Blending Barbershop Heritage with Modern Amenities

Micah Nickens (left) and Garrison Neill at The Parker Barber in New Orleans

When you walk into The Parker Barber at The Ace Hotel in New Orleans you instantly feel a sense of community, heritage and undeniable manliness. The place just oozes cool masculinity with its distressed leather couches, vintage barbershop chairs, rough-wood accents and even an antique motorbike. “We wanted to create a chill, community vibe,” says Garrison Neill, Co-Founder of The Parker Barber, an Aveda-affiliated barbershop. “We’ve noticed that clients are even bringing in their friends to hang out while they get their service done.” 

A vintage-meets-modern, hyper-masculine aesthetic

To create this sense of community, Neill and his partner Micah Nickens looked to the way barbershops used to operate. “We felt that old-school shops got it right by creating a community space,” says Neill. “So we put the seating right behind the chairs to encourage group conversations. Another game changer was to have a shampoo bowl at each chair. Some men were never really comfortable in the salon because they didn’t like walking across the room with wet hair.” 

Southern hospitality means complimentary beer and whisky.

As for the design aesthetic, the duo drew on everything, from the historic location to family history. “We love texture. The apothecary feel of the past with the subway tiles mixes really well with the charred-wood wall,” says Neill. “And, my grandfather was the first Yamaha dealer in the Midwest, so we had to put his bike in the shop.” Capitalizing on the “Nola” location and tradition of southern hospitality, the staff offers each guest a complimentary beer or whiskey. “It’s not that odd in our section of the industry anymore, and drinks just seems to fit a men’s grooming shop,” says Nickens. “As long as everyone is at least 21, and you aren’t selling alcohol, you don’t need a liquor license in New Orleans. I hear it’s difficult in other cities, but why would you want to live in one of those?” It’s this attention to detail, pride in their city and commitment to clients that’s making their shop the talk of the town. “We custom-designed everything, and clients can feel that,” says Neill. “Today, men are looking for something that’s unique, not a cookie-cutter approach to barbering.” And, with their packed appointment book, we’d say that their personalized method is suiting them quite well.

Photography: Courtesy of The Parker Barber/Aveda