BY BOB KRASNER | Champagne, munchies, rockin’ tunes from a live band, dancing, dapper gents and sophisticated ladies — everything you could want for a birthday party was in place on Friday night. The place being the Haar & Co. Barbershop, where owner Michael Haar hosted a shop full of friends and clients who helped celebrate the second anniversary of his tonsorial emporium.
After several sets of “Hillbilly Boogie,” the band, East Village regulars the Susquehanna Industrial Tool and Die Co., with special guest singer Stella Rose St. Clair, serenaded Haar with their unique version of “Happy Birthday” as the birthday cupcakes were presented. After blowing out the candle, Haar took the mic to thank everyone and declared that, “this is the most amount of people we’ve had in the shop at one time!”
Haar, born and raised in Queens, has been a DJ on East Village Radio and WFMU and played in various punk bands, though not particularly notable ones. “Don’t even bother googling it!” he says. He put himself through barber school by shucking oysters at Live Bait and has been cutting hair for the last 13 years, in London and Italy as well as NYC.
Haar, who has always worked below 14th Street, settled into the 45 Christopher St. address in part because he “liked the historic neighborhood.” Also, since he lives in Chelsea, he has the luxury of walking to work.
In a city where barber shops seem to be multiplying like nail salons, Haar muses on what makes his establishment different. After noting that the interior was created with the help of an architect and a branding agency, he relates that, “we offer professionally casual service. It makes people comfortable immediately.”
The proprietor has about 300 personal clients, which means one has to plan in advance if you want the master’s touch. Dan Hermann, also a friend of Haar’s who has been a client for the past six years, complains that, “he’s booked for months in advance!” Not so, says Haar, who says that he’s booking about three to four weeks out. “But,” he notes, “I am cutting back in order to take time to build the business.”
Which means that his handpicked staff will be a little busier, including the new guy, Kenneth Vick. He’s settled in after only two weeks and he’s pretty happy about it. “I like the vibe here!” says Vick. “The vintage barber chairs, the deco design – everything done with great care. It’s Michael’s dream and we’re all living in it. It’s wonderful.”
More information can be found at www.haarandco.com