Rafael’s Barber Shop is about a five-minute walk from either the First Avenue L or the Astor Place 6 stop in the East Village, and even if you don’t live near it, it begs to be a destination, if only for the consistency among its rotating cast of barbers, from the newer trimmers up to Rafael, the owner. A haircut — which includes a neck shave and brief massage — costs $19, a scarce price point in Manhattan. The attention to detail and listening ability of your barber will put even a first-timer at ease — and there are more and more of those as time goes on: Rafael’s customer base has grown to the point where your best bet is to make an appointment online a few days in advance (and in the morning, if you can hack it). The shop does welcome walk-ins, who are free to peruse the usually untouched copies of the New York Post and Daily News (or Playboy, if that’s your thang). In a town where style and money are critical, you can be sure of exiting Rafael’s with more of both than you probably expected.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014
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