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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.

Related Articles 
The New Male Vanity (April 2001) NEW YORK MAGAZINE

 

 

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

March 1998

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

 

 

PUBLIC REVIEWS

 

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!

 

John D.’s review of Chelsea Barbers

 

10/6/2011

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

Atmosphere: (NA)

Service: 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

Overall Excellent

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

Overall Excellent

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!

 

vin46

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!!

 

borfudin

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


5 comments on “Reviews

  1. Mark Zeff says:

    I have been coming to have my hair cut at this great little place for 10 years and with out a dought this is the best barber experience in the city.
    Every barber is top notch and no matter who cuts your hair, you are ensured a perfect cut .
    Betty of course is the consumate host and runs this place ensures only the best.

    I hope you try it out,

  2. Lucas Hoard says:

    I’ve been to many barbershops and I have to say that this is by far the best one in the city. The place has a great atmosphere, and the haircut itself is exquisite. The barbers make it their priority to make the customers feel comfortable, and I must say that my experience there was excellent. The warm towel at the end is breathtaking and tops off an amazing haircut experience, I would recommend this place to anyone.

  3. Brad B. says:

    Brad B.
    Manhattan, NY
    2/26/2015
    Been coming here since I moved to NYC. Great place, very professional and the best cuts. Betty is sweetheart!

  4. Julian M. says:

    Julian M.
    Tuxedo Park, NY
    10/8/2014
    This has become my go-to barber shop. It’s truly amazing to walk in and know I’m going to get the perfect cut. I’ve never experienced that before this place. It’s worth the price and then some for the attention to detail and great service. Go and you’ll be glad you did.

  5. Keith G. says:

    Keith G.
    New York, NY
    1/2/2014
    I weighed giving this place a 4 or 5-star rating, and decided on the 5 because it is possible to get 5-star service if you follow this piece of advice: wait for Betty. It’s her shop, but she is very unassuming about it.

    When you get your hair cut there, and especially by Betty, you get a pair of hands that have done thousands of haircuts, with care, insight, intentionality and precision. For me, it’s always been a very Zen experience. It feels like she is able to cut my hair with the theoretical minimum number of scissor or razor strokes, and that efficiency appeals to me.

    (I will never forget my opposite experience once, at a Japanese hair cutter down on 19th Street. It was a lovely place, but with that haircut, each clip felt like she was removing one millimeter of hair from one hair shaft… by the end of the haircut I wanted to scream. Actually no, that feeling came up well before the end!!)

    It’s not just efficiency, however. The music is almost all instrumental, which I find far less annoying and distracting than what’s popular now. The color scheme, the scents of the products used, the brief shoulder rub, and the hot towel at the end… all of this goes toward what some have identified as an “old world” experience, but I dunno. I’ve been getting my hair cut for over 50 years and I don’t have any experience of this before. It’s just a delight.

    As for the other barbers here, I cannot attest to their abilities. Some are doubtless better than others. There’s the tall good-looking guy (be forewarned: not only is he straight, but he’s married). He’s been good. And the guy in the picture at the top has also done a good job for me on the several occasions I’ve taken his chair.

    But for me, Betty is the key.

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