A Barbershop Membership Hemingway Would Have Loved

Classic vibes and modern convenience combine in this 1930s-style members-only barber room at Best of Seven Barbers.

Photographs courtesy of Geoff Best


Looking for a barbershop experience that will send you back in time? Best of Seven‘s Empire Society might be for you. The annual subscription service entitles customers to, among other things, discounts on retail products, a wider selection of drinks and a private, old-school barbering experience in the members-only Empire Room, a space that harkens back to a time when a shave and a haircut cost two bits.

The room resembles a typical barbershop in the 1930s, with vintage-style wainscoting, furnishings and brick pillars as well as recreations of vintage signage and even a trompe-l’oeil window onto the main street of a small town circa 1929, all hand painted by local signage expert Rick Janzen, famous for his work on Hell on Wheels and Inception. The centrepiece, a 113-year-old functioning barber chair, looks like a seat Hemingway would have been shaved in.

An annual membership to Best of Seven’s Empire Society is $275 and services performed in the empire room cost an additional $10.

Bow Valley Square, 403-457-2637, bestofsevenbarbers.com


Photo courtesy of Geoff Best

Best of Seven co-owner Geoff Best tracked this vintage barber chair down to an old “biker-type” living in Leavenworth, Washington who was selling it on Craigslist. “I phoned him and his first question [was] ‘What do you want to do with it?'” says Best. “I told him the story, and he said, ‘Okay, I’ll sell it to you. All these [explitive] doctors want to put it in their basement. This is a working chair. It’s been working for 115 years and I want to see it continue.'” After a short car ride there and back and a bit of reupholstery, the chair had found its new home.

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