Best Old-School Barbershop

Gillis Barber Shop

506 Walnut | 816-421-5795

The haircut chains catering to men's desires — beer and buxom young stylists — aren't for every dude. Those who value a classic cut over gimmicks go to Gillis Barber Shop. The pink-and-gray linoleum floor and cylindrical ashtrays in the waiting area hint that the two-chair River Market operation hasn't been updated since 1972. When one of the shop's proprietors, John or Vince, gets you in one of the electrically powered chairs, you're in the hands of a master. But the clipping and snipping isn't the best part of a Gillis cut. The hot-lather machine purrs, and the warmth is spread around the back of your neck for a shave along the hairline with a straight razor. A feeling of sophisticated nostalgia washes over you with each razor stroke. To the city's credit, the gimmick-free shop still thrives. Bring cash and call ahead. As the business cards gently urge: "Appointments preferred."

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