Nic Grooming Brings Old-School Barbershop Vibe to Rittenhouse

Our review of the new salon.


The charming storefront — motorcycle and all. | Josh Middleton.

It’s hard to miss Nic Grooming along the promenade of businesses around 20th and Locust. Sure, there’s a barber’s pole outside the door, but the real standout is the bright red vintage motorcycle in the window. The space has been a barbershop for nearly 40 years, though it was recently taken over and given a modern update by Nick Berardi, son of the owner of Richard Nicholas Hair Studio in Rittenhouse, where he’s worked for several years, taking on a majority of the male clientele.

Inside, the no-frills shop is cool but compact. There’s an exposed brick wall, three barbers’ stations, a sink for washing and a small waiting area, where you scribble your name on a chalkboard and await your turn. Berardi created the business to pay homage to the old-school, super-personalized barbershop experience, but added in some luxe salon-type amenities along the way (think: hot towel massages, a free beer with every cut). It’s ideal for guys who want to keep their locks in check without all the fussiness of a salon. 

The haircuts are on point. Sticking to the barbershop tradition, Berardi and his small staff are armed with the barest of tools: scissors, a straight blade and clippers without guards. That last fact was the “aha moment” of my experience: I asked for a fade on the sides, and he was able to do it to perfection — from bottom to top — without slapping on three or four different-sized guards along the way. That’s skill. I walked away with one of the smoothest, softest cuts I’d ever had.

For a quick pick-me-up, you can swing by Nic Grooming for facials and shaves, all of which are done with woodsy smelling pre-shave oils, creams and spritzes of aftershave. Every service costs $40 (or you can get all three —cut, facial and shave — for $90). If you’re in the market for product, they sell Joe Grooming’s entire line, a wallet-friendly collection of shampoos, pomades, gels, waxes and beard oil. (You’ll want it all.)

The Bottom Line: Great, affordable cuts in an unfussy environment.

The Details: 
Nic Grooming, appointments and walk-ins welcome. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9am to 8pm, and Sunday, 10am to 6pm, 267 South 20th Street, 215-732-7767.