I like a good haircut, simple and old fashioned. I don't have any especially difficult instructions when I get a haircut, but I do like it to be neat and clean. These days, what you might call "barber shop culture" has become quite hip, and that's fine if it gets young guys into it. You know the stuff: straight razor shaves, clean haircuts with sharp side parts, bay rum aftershave. etc. It's all good stuff, but it can come with a pretty big "street cred" premium. Lucky for me, Dente's Barber Shop in Davis Square, Somerville, Mass. offers all these things too. The difference is that it's honest, and I don't have to pay double for a barber with a handle bar mustache and tattoos wearing $400 Japanese selvedge denim jeans.
Dente's Barber Shop offers these services not because they're cashing in on a hipster trend, but simply because it's what they do. Operating in one form or another for nearly 100 years in practically the same location, Dente's has been a family business the whole time. Currently run by brothers Ernest and Anthony Saccoccio and their mother Elizabeth, Dente's may not be the most hiply decorated place, but it's without a doubt the most honest and real barber shop I've seen. That's why it's been my regular place for the past twenty years.
Red Sox and Bruins photos line the walls, sports on the t.v., and generally classic rock on the FM radio. No frills, no bullsh*t, just barber shop. I've been getting my hair cut there since high school. My grandfather used to get his hair cut there, every two weeks. Back then, English was rarely heard in the place, only the Italian of the old men who gathered there as much for the social interaction as the haircuts. Hell, half those guys were bald anyway. These day's, it's a younger crowd, but the comfortable atmosphere and affordable prices remain.
Cheap and quality, my favorite combination in any number of things. They even offer the "shape up", a quick clean up trim between full haircuts, for half price.
Old style tools, on vintage 1940s chrome cabinets. You can't fake that.
Plenty of hot towels on hand for your straight razor shave. Ernest is definitely the guy to see for shaves, but you might want to book an appointment. He works slow and carefully, taking a half an hour or more. It's relaxing, so be careful not to doze off in the chair. And don't plan on doing anything important afterwards. You won't want to go to work after that.
These guys get busy, but they move the lines pretty quick. If you do have to wait, and you don't feel like staring into your phone playing candy crush, there are plenty of dude magazine to look at, only slightly out of date.
If you're in the neighborhood, stop in for a haircut. Located right around the corner from my own shop, you could spend a nice afternoon visiting both places.If you do drag you girlfriend/wife with you, both places have comfortable "girlfriend" chairs, but Davis Square has plenty for her to do too.
A shave and a haircut at Dente's may cost a little more than two bits, but it's worth every penny.
Dente's Barber Shop
471 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA, 02144