On a sunny weekday morning in the Capital, Garry and I found ourselves – not behind desks in the Experience Days office – but amidst the salubrious surroundings of Mayfair. We were here to visit Gentlemen’s Tonic, a luxury establishment offering traditional barbering, grooming and lifestyle services to London’s most discerning men, since 2004.
The flagship shop is on Bruton Place, within just 10 minutes’ walk of Piccadilly Circus. As we made our way along the secluded street, however, it was hard to believe that the city clamour lay within such short reach. Tailors shops neighboured high-end boutiques, and the bonnet of a blue Aston Martin gleamed in the sun.
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted and shown to the waiting area. The reception was lined with shelves displaying an array of the shop’s own tonics and potions, and – all in all – the interior gave an impression of masculine refinement, with careful use of dark woods, leather and marble.
Garry and I were led by our barber, Mohamed, to one of several private rooms. The booth was furnished with a single old-fashioned barber’s chair and the tools of the trade were laid out in preparation. Garry took a seat as he was to receive his traditional wet shave first.
Firstly, a pre-shave lotion was applied to open the pores, before hot towels helped to soften hairs and relax the facial muscles. Garry’s face was then lathered with shaving cream, and Mohamed began to remove his stubble with a cut-throat razor. He wielded the blade with confidence and dexterity, making light work of Garry’s coarse beard in a matter of minutes. After a few finishing touches and a cold towel, my now boyish colleague then gave up his seat for my haircut.
Mohamed began by washing and conditioning my hair, before listening attentively to my vague instructions. He worked quickly and efficiently, handling scissors with the same skill he had the razor. Throughout our experience, his manner was gracious and reassuring – his expertise evident with every snip and flourish! As I gazed at my reflection in the mirror, I felt delighted to be in such safe hands and eager to unleash my new ‘do’ on the unsuspecting city catwalk.
Once the back had been viewed and approved, it was time to collect our jackets and bid our farewells. We emerged onto Bruton Place a good deal more presentable than we’d arrived – a dashing pair fit for the most exclusive soirées in Mayfair.
Thank you to our welcoming host, Manuela, and – of course – our terrific barber, Mohamed. If you feel like treating the gentleman in your life, you can find vouchers for a Traditional Wet Shave or Wet Shave & Haircut on the Experience Days website.