Local Heroes #30 - The Barbertender Les Mecs Cheveux

Ever heard of the word 'Barbertender'? Well, Montreal correspondent Johann takes us to a very special place for a hair cut (and a drink).

Published by Guest on 19/05/2015

Before I met Steve Ikonopoulos, I was getting my hair cut at a regular salon. You know, the kind that offers cuts to both women and men, but boasts a decor that appeals more to the ladies. I chose this over barbers, assuming these men’s groomers were, well, groomers.

I (wrongly) assumed they had a repertoire of three or four different styles, most of them cuts my grandfather would appreciate. But then, one day, I found Les Mecs Cheveux. I was immediately drawn to this unique barbershop, located on Beaubien Street, between St-Denis and St-Laurent.

Time for a Q&A with Steve!

Hi Steve, when did you start your career as a barber?

My father was a barber. I helped him at his shop when I was about 15 years old.

That’s a long time ago! What kept you in this field for all these years?

Honestly, it might sound cliché, but passion. And this passion makes me strive for perfection. To this day, I am still mastering my craft. This applies not only to hair styling, but also to offering an experience that my clients can’t find anywhere else. I’ve put a lot of effort into the design and the offers of this shop, not to make more money, but out of passion for my profession.

How does the shop’s interior design influence your approach to men’s grooming?

It’s everything! The look and feel of the salon is a huge part of the whole experience. The two go together and must blend perfectly to represent and enhance the professionalism I aim for. If you are looking for a great men’s haircut, having it done in an environment that reflects gentlemanship and class is essential in my thinking. And guess what, I spend most of my time here, so better make it comfortable as well.

Some clients call you a Barbertender, how appropriate!

Obviously, I can fix you a haircut, and a drink! But I guess that, like the old school dive bar bartenders, clients feel they can talk to me about almost anything, ask me for advice, chat about life, sports, problems, etc.

Passion makes me strive for perfection. To this day, I am still mastering my craft. This applies not only to hair styling, but also to offering an experience that my clients can’t find anywhere else.

What’s up with the Blade, the mythical and signature cocktail you offer to your most beloved client?

When I came up with the idea to have a complete bar service for my clients to enjoy, I asked the advice of a client of mine, who was also a master mixologist. He helped me set up the entire bar. While we were practicing mixing cocktail recipes, the idea of a drink that would evoke the feeling of a close shave was brought up. A strong start but yet with a sweet finish of freshness.

So, what’s in it?

(Laughing) Are you crazy? Never going to tell you! Maybe if you can get me a little drunk, I could drop you one or two of the main ingredients…

Since you’ve opened Les Mecs Cheveux, it seems a lot of hip barbershops have popped up all around the city. What is your take on that trend?

It’s good, really. I don’t see it as a competition; I see it as a normal evolution of men’s taste. Guys know what they want: a great looking haircut done in an environment that appeals to their senses, the way it should be. The only thing to watch out is that not all of these new-era hip barbers can deliver the goods. Better watch out for phonies who will butcher your head for $50.

For years, Steve has operated the shop alone, which made booking appointments quite a challenge. Good news for everyone, he’s now finally hired (or I might say, selected) another talented barber to help him out: Roberto must be one heck of a barber, because of all the wannabes who’ve knocked on his doors over the years, he’s the only one who’s made the cut.

Montreal will now have even more freshly groomed men, and that’s always a good thing, word to your Barbertender.


All imagery to the courtesy of David Curleigh.

- Johann -

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