is a bank next door.
Chelsea Barber 465 West 23rd Street 212-741-2254 GREAT DEAL: If you don’t mind waiting on line, Chelsea Barber offers a quick but stylish shearing for a mere $40. ODB
threat your self!
By slayermav on 5/15/2003
Overall Rating: 10
Yes, I would go back!
I READ ABOUT THIS PLACE IN GQ OF ALL PLACES AND I WAS LOOKING FOR A NEW BARBER BECAUSE I CAN’T STAND STYLIST SO I TOOK THE TRIP OVER FROM JERSEY AND IT WAS WELL WORTH IT! FOR 40$ I GOT A GREAT HAIR CUT AND A HOT TOWEL THAT WAS GREAT IT WAS A BARGIN!
great cut. love the hot towel & neck shave. didn’t get the barber’s name but he was quiet but friendly and really focused. one of the best haircuts i’ve had in a long time. i’ve seen it busy, but late in the afternoon midweek was pretty chill. the place has a nice vibe — comfortable space with interesting details. in my opinion, still a really good value at 40 + tip. T.O. BROOKLYN NY
A Google User reviewed 2 years ago
I stumbled upon ‘Chelsea Barbers’ by accident and a spur of the moment decision to have a wet shave didn’t disappoint.
The place in meticulously clean and the service was 1st class.
If you want to pamper yourself with a wet shave this is the place to go.
A Google User reviewed 3 years ago
Been coming here from Chicago every month for two years. The guys definitely know how to read a client. I’m not a talker whilst having my hair cut and they get that. The place is super clean and they have done a great job every time. i don’t even care who i get when i arrive…they’ve all done excellent every time. Check it out. Just don’t show up on the day i show up…i don’t like to wait!
Joined 4 years ago
February 23, 2009
Best Haircut in a long time.. I have very difficult curly mature hair, I don’t like to spend much time on it usually a little serum and finger into place and let dry and let mother nature take it’s course. I have received some really interesting shapes in the course of my lifetime to say the least.! After looking in the mirror this morning I saw a true disaster staring at me in the face. Knarly ratted hair which the last stylist said would not happen if they thinned it…WRONG!!!! I walked into Chelsea Barber as a last ditch effort to try and restore my once glorious mane, if it were not to work out I would have simply purchased shaving cream and just shave it bald and call it a century. I was greeted by Ray he asked what to do with it I meekly asked for a tape-up the haircut I have been trying to achieve for 2 yrs. Ray went to work and WOW!! my hair has not looked this good in a long time it’s absolutely perfect ! He did not rush at all the care he showed my hair is reflected in how good it looks!! Thanks Ray!!
Joined 5 years ago
July 10, 2008
A Cut Above. I have had a lot of haircuts, in different countries and many barbershops or stylists, but never have I had a haircut like the one I had here. It was perfect: the barber was skilled, and interpreted my requests to perfection. The banter was friendly but not intrusive, and his use of the razor on my neck and around the ears impeccable. The hot towel at the end made me feel like a new man. It was exactly what I needed, and all for a very reasonable price. I’m a happy customer, if you work or live anywhere nearby go and have a great haircut.