The building at 2929 N. Clark Street in Lake View was built in 1897, and has a barber shop in its corner storefront. The current owner believes there has been a barbershop there for most of the years the building has existed, quite possibly over 100 years.
The current management of Corner Barber Shop celebrates the legacy of the space by maintaining its old-fashioned décor and atmosphere, and offering old school services alongside contemporary cutting and styling techniques.
The barber on duty when I visited was Ivan, a friendly fellow who had quite a few customers waiting for a turn in his chair on Monday afternoon. His specialties include giving customers a classic straight razor face shave, and those who enjoy this service will always check the online schedule to plan their visit to the shop.
Corner Barber Shop offers a hot-towel neck shave free with every haircut.
The beautiful chairs in the shop were made by Chicago-based Theo. A. Kochs Manufacturing Company, one of the first companies to specialize in the barber supply business. The company was established in the late 1800′s, and its location can be gleaned from a description that appeared in its 1888 Spring catalogue:
The North Side Cable Cars, in close proximity to all the principal railway depots, pass directly before our door. The route traversed by the cable cars is plainly designated on the above diagram by dotted lines. Passengers can get aboard these cars at Monroe, Madison, Washington, Randolph, Lake, La Salle and Clark streets. The Wells street Cable Cars will take passengers right to our factory; the Clark street cars carry passengers within two blocks of our establishment.
The Kochs barber chairs at Corner Barber Shop were made circa 1915, and it’s possible that these chairs (which are highly sought after by collectors) have been in this building since the day they were purchased from the manufacturer.
The atmosphere at Corner Barber Shop is cheerfully retro and informal. Customers are welcome to come in without an appointment, and I imagine most who do this don’t mind if they have to wait a few minutes for their turn in the barber’s chair.
For more information on the shop’s services, visit their web site: cornerbarbershopchicago.com.