Licenced Barber Shop offers beer to keep customers coming back

Just a little off the top, and a beer please.

Barber says he's been thinking about getting liquor licence for past 12 years

Joseph Diene and Mitchell Lehmann sip on a beer while waiting for a haircut at The Barber Shop on Frederica Street in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Just a little off the top, and a beer please.

It might sound a little odd, but for customers at The Barber Shop in Thunder Bay, Ont., those waiting for — or getting — a haircut, can now enjoy a can of suds at the same time.

"You come on in, we can get you a beer, you can have one prior to your haircut," said Bryan Fresco, the owner of The Barber Shop on Frederica Street.

Or you can even have a cold brew while your locks fall to the floor.

Fresco said it's been his dream since he took over the barber business 12 years ago to offer beer to his customers, while they get their haircut.
Bryan Fresco cuts Jesse Dyer's hair at his shop on Frederica St. in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

"Once one guy sees another guy doing it, then they join the club."

Fresco said in his first week of selling beer, he's gone through a few cases of cans.

He said one thing he's had to do since offering beer, is create cupholders in the barber chair. The chairs in his shop — originally from the 1960s — had ashtrays, which can become can holders with a slight modification. So far, the cape used to keep hair off your clothes also doubles as a way to keep hair out of your beverage.

"I don't think you get this type of experience anywhere else," said Mitchell Lehmann, a customer of Fresco's. 

He's been waiting for about half an hour, with a lineup forming behind him for a trim, and perhaps a cold beverage.

"I think it's pretty cool. I've been coming here for a long time already, and the fact that I get to relax and have a beer is just an added benefit."

Fresco said he offers four packages to prospective clients.

  • Beer and a haircut
  • Beer, haircut and shave
  • Beer, haircut and a sandwich
  • 'The ultimate' — a beer, haircut, shave and sandwich

"So, there are a couple options for you to come down for lunch, have some lunch, a haircut and beverage, and get on with your day," Fresco said.

His brother own's Fresco's Deli next door, and he said keeping the business in the family is also important to him. His father started the barbershop in 1961.
The Barber Shop on Frederica St. in Thunder Bay, Ont., is the only licenced barbershop between Toronto and Winnipeg. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

"Some are shocked that you can sell beer in a barber shop, but I think for the most part a lot of guys are really liking the idea. It's somewhere you can come and relax, and maybe get away from your wife, or your children for 45 minutes to an hour, and you can have a relaxing beer here."

Fresco said with his liquor licence, he isn't limited on what he can sell in the shop. With more barbers coming on in 2019, he wants to expand his offerings.

"Eventually, I think within the year we'll have hopefully a couple scotches, and some whiskies and yeah, I'm just going to start walking with the beer theme and we'll grow it slowly but surely."

"I always wanted to make my barbershop a beer and a haircut."

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.