26 September 2013

Worth Every Penny: Dente's Barber Shop

And speaking of manly hipster beard stuff.....

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


Some Assembly Required said...

I tried to go to Dente's once, probably eight or nine years ago. It was right after they'd opened in the morning and there were already three or four people waiting ahead of me, and on that particular day I couldn't wait around. But it's good to know they are still thriving.

I go to M. James, which is down at the base of Winter Hill on Temple St., just around the corner from Broadway. I used to live near there and have been getting my hair cut there for about a decade. It's only $19, which isn't much more than Dente's charges (though when I started going it was only $12). It's a local type of place with no attitude.

Main Line Sportsman said...

My kind of place. Sadly they are few and far between these days...I am jealous.

randall said...

Amen brother.

My go to is the barber shop where I've gone since I was a baby. Sometimes I'll run into my father there if I get there early enough. For sure no selvedge denim and ironic mustaches there and about a year or so ago, my man Tony actually LOWERED the price of a hair cut.

Though when I lived in Boston I would go to Firicano's in the North End to get cleaned up. I lived in East Boston so that was the first stop on the subway for me. I always thought they gave a decent haircut, although a bit in the "Everett" style for my New York tastes.

WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

It looks and sounds great! Sadly, we no longer have anything like Dente's in my smaller Midwestern city. Sigh.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich von B.

Roger v.d. Velde said...

Looks like a nice place. My brother runs a barber's shop in another city in another country from me. It's kitted out simply, like a shop from around the '50s; with a jukebox too.

Cutting hair is always necessary so he makes a living - sort of - but it requires he puts in some hours with the reasonable prices he charges.

Sadly I thinned out years ago and can even enjoy the free haircuts I might get when I visit him...boo hoo.

Young Fogey said...

What a great place. You're fortunate to have found such a traditional shop and that its barbers are still young(-ish).

My barber shop is run by an 82-year-old barber and his baby brother, who's 80. Eighteen bucks for an excellent haircut. Sadly, they stopped shaving faces many years ago, but it's still a great place to get a proper haircut and to hang out with the local men. I particularly enjoy being able to take my son with me, but I wonder where I will go when my barbers either retire or pass on. Nobody else around here can cut hair worth beans!

RHW said...

My barber wears a white barber's smock, and a mid-1060's Rolex Submariner that is beat to hell. He once cut hair in the Navy. He's a one chair shop, $12 a cut, straight shave, hot towel, aftershave, the works.

I go every 3 weeks and always look forward to the chatter, insights and stories. No hipsters in sight.

Drew said...

Shh ...

Don't spoil the secret. Elizabeth is the greatest, and I can usually get into a barber chair in about the same amount of time it'd take me to hop the T to La Flamme in Harvard.

Anonymous said...

I recently moved from Beacon Hill out to Sudbury. I recently found a great place, Saxony Barber Shop, in the Saxonville section of Framingham. Sounds very similar to Dente's; $14 for a cut, straight razor shaves, bay rum aftershave, etc, etc. One of the highlights of my move out to the suburbs.