Best Barber Shop in Kingston

Best Barber Shop in Kingston, OntarioGrowing up in a small town, my mother deferred to the local Beauty Salon to get my hair cut as the nearest Barber Shop was about 20 minutes away. She likely prefers to recall scenes from the Salon where I was propped up in a booster seat, sitting perfectly still and quiet, but I remember things differently. My memories of that Salon involve killing time by playing astronaut, which involved sticking my head into the large hair-drying units, as well as pretending the roaming mounds of hair on the ground were some sort of monster or pet. And then there was the day I was asked for an opinion about a new hair style that had been freshly applied to a mother of the bride who was on her way to the chapel. I responded with an innocent joke and proclaimed that I thought she looked like a shaggy dog. Needless to say my attempt at humor was lost on mother, the stylist and the remainder of the crowd at the Salon. After that experience, my mom welcomed the 20 minute drive to the Barber Shop, where I could read Sports Illustrated, listen to classic rock, and talk about dude-stuff with the male Barber.

I have many fond memories of the Barber Shops that I’ve frequented over the years.  By and large, the good ones are all the same in that the decor is horribly dated, the coffee-fueled staff are mildly surly, while conversations range from topical to deeply philosophical issues.  Since landing in Kingston, I’ve tried out a few different places and Barbers, which there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of.  Personal preference aside, I honestly feel as though I’ve found the best barber shop in Kingston. Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:

Which local Barber Shop do you prefer?

  • Vecchio's (38%, 43 Votes)
  • Dino's (32%, 37 Votes)
  • Sir Johnnies (11%, 13 Votes)
  • Generations (11%, 12 Votes)
  • University (formerly Olympic) (8%, 9 Votes)
  • Tom's (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 114

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Barber Shops are institutions that have survived the test of time.  If you drove down Princess Street 50 years ago, the colorful Barber Shop polls would be spinning just as proudly as they are today.  Sadly, the same thing cannot be said for shoe and TV repair, lawn dart merchants and the local record store, who have all gone the way of the dinosaur.  Unlike Salons who are constantly evolving with endless shelves of luxurious products, and pamper their clients with hand massages and mimosas, Barber Shops stick to a simple formula.  Sure, some throw in pleasant add-ons such as a hot towel over the face, post-cut scalp massage, back of neck shave with a straight razor, but in the end it’s all about the simple $10 hair cut, no appointment necessary.  A few local Barber’s such as Generations encourage lingering and minimize the pain of waiting your turn by offering a pool table in their shop.  I have yet to find a Barber Shop with a working Street Fighter II arcade machine, but when I do, I will have found the perfect Barber Shop.

What was your pick for the best barber shop in Kingston, and why do you feel such strong patronage? Are local prices fair in comparison to other cities, and what is your stance on tipping your Barber? Share some love for your favorite and the best barber shop in Kingston with a comment or two below.

Thanks to dave416 for today’s photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

18 thoughts on “Best Barber Shop in Kingston

  • For me, Vecchio is the king. I moved away from Kingston a while back and still return to have my trim and chat with the lads on Wellington St.

  • I picked Generations. I haven't been to many of the others, but I'm always happy there. Cristos cuts my hair exactly the way I like it, every time, and is fast. I think there are cheaper places, but I'll pay for reliability.

    • I used to go to Cristos all the time when he worked at Olympic. He's had his own shop for years now, and while I've always been tempted to check it out, the biggest deterrent for me is the price. Sure it's only a few bucks extra, but that adds up over the course of a year or more. Wish I could justify it.

      • I was sold on Cristos when I didn't have cash to pay him one time (he doesn't take debit, which is annoying) and he told me not to worry about it, I can get him next time. I few months later I forgot about the no-debit and he said the same thing. Been loyal to him ever since.

        I also really like his decor, his cleanliness, plus he's a big blues fan, so we have a lot to talk about.

        • That's a pretty common thing…barber shops not taking debit. Dino's is strictly cash, same for Olympic/University last time I checked. Pretty nice that Generations gave you a pass, twice.

        • Same thing happened to me at Dino's … went to pay only to discover there was no $$ in m y wallet… Hugely embarrassed but it was absolutely no problem … Dino said I could pay next time I was through … I came back later in the afternoon …

  • I’ve been going to Sir Johnnies for about 16 years now. The current owner Demetri is one of the nicest guys I’ve met – and I’ve now been taking my son there since he was 4 years old. He’s always up for talking sports, does a great job and will give regular customers free bottles of water, cans of coke, chocolate etc. My son loves going there because at the end of the haircut it’s like he also visited the candy shop!

  • Dino's is the place for me …. after a spat with his old landlord he has moved to a new location across the street and even closer to the downtown core… cheaper rent, larger space and much nicer with original tin ceiling… His prices have gone up a bit over the last couple of years … now $11 (tax included) but still a bargain.. I used to go to Tom's
    on a regular basis … the cheapest in town at the time but unless you are a HUGE Maple Leafs fan the decor begins to wear on you and besides Tom can be a bit grumpy…

  • Olympic is now University after a staffer bought it from the retiring owner early this year (who owned the first Olympic before retiring the first time and turning it over to Dino). The new owner Steve had previously worked at the Olympic that became Dinos. Only $9

  • Joe, the Swiss man on Bath. Me parla in italiano e me aiuta con il mio accento. Lui è il migliore!

  • I usually go to a female stylist who used to work at Edward Scissorhands but will sometimes go to Vecchio's if I'm in a hurry.

  • I voted Vecchio’s barbershop because they really do a great job & are quick & efficient.

    The new shop is in a much more convenient location.

    If you haven’t tried this place I highly revommend it & try the straight edge shave, not many places do straight edge shaves.

    Thanks Vecchio’s for the great cut!

  • found vecchios unfriendly and dirty, can anyone recommend a good place for full facial shave? i go to Sousan's on Princess and find them to cut quite well.they cut it just the way you like, none of this :"well, let's see, 5 minutes to cut hair to get on to next customer and "you'll like it" {no matter which way THEY decide to cut it}.
    thank you,
    new to kingston

    • Oh yeah? I am finding your username somewhat suspicious. And in what way was Vecchio's either unfriendly or dirty?

  • outstanding skill and service at vecchio's. Both father and son have their own styles, but it really does not matter which one you choose because when you leave you are sure it is the best haircut you have ever had. Both are genuine and friendly and truly interested in their customers. I live in Hawaii now and when I get back east; I plan to visit Vecchio's again. Always a pleasurable experience.

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