A scalp massaging shampoo, conditioning treatment, hot facial towel, professional haircut, manicure, shoe shine, beverage of choice, and a straight-razor shave. All done while coddled by full service attendants (who just so happen to be beautiful women) that fully understand the time honored tradition of a man’s grooming regimen.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Nope, and the Gear Patrol New York team has the proof. We’ve died, gone to a bit of man-grooming heaven, and returned… with photos to prove it.
Patrick Tuttle, Brian Huang, Ben Bowers, Stephen Thorpey, Linus P. So, and myself took an hour out of our busy workweeks for a brief Gear Patrol outing. After procuring our fair share of John Allan’s products to review, we felt it necessary to make an in-person visit to the much ballyhooed John Allan’s Full Service Experience. The bulk of us made reservations at the New York location, while Linus P. So experienced the newly established John Allan’s Chicago.
Enter the John Allan’s midtown New York location, an entirely unassuming storefront, and you’ll be greeted by an indisputably charming woman who checks your appointment (walk-ins also welcome) with a smile. Your coat is then taken and a robe provided for the duration of your experience.
With the full service treatment, you begin with a scalp massaging shampoo. Unlike the jackhammer vigor your current barber (at least mine) uses to take the product out of your hair, the all-black clad attendees of John Allan really work your scalp and infuse shampoo into follicles you never knew you had. Rinse, lather, and repeat, indeed.
Following the scalp massage you’re whisked off to reclining barber chairs where a hot towel is applied to your face pre-haircut. The hot towel is a time honored, yet under-appreciated part of a proper grooming regimen. It’s not to be missed.
We’re sensitive to the unfamiliarity of not going to the barber you’ve been going to for the past decade. The experienced stylists at John Allan’s are selected by John Allan himself and, needless to say, they are hair ninjas. Some men choose to stick with one particular stylist, but find comfort knowing that you’ll be in deft care regardless of who’s at the helm of those shears. The casual conversation that ensues is a friendly reminder that your hair is being cut by a woman you’d want to strike up a talk with during post-work drinks. Nice.
It shouldn’t be omitted that at some point in this process, you’ve been asked what kind of beverage you’d like, in my case, a draught Heineken. It should also not be omitted that this beverage awaits you as you relax into your leather club chair for that haircut – beer in hand, hair in care. Now we’re talking.
During the haircut and bev portion of the service, you have the option to get a manicure. Now, before you go thinking “a manicure? come on..,” know that you should try one before you knock it. It’s well documented that women pay attention to your hands. Your rugged jawline is one thing, but rough hands don’t make the grade. Swallow that bloody pride of yours and get your nails in order. You won’t regret it.
To Patrick’s “facial wooly mammoth” chagrin, time didn’t afford us the ability to participate in the straight blade shave (available at the Saks Fifth Avenue location). but I’ve been assured by trusted friends that the experience is bar none (oh, and done so by a man as it should be).
The Crew’s Take:
The entire team took a few moments in reflection to share their thoughts on the experience. Here’s what they had to say.
Patrick Tuttle – John Allan’s is a place where a man can be sybaritic and still feel like a man. How can you not appreciate the juxtaposition of drinking a beer with one hand while getting a “man”-icure with the other?
Stephen Thorpey – Who said beer and haircuts don’t go together? John Allan’s is my home away from home. In the tight job market we’re all in now, appearance goes a long way. The club’s manly setting allows me to feel comfortable with the grooming and personal attention I receive from an attractive staff – no man should feel embarrassed about caring for their appearance. During lunch or after work, a quick clean-up or long escape from the hustle and bustle, I always manage to leave refreshed and relaxed. And unlike so many other barbers and salons, there is never a wait – the moment I walk in, I’m greeted with a smile and draped with a terry cloth robe while my jacket and bag are quickly whisked away into coat check. Best part is – the price is right!
Brian Huang (a man of many words) – This was a rich experience with a level of care that’s second to none… much like a warm welcome like you’ve been a customer all your life.
Ben Bowers – As someone who has never been into “grooming”, I must admit the John Allen experience was eye opening. My stereotypes of what kind of guy you have to be to appreciate the small details of being well kept is now out the window. Looking at the top of your game never felt more luxurious.
Linus P. So – The John Allan’s experience is a manifestation of Gear Patrol’s mission to Advance Yourself. From the moment you settle in for your haircut to your last sip of their gourmet espresso, every second at John Allan’s Chicago re-energizes the soul. And you emerge ready to take on the world, from head to toe.
Cost: $65 (single visit) | $720 (unlimited visit, 1-year membership)
All photos on the next page.