Battle of the Barbershops

ManKind Grooming & Services Joins the Competition

By Julia Piantini

January 2020

It’s Saturday night and you have a pool stick in one hand and a cold beer in the other. Then a woman walks over and says, “Sir, your barber is ready for you now.” Your barber? That’s right, you’re not at a bar or pool hall. You’re at ManKind Grooming & Services.

The men of Coral Gables have been fortunate to have a number of barbershops from which to choose. Alchemy is open late, Rafael’s is reminiscent of the traditional three chair shop, RazzleDazzle provides a fun and lavish environment, and Hair Cuttery is affordable and reliable. Five years ago, the ante was substantially upped with the arrival of The Well Groomed Gentleman on Miracle Mile. Becoming something of a cultish club, Well Groomed offered things like a shot of espresso, a shot of booze, and hot towel shaves, along with hair cutters of such skill that patrons demand their favorites. Owner Al Maulini prides himself on the standard his shop has set. “The quality of our barbers is excellent,” he explains. “It takes time to get to that point.” ManKind Grooming, however, is determined to take men’s hair care to a whole new level. While offering traditional cuts and shaves, owner Lee Garipoli also offers an army of services that aren’t typically part of what you expect in a barbershop: shoeshines, waxing, nail grooming, facials, massages, teeth whitening, and a full-sized sauna. Yes, spa memberships are available and include a complementary steam.

Clients can play a round of pool and grab a drink while waiting for their appointment at ManKind

ManKind is so far from your typical barbershop that it requires a double take. Located on the corner of Salzedo Street and Aragon Avenue, the first room is basically a lounge, complete with a regulation sized pool table and a full bar (the first drink is complementary with any service; anything after that is available for purchase). White bricks, grey walls, and exposed A.C. ducts give the shop an industrial warehouse look; cherry red barbershop chairs in the second room each come with a wide screen TV, just in case you want to watch a sporting event while being shorn.

“We want people to feel like they can come in and hang out,” says General Manager Robyn Ragone. This extends to the spa, which has a locker room with dim lighting, candles, and incense to induce relaxation; towels, slippers and a robe are included. For Garipoli, being a barber is in his DNA. As a child he was fascinated by watching his grandfather, a barber himself, cut hair, and he developed the idea for ManKind while working as general manager for a country club. He wanted to take the idea of an “old world barbershop” and fuse it with a country club atmosphere. He staged the shop precisely, from the placement of a vintage barber chair next to the entrance to the choice of the music played and the alcohol served. “Beware the man who won’t be bothered with the details,” is one of the shop’s slogans.

Garipoli feels especially proud to be occupying the old Books & Books location, which he eyed for years after starting his first ManKind shop in Fort Lauderdale. He had always wanted to be in the Gables, motivated by the charm of the downtown and the surrounding affluent community. While most people aren’t fond of change, ManKind Grooming & Services presents a stark alternative that could turn a few heads. “Getting a haircut doesn’t have to be just getting a haircut,” says Garipoli. “Getting a haircut can be an experience.”

Every grooming station comes equipped with a widescreen TV