Getting a professional shave or trim should be fun, luxurious, curated and draw on classic and modern techniques. Barber of Hell’s Bottom couldn’t agree more, opening its first shop in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington D.C. in 2013, to introduce a more elevated barber experience to gentlemen of the District.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Andrew Williams Contributing writer
Cities, like the District, are littered with upscale salons and dry bars catering to women. Opening its first shop in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. in 2013, Barber of Hell’s Bottom is bent on introducing a more elevated barber experience to men, blending hairdressing with barber techniques, progressive and classic styles and a hyper-focus on curation. It’s a simple movement driving a broader premise – men are hungry for a space to call their own, where male grooming, beard trimming, hair fading, and mustache snipping are the main events.
barbers employing techniques passed through generations that favor tradition over trends.
Owner Kelly Gorsuch, who has guided and owned several of the District’s top salons and Barbershops, entered the industry at the age of seventeen. Gorsuch’s diverse expertise, time spent traveling the world styling runway and editorial shoots and eye for design provided the blueprint for the concept.
Post-civil war the area near 9th and Rhode Island Ave. NW was regarded as one of the city’s most dangerous places, spawning the moniker Hell’s Bottom. Of course, it was a “no-brainer” when the team was deciding on a name. Characterized by infamous lawlessness and hostility, it was treacherous to live, much less walk through the streets. A lot has changed since those days, though some of the ruggedness is preserved in the shop’s industrial elements.
The aesthetic in Barber of Hell’s Bottom’s 9 chair, 9 barber Shaw location is described by Gorsush as Americanized Wabi. Wabi is a Japanese term for humility and a lack of materialistic desire. Through this intentionality, Barber of Hell’s Bottom is “embracing the imperfect nature of materials and space.” Exposed white brick, a repurposed wooden church pew, dangling pendant lights, as well as black leather and steel chairs create an attractive, functional and harmonious atmosphere. The same can be said about your new look, with barbers employing techniques passed through generations that favor tradition over trends.
The service provided by its barbers also is about mastering one’s craft and the shop has worked to entrench itself in the community, setting an example for young kids to follow. Specifically, showing that you can find success, joy, and fulfillment in a “blue-collar” job. This charitable spirit is in-sync with its desire to maintain a zen-like setting for customers.
There’s a great line of high-end hair products by Outskirts available for purchase.
An episode of Lebron James’s The Shop was filmed at its 14th Street location.
Several of the District’s highest-rated restaurants are near-by, including Convivial, Chaplin’s and The Dabney.
They provide great on-the-fly advice about men’s grooming.