MR., the barber shop with a bar
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SUPER EGO Tweet-tweet twitter. Tweet.
It's 6 a.m., and I think I just asked a mailbox for a light. Nonetheless, it was a cute and sturdy one, unlike the male boxes I usually encounter stumbling home from Nob Hill in the way-wee hours and at least I got that light. Right?
I'm pitching and reeling contentedly, mind from my new favorite little alcoholic hideaway, Writers Vice Lounge, in the cushy Hotel Rex, which looks and feels like a cocktail bar that crashed through the roof of an Ivy League library. Thus it combines two of my most beloved interests: tipple and antiquities. Plus, it's right off the hotel lobby, so there's all the bookish tourist trade one can handle. Therefore, my glorious exit at dawn. Now if only I could ...
Trr-eet! Trrr-eet! Twoodle-oo! Twoo!
What the fuck is that noise?!? I raise one gentle, half-gloved hand to my coif, wherein I feel a slight and unkind tugging.
Jesus Maria. There's a freaking bird in my hair.
I come from Detroit, the ne plus ultra of OCD hairometry. Amazing Motor City salons: Total Clips of the Heart, We Be Cuttin' Hair and Stuff, and the tip-top, Charlene's, a raucous, 24-hour bob-and-weave joint downtown. (There's nothing on this earth like a salon full of Detroit girls lit up like a Christmas tree in that city's postapocalyptic twilight). I was raised amid the black tradition of Hair Balls, in which scissor queens battled out their latest looks onstage, and preposterous topiary shark cages, UFOs, Mount Rushmore arose from the scalps of models whose asses had long ago fallen asleep. RuPaul would weep. So it was a damn shame I'd let my beehive become a bird's nest.
The Bay's got its fair share of fabu hairdoers too, from the superslick Chicago Barber Shop chain to the superglam Glamorama. But until now, you couldn't legally order a cocktail with your cut at any of them. What good's a clip without a (noncomplimentary chardonnay) sip?
So I pounced on the new MR., San Francisco's first fully liquor-licensed salon. Pardon me, barbershop. The friendly owners, Kumi and Sean, work hard to make it known that their gorgeous outfit in the Financial District is meant to hark back to the comfy hood hair joints of yore, for "real guys who want to enjoy themselves, get a quality cut, relax, and can handle a little smack from the rest of the guys."
If that "smacks" a bit of Metrosexual 2.0, then March Madness on the giant gilt-framed hi-def in the main room, the array of GQ accessories for sale at the bar, and the available treatment packages titled "Hitter," "Player," and "Mogul" clinched it for me. I even dressed metrosexual to go there! Black Kangol hat, stretchy silver poplin Banana Republic shirt, and a quick spritz of Axe. I was going in June 2000 and coming out Entourage, dammit. Now where's my frickin' chocotini?
Thing is, MR. is pretty fab even to the testosterone challenged like myself. After conducting three years' worth of interviews around the country with "real guys," the owners have planned everything to a tee from the average preferred height of the mirrors to the angular relation of the barber chairs to one another. Real guys are so anal! Soon Kumi and Sean will launch a 360-degree computer modeling program that will allow patrons to save their favorite haircuts to the MR. database. (Too bad the name CyberTrim's already taken). And in a delicious switch, ladies can toss back brewskis at the bar while their real guys get all gussied up.
I fell in love with Shirley, the utterly sweet shampoo girl, and swooned over barber Nick Calvanese aka. Nicky the Barber a Rat Packloving transplant from South Philly with slicked-back hair and a straight razor tattooed on his chest. But real guys don't swoon at least not when the other guy's holding scissors. In the end, I looked great. I walked out feeling if not exactly Jeremy Piven, then at least somewhat David Beckham. Yay for feeling David Beckham!
Now, which Pussycat Doll should I boink? *
WRITERS VICE LOUNGE
Daily, 5:30 p.m.late
562 Sutter, SF
Mon.Fri., 8 a.m.10 p.m.; Sat.Sun., 10 a.m.10 p.m.
560 Sacramento, SF