I’m clearly a sucker for punishment.
After all, I willingly entered a barbershop themed on the infamous tale of Sweeney Todd, knowing all too well of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street’s penchant of gruesomely murdering his clientele. The experience, however, was far from horrific; and I actually can’t recommend enough that you visit Sweeney’s Barbershop immediately.
Tucked between the high rise office buildings of the Cape Town CBD, at the bottom of Loop Street, you’ll find Sweeney’s Barbershop. The red, blue and white barber’s pole (or pillar) that dominates the middle of the shop will be the first thing you see as you walk through the glass doors.
‘Most of our customers are walk-ins,’ says Azaad, the resident barber – a straight edge razor in hand. There’s no need to make an appointment; simply walk through the doors and wait your turn. There were two gentleman already waiting when I arrived, one a heavy set tourist of Russian persuasion, and the other a local businessman on a lunch break.
Instead of making me wait, I was invited to enjoy a five-minute head massage, which I graciously accepted. I was lead to the back of Sweeney’s and into Mrs Lovett’s Massage and Beauty Studio. Thankfully I wasn’t transformed into a meat pie as I had feared, but was rather treated to a soothing head massage in a private room.
Mrs Lovett’s is a relatively new side to Sweeney’s Barbershop, but one that is growing in popularity due to the range of massages and beauty treatments on offer. A 45-minute Swedish massage will set you back R250, while a 60-minute deep tissue (sports) massage goes for R400. They offer waxing (I declined), facials, manicures (R200) and pedicures (R250).
Once my head massage was complete, Azaad lead me to his classic barber chair, and proceeded to give me what may best be described as the most thorough haircut of my life. A normal haircut will cost you around R160, with students having to fork over just R100. Add a classic hot towel shave (with a cutthroat razor) and you’ll be handing over R300 for the full package – a reasonable fee considering how pampered I felt by the end.
Azaad is self-taught, and has been cutting hair since he was 15 years old. I’ve had countless haircuts in my life and maybe a dozen or so hot towel shaves. Each however is indistinguishable from the last – until now. After my recent visit to the Demon Barber of Loop Street, I expect the number of memorable visits to the barber to go up dramatically.
When Open Mondays – Fridays 9 am – 6 pm, Saturdays 9 am – 4 pm, Sundays 9 am – 1 pm
Where 4 Loop Street, CBD (opposite Seattle Coffee Co.)
Cost Haircut R160, Student Cut R100, Hot Towel Shave R160, Haircut and Shave R300 (check out the price list online)
Contact +27 21 418 7700, [email protected], www.sweeneysbarbershop.co.za
Photography courtesy Sweeney’s Barbershop