I hate getting my hair done. You go and make small talk with a stranger who often pulls your hair rather than brushing it softly. Then you come out and you’re not satisfied and have to deal with the result. Hence why my hair is a long untameable mass of split ends and I never let anybody touch it. Then I discovered Soho’s Blade Hairclub, where fancy cocktails and a great team make such a painful experience a treat, and there’s no going back to traditional hairdressing. Welcome to ‘hairclubbing’.
Walking into Blade is an experience in and of itself. The hairdressing element is clear from the word go, with funky-looking hair stylists, bartenders with flawless hair and the sound of hair dryers. Yet, at the counter the price list is right next to a hot drinks and cocktail menu,while a turntable plays blues, soul and jazz vinyls in the background and clients sip colourful drinks and they get a haircut.
After a day of work and a long commute, Blade helps you soothe your nerves with a long, anxiety-proof head massage during the shampoo session. Then once you sit down, your armchair comes with an iPad to browse the menu or to watch Netflix, or really just stare at your happy face while you’re drinking a Chestnut Honey Daiquiry (£7.20), made with rum, freshly pressed lime juice and raw Italian chestnut honey, or a Pomegranate Screwdriver (£8.60), with freshly pressed pomegranate juice, Rose Pink Crystal salt and Sacred Organic Vodka, which is distilled in London. You can either order from your chair and have a member of the team get you a drink, or you can hang out with Blade’s bartenders at the bar counter. I did a bit of both and got the chance to chat with the lovely Beth about similarities between small town and other random stuff while she worked her magic on my Chestnut Honey Daiquiri.
The brainchild of Soho stylist Julia Olofsson and musician-turned-entrepreneur D.T. Stroo, Blade Hairclub’s aim is to create a friendly, unpretentious, and upbeat place to get your hair done and hang out, and it does a great job at it. Whether you’re alone or with a friend, Blade is the best place to start your night: book just before dinner and let your usual boring pre-drinking session get a make-over – the venue even hosts live jazz nights!
Aside from cocktails, the bar offers whiskies, biodynamic wines and craft beer. Run by Stroo, the drinks are as good (or better) than those you can find in any London bar, but they’re often cheaper and healthier, featuring fewer ingredients and privileging freshly squeezed fruit and flavour in their mix. Upstairs, the espresso bar serves single-origin coffee and fresh cold-pressed juices.
Julia trained at Toni & Guy, perfected her barbering skills at the fast-turnaround and affordable Mr Toppers in Soho and was founding partner of Splash Salons in Soho. Her salon expertise and Stroo’s creative and no-nonsense approach to drinks have given us hairclubbing – and I couldn’t be more thankful. What a start to my Friday night!
Pictures: Carolina Are