Best Spot for a Luxe Men’s Haircut

Wise Owl Club
2010 18th St. NW, (202) 705-9425
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

Wise Owl Club is for people who care about style but wouldn’t be caught dead in a Georgetown spa. It mixes the idea of an old-fashion barber shop with a contemporary, hip aesthetic. It’s for gents who care about appearance and want specialized care—minus all the highbrow snobbery that sometimes accompanies a high-end salon.

There are certain guidelines that accompany a visit to Wise Owl. First and foremost, they don’t take appointments. It’s first-come, first-served, which sometimes means a wait—especially on high-traffic weekends. It’s also not prudent to walk through the doors right before closing time. This place is happening and hopping, so you may have to put your name on a list and wait a bit. They will text you 10 to 15 minutes prior to your appointment. (Pro tip: If you have a wait, walk around the corner and get a cup of coffee or a sweet treat at Pleasant Pops.)

The no-appointment rule was established for good reason. Wise Owl staff wants to take the time to assess a client’s needs during his appointment, which means some guys will be in and out with a quick cut in 15 minutes, while others will require services that last the better part of an hour.

If it’s time to drop the beard after a long winter, treat yourself to a straight razor shave. It’s an old-school service that our grandads got on the regular, but it seems like a revelation to a new audience. The shave is a relaxing process on the part of the customer, but an exact art on the part of the talented staff. You go through a series of steps involving hot towels, a lather, a precise shave, and a face massage. Stylists are also great at assessing your skin’s needs following the service, and give instructions not to touch your face for 30 minutes so your skin has time to breathe and heal.

Wise Owl is the perfect hybrid of salon culture. It’s efficient but gives off an air of indulgence while remaining remarkably down to earth.

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