Beards, beer and barbering

Hamish Mackean, owner and barber at  Barber on George  stands outside his George St barber. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

Hamish Mackean, owner and barber at Barber on George stands outside his George St barber. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

A bloke might not feel much like venturing out for a haircut in mid-winter, admits Barber On George owner Hamish Mackean. But the free beer might tempt them.

There’s a cold one with every haircut at the salon, customers helping themselves from the retro-style fridge beside the door that fits right in with the feel and style of the salon, which still has the original barber’s chairs.

Hamish doing what he does best, mens haircuts. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

Hamish doing what he does best, mens haircuts. Image: Melanie de Ruyter for Winterlicous 2019.

The place goes back, with a Barber-On-George cutting gentlemen’s hair in this part of the town for decades. Hamish reels off the names of five barbers of Launceston who owned it before he bought it from previous owner Lou Philips. It’s been around the block, literally, on George Street for thirty years and before that in what’s now the Black Cow Bistro’s kitchen, and next door to Boag’s Brewery.

There’s nothing old-style about the haircuts. Hamish has been ‘in the game’ a long time and trains his staff personally to cover off everything a man can need for his styling requirements. There’s a formidable list of possibilities - tapering, fades, flat tops, quiffs and pompadours. But if your crowning glory is less fancy than that, he’s confident they can manage ‘pretty much anything that walks in the door’ – plus your all-essential man-scaping for beards as well.

Men don’t want to make appointments and feel too regimented, says Hamish, who runs things on a list-system. Customers write their name down when they walk in, grab a beer and settle down to wait on the bank of seats from an old theatre in Deloraine that now occupies one wall. It’s often full, and the atmosphere is deliberately blokey and casual.

Whether it’s the vibe,  the cuts or the beer, the shop is so popular that the team once managed 190 haircuts in a two day period sandwiched between Easter closing and the start of a new school term – a perfect storm of haircutting.

Winter or summer, on any given day the brightly lit salon is a hub for old and young men with a desire to keep their locks lush whatever the season. Hamish and his staff wait with clippers at the ready.

Barber on George 45 George St, Launceston

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