A shave and a haircut: Lefty's brings barbershop traditions back to PB
by BARRY SCHWARTZ
Sep 27, 2007 | 958 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When you walk into Lefty's Barbershop on Garnet Avenue, you might feel like you've stepped through a time warp. The three barbers standing by their traditional chairs wearing crisp white coats look like an old photo from grandpa's album and may bring back memories of a Saturday trip to the barber with dad.

Owner/barber Brian Burt has been cutting hair for four years, and he and his crew concentrate on the old-fashioned service that barbershops used to be known for, when the guys all knew your name and it was a sort of social hangout. A twist on the traditional model is that customers have become so loyal that walking in does not guarantee a seat, with appointments the norm.

"About 80 percent of our customers are regulars, once someone comes in, they're hooked," Burt said. "We're friendly, and we don't rush. I want our customers to relax, but I'm a real stickler on time so you won't wait to get in the chair."

Looking around the room is a history lesson in itself, with photos of Burt's grandparents and great-grandparents on the walls and shelves. He even has old razors and bottles of shaving cream on display. Walls opposite the mirror hold photos of celebrities from Dean Martin and John Travolta to Johnny Cash.

The customers all seem to agree that the service is why they return cut after cut. Most heard about the shop from buddies who are regulars, but many just pop in and never go anywhere else.

"I've never been pleased with the way anyone else cut my hair, but all my friends come here and I just came in with them," said customer Wes Philley. "He just hooks it up every time, and the atmosphere is great too."

With this kind of loyalty, Burt had to hire some help to meet Lefty's increasing number of clients. Enter Matt "Mitch" Mitchell and Brent Farris, who, with tattooed arms and white coats, share the same crisp look as their boss. Both are naturals and have a great rapport with their customers.

Another unique service of the shop is the wedding party cut and shave.

While it's common for a bride and her wedding party to spend part of the wedding at the salon getting their hair and nails done, Burt has opened his shop up for the groom and his friends to get cleaned up for the big day.

This year he did a half-dozen of the Saturday morning affairs, allowing the guys to enjoy time together and walk out looking sharp.

And the brides love knowing the guys will show up at the wedding clean-shaven.

Customer Michael O'Grady said he definitely plans to stop by Lefty's before walking down the aisle.

"When I get married, I'll definitely bring the guys in," O'Grady said.

In this age of unisex salons and chain haircutting shops in every mall all over the city, it's refreshing to be able to step back and experience the way a haircut used to be.

"We focus on quality, not quantity, and I know what's going on with everybody who comes in," Burt said. "It's like and old-fashioned gas station with full service, when they used to check your oil level and tire pressure."

Lefty's Barbershop is located at 1339 Garnet Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For information call (858) 274-5913 or visit www.leftysbarbershop.com.
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