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Old-School Grooming in the Mission
by Michelle Sieling on May 19, 2011
The guessing game of hipster or homeless may be coming to an end in the Mission if the opening of F.S.C. Barber, a new menís grooming station and boutique on the corner of Valencia at 18th Streets, is any indication.
Does F.S.C. Barber mean that young men of San Francisco will no longer artfully cultivate the just-rolled-out-of-bed-after-another-bender look? Probably not, but F.S.C. has a treatment for that. Itís called the ďhangover remedy,Ē and it entails a rose-water-and-eucalyptus-infused shave with a neck and hand massage ($25).
F.S.C. Barber is the third location of a New York-based venture that started back in 2006 as an alternative to high-end Manhattan salons. Taking a welcome step back into the 20th century, F.S.C. Barber fosters the almost lost art form of refined yet masculine menís grooming. It offers walk-in barber services (no appointment necessary) as well as a boutique in the back with a small selection of menís shoes, shirts, pants, suits and accessories.
The official grand opening wonít happen until June 1, so there are some finishing touches in the works. Though, it was hard to tell when I visited as all of the barber chairs were full, and there was a steady stream of visitors checking out the store.
Even if you donít plan on getting groomed or suited up, you should visit the light and airy 1,200-square-foot space. Not a lot of fuss, but the fixtures and features are dramatic. A 40-foot carved mahogany barber station from 1893 runs along the north wall. Waiting patrons can park themselves on a 1920s-style train station bench. Thereís a vintage shoeshine station and the flooring is salvaged maple panel from a Virginia factory.
The skilled staff members are trained both as stylists and barbers, which isnít something you often find. Services include menís haircuts and straight razor shaves (both $40). A beard trim is $15, and a shave and hair cut combo will cost you $70.
For your take-home upkeep, the apothecary area provides an assortment of menís skincare, hair and shaving products by MCMC, Odin, Malin & Goetz and Edwin Jaggerís handcrafted razors and badger hair shaving brushes, as well as a variety of home fragrance, travel kits, and accessories.
A pocket of the shop, separated by glass and wood panel, hosts a small collection of clothing and accessories from Freemans Sporting Club. Decorated with arrows, vintage boxing gloves and antique skis, itís got a rugged woodsman-crossed-with-sporty feeling.
Clothing here is refined but relaxed, and all made within ten miles of New York City. Eventually theyíd like to find local clothing manufacturers so they can make that happen here, too.
Menswear includes lightweight T-shirts like the soft cotton crew necks ($44) and long-sleeved button-up shirts such as the white with blue striped Machinist ($208). Thereís also a small assortment of denim and trousers like the Winchester, a slim-fitting, plain front chino with high quality Corozo buttons at the waistband and back pockets ($191).
$468 will get you a navy spring weight parka made of Ventile cotton. Whatís notable about Ventile is that itís a waterproof material that was created under the direction of Winston Churchill. During World War II in Brittan, rubber was rationed. Churchill was looking for a different kind of material for fire hoses. It didnít work for that but it makes great outerwear, and in the end, the British used it for immersion flight suits.
Suits, made of dead stock English wool, run about $2,000 and up. Currently, there are four fits available, but they hope to bring on a tailor soon so those silhouettes can be customized.
Shoes include an exclusive line of PF Flyers such as The Mohonk, a streamlined version of a 1949 PF canvas rec boot ($80 high tops, $70 low tops) and The Taghkanic, a revised saddle shoe ($70).
Rounding out the boutique offerings are lifestyle accessories including Stanley flasks and thermoses ($20 and $40, respectively) as well as Brooks saddles ($116).
Even if the clothing isnít your taste, a fresh shave and a hair cut is appreciated by all. Check it out.
696 Valencia Street
Cross: 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Sunday: 10am - 7pm
Tuesday: 11am - 8pm
Wednesday: 11am - 8pm
Thursday: 11am - 8pm
Friday: 11am - 8pm
Saturday: 10am - 7pm
by Michelle Sieling on May 19, 2011