There are many consumer transactions that can be completed in Prague where a lack of Czech language skills is not a necessity for everything to proceed fairly smoothly. However, getting a haircut under such circumstances could lead to buyer’s remorse you cannot solve through return or exchange. If you’re an English-speaking man, you may want to do yourself and your significant other a favor and find yourself an English-speaking hairdresser.
Just a quick but important side note: if your hairstyle currently resides in the mullet category, you’ve veered into lost cause territory and you need to act quickly (friends of mullet owners nodding silently).
NEW! With our focus here aimed squarely at salons for men, Gentlemen Brothers (www.gentlemenbrothers.cz, +420 774 272 722) certainly fits the bills. Opened in late fall of 2014, it is not the first old-fashioned barber’s shop is Prague, but with rum and whiskey degustations, evening theme events and, of course, top-notch trims, this Vinohrady newcomer is certainly one of a kind. On a recent visit we were pampered with cognac and Truefitt & Hill grooming products, not to mention a masterful cut and close shave and conversation from barber Pavel. Prices begin at an affordable 290 CZK for a clippers cut but premium services include beard and ‘stache styling and color. And what other Prague barbershop builds their interior design around a motorbike?
Thomas’ Barbershop (www.thomasbarbershop.cz, +420 776 885 835), located 5 minutes from Wenceslas Square, was the first classic barbershop in Prague. The appropriate masculine feel is created by the dark mahogany interior and old-fashioned barber’s chairs. You can almost envision Ernest Hemingway or Don Draper coming to a place like this and laying back for a shave.
Although the haircuts at Thomas’ are well-executed and affordable (440 CZK), he is quickly becoming known for his hot towel shave. Together with a cut this will cost you 830 CZK, which may seem a bit pricy but Thomas aims to provide a quality experience. Additional locations were recently opened in Anděl and on Na Přikopě in Prague 1.
A great number of Czech men and women enjoy expressive hairstyles such as the choppy, angled side-part or the asymmetrical look. These looks and many others even more outside the box are provided with great frequency by the world-renowned Toni and Guy (www.toniandguy.cz, +420 222 320 056). Through their catwalk to client philosophy they attract Czechs and expats alike that are looking for that high fashion cut mixed with sleek and shiny basics. It is definitely on the higher-end of the price scale, but a high-style image comes with a price. As a rule of thumb, if a salon has a PR manager, expect to drop at least 1000 CZK.
With men being the stubborn creatures that we are, trying something new when it comes to our personal style, especially when it’s pricey, can cause apprehension. If you’re not ready to shell out for that high fashion cut just yet, Toni and Guy provide an internationally-renowned line of styling products called TIGI. Dip your toes in the pool of high fashion and give them a try.
Another elite salon that is a favorite of expats.cz users is James Hair (www.jameshair.cz, 602171016). With a solid 8.6 out of 10 user rating, it’s easy to see why they have been flourishing in Prague for a dozen years. Their philosophy of high-quality, attention-to-detail, and personal approach takes into account your personal style even if you’re not sure you have any. This approach leads to a hairstyle that is easy to recreate everyday, which is music to the ears of anyone who has walked out of a salon with a smile and a style, only to never be able to recapture it on their own even once in the weeks that follow.
Through his time working in London and New York, followed by teaching “essential looks” seminars throughout Europe, owner James Fillery has been able to hone a style that has attracted the likes of actress Kirsten Dunst. Surely he has the answer for your style questions.
For those of you looking for the quality and style of an elite salon without the elite prices you should drop by Modrý Slon Kadeřnictví (+420 605 461 014), near Národní třída. Stylist Chan Soek Park received his professional training from Toni and Guy in London and provides an inspired cut for a mere 320 CZK. This exceptional value, combined with his friendly and dedicated customer service (a rarity here in Prague), makes it easy to see why he is one of the highest rated English-speaking hairdressers in the city.
Unlike some other salons that may leave you feeling a little underdressed and self-conscious when all you want is a simple haircut, Chan’s salon has a down-to-earth feel that makes the average guy comfortable. He also takes the time to provide each customer with a personal consultation and is not afraid to suggest something new that might suit you.
An excellent harmony of slick styling and comfortable ambiance can be found at Head Salon (headcz.cz, +420 728 137 379) near Karlovo náměstí. Founder Jonathan Cox, who boasts of being able to handle any hair type you can imagine, had great success for many years in England. His talents attracted the likes of Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Dominic Howard (Muse) and Ian Gillian (Deep Purple). Luckily for us here in Prague, he fell for a Czech woman and has brought his prodigious talents abroad to share with the masses.
In addition to the services that Jonathan provides, he has compiled a stellar team of self-employed stylists from various backgrounds that complement his talents perfectly and will make an expat feel right at home. His newest addition is Kraig Casebier (+420 737 407 714), a third-generation American barber and hairstylist whose father was once an All-American Barber Champion. Learning from the best led to Kraig becoming the youngest licensed Master Hairstylist in the state of Kentucky at age 17. Thirty years of experience later, his skills are clearly fine-tuned, but it is his relaxed southern charm that makes him easy to talk to and leaves you not only with the great haircut you were looking for, but with a few good stories as well. Good stories should be a prerequisite for every man’s hairdresser, and at only 450 CZK you are getting more than your money’s worth.
If you’re a man who likes to get wild with his hairstyle and prefers to cause a few double-takes when walking around Prague, then the alternative punk hairdresser Salon Joshua (www.joshua.cz, +420 222 520 126) will service that desire. With a focus on unconventionality and pushing the boundaries of the perception of hairstyling, you can see why their philosophy is “Not for Everyone.” They have, however, showcased their commercial abilities in providing hairstyling for Czech Idol, Big Brother and music channel Očko demonstrating the creative range to handle the somewhat less extreme if that’s what you are looking for.
Joshua understands well the importance of communication and compatibility between client and stylist and has provided full profiles of all their stylists with extensive lists of likes and dislikes on their website. Whether you are a fan of hockey, yoga, mysticism or Blue Velvet, there is a stylist available to suit you.
If you head out looking for a haircut with 500 CZK in your pocket but “accidentally” end up spending 400 CZK on beer, there are still options available. A number of local salons around Prague offer haircuts for around 90 CZK, but you should expect a serious lack of English services. If your grasp of Czech is middling at best, don’t leave yourself in a position where you’re trying to find a haircut for less than the price of a Big Mac combo.
Although a decent number of Czechs do prefer expressive and forward-thinking hairstyles, there are still just as many who are happy with those 90 CZK haircuts mentioned above. Some men prefer to simply have their mom or girlfriend tend to it in the privacy of their homes. The spectrum of what you will see here in Prague is wide, but there are definitely still too many mullets lurking around. If you think I’m joking, just know that in Finland the word for mullet is tšekkitukka, which translates as “Czech hair”. In fairness to those who still sport the mullet, it has been said that in the Communist era long hair was considered non-conformist and a sign of protest. However, still having one today is simply a protest against sensible style.
There are English-speaking hairdressers all over Prague looking to give you the best haircut you have ever had. Now all you have to do is decide which one is for you.