The lead singer grins at me as she belts out an indie rock-infused cover of Coldplay’s latest radio hit. I return the smile and sip my icy cold Shiner beer, sitting back on the plush, mid-century modern couch, taking in the moment.
No, I am not at some private SXSW showing. I’m just waiting to get my haircut at the newest location of Birds Barbershop at The Domain.
Birds Barbershop: Austin Original Since 2006
Birthed in 2006 with their first—and still my favorite—Birds Barbershop location on South Lamar, childhood friends Jayson Rapaport and Michael Portman quickly realized Austin was seriously lacking a no-fuss, quality barbershop that catered to men and women alike.
From the carpet of Astroturf to the tongue-in-cheek LA-preppy stylings, to the genuinely friendly, punk rock hairstylists who work their magic on the tousled locks of Austin women and men, Birds Barbershop has a burgeoning barbershop empire that’s as unique as the city itself.
Inside Birds’ New Location at The Domain
I push my bangs out of my eyes, eager to freshen up my locks, and swoon over the design of this dreamy barbershop. Each of the eight locations is designed to reflect the neighborhood it inhabits, and Birds Barbershop’s newest Rock Rose location at The Domain in north Austin is no exception.
Intricately-etched flamingos and palms paper the walls around each styling station, and I debate playing a quick game of Pac-Man on the free, old school arcade machine. I opt instead to listen to the indie tunes and admire the giant, full wall shuttlecock installation that’s one part art museum, one part Beverly Hills country club. It’s easy to get inspired about style inside of a Birds. Deciding on a new look is easy when you’re nestled within the walls of a hip, sensory-rich salon.
In the nearly ten years since the first location opened, Birds has popped up in Austin’s favorite neighborhoods—Hyde Park, South Congress and Burnet, just to name a few. And, despite such rapid growth, walk-ins still have to wait their turn for a cut or color on a busy Saturday. The fact that customers are offered a free Shiner while they wait doesn’t hurt either.
Birds’ local roots have garnered national acclaim on ELLE’s 100 Best Salons, and locals have voted for the business as their favorite place to get a haircut in Austin Chronicle’s annual poll ever since it opened.
Staying true to their neighborhood-focused growth, and providing meaningful jobs for a team that continues to mature and grow alongside the company, Birds Barbershop has made its way into every corner of Austin, and has a vision for expanding beyond our city limits in the coming years, starting with a Houston location scheduled to open this summer.
I dust off the remainder of my shorn locks, swivel out of my chair and check out my new do. I smile into the mirror as I take in the scene behind me. A little girl gets her first haircut from a patient barber with knuckle tatts; sultry Johnny Cash blares through the speakers; and the denizens of north Austin relax into their swivel chairs while stylists work magic. It feels so Austin, and this is one small business I am so thankful has thrived through our past decade of growth.
If Birds Barbershop makes its way to other Texas cities, I think they’ll be better for it. This salon is one cultural export we’d be selfish not to share with the rest of the state.
The newest Birds Barbershop is located at 11420 Rock Rose. To learn more about this local business, visit Birds Barbershop’s website.
@kristinmleigh wants to know:
What’s your favorite Austin company you’ve watched grow over the years?
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