From the Freemans team, a temple of no-fuss men’s grooming.
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For a bushy-bearded guy you’ve only just met who has a garlic clove tattoo on his right forearm, Mike Sposito comes across as trustworthy enough that you’d allow him to put a straight razor to your throat. Maybe it has something to do with how well manicured that beard is. In any case, you know you’re in good hands once he hits you with a three-layer pre-shave lather and puts the second of several hot towels over your face.
Sposito is the head barber at Barber & Supply in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the latest F.S.C. Barber outpost launched under the watchful eye of founder Sam Buffa, who already has two New York City barbershops and a San Francisco shop under his belt, all of which are affiliated with the city’s three Freemans Sporting Club clothing boutiques as well as the ever-cool eateries Peels and Freemans. (Buffa is also the proprietor of the Vinegar Hill House and Hillside restaurants, which are separate from the Freemans empire.)
Where the 3,000-square-foot Barber & Supply differs from its brethren is in its focus on apothecary retail. Buffa’s recently launched online store, BarberandSupply.com, has its headquarters here, and attached to the barbershop is a physical retail space that will act as a rotating pop-up shop for companies such as Malin + Goetz.
With nine vintage-style chairs, a 16-foot circular bench made of hand-bent ash wood, and a garage door in the front, the space evokes both a classic barbershop and a farm-to-table restaurant in a giant loft. Buffa wanted to create an inviting atmosphere, a place where men can congregate. “The idea is to come in here and take a break,” he says. “We don’t offer WiFi. You might wait a little bit, so go grab a coffee somewhere and just chill out. Maybe meet your friends here and use it as a place to hang out.”
It’s a sensible next step in Buffa’s continuing evolution of the barbershop experience. When he opened his first F.S.C. Barber, in 2006, nothing like it existed, he says. “You either went to a salon or an old-school barbershop. There wasn’t that in-between.” Salon people weren’t trained in shaving, and barbers knew little about coloring and advanced hair-cutting techniques. Buffa merged the two concepts under one roof.
Now, he says, “with Barber & Supply’s expanded apothecary and different products, guys say, ‘Hey, there are these cool products that are made for me. I’m not stealing my girlfriend’s stuff from her shower.’”
Barber & Supply: 101 North Eighth Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718.522.4959