But as an extra spicy Bloody Mary appears before me and the in-house Master Barber Jay Anaya reclines my chair, it becomes clear things are changing. The latest blend to cause a stir is a traditional and contemporary twist on first-class grooming. Remarkably, after a gap of over 50 years, there is a barbers inside Piccadilly, and every discerning gentleman should have his number. This is male grooming with a splash of grandeur and hint of fun.
Jay, who makes light of the recent attention drawn to his homeland Colombia by Netflix hit Narcos while considering the contours of your neck, has taken residence on the third floor of the famed emporium.
From a surprisingly tranquil corner of the men’s department, he offers everything from haircuts and hot towel head massages, to bespoke beard styling, wet shaves and hair treatments. There is a fully-stocked – and fully complimentary – drinks cabinet in place too, should the need for a mid-snip sip of Martini arise.
What Jay does not know about beards or stubble is probably not worth knowing and he guides each customer through their usual routine, while offering helpful advice and suggestions along the way. For over an hour it is possible to believe you are anywhere else but in the heart of one of London’s busiest shopping districts in the run-up to Christmas.
As Jay pampers me with hot towels and lotions he gives instructions of which way the grain grows across certain areas and proudly tells me how he has retained client loyalty from a host of the sharpest gentleman in the capital. Amid the smart mahogany and leather surrounds of his salon, he is the master.
Yet as he offers me his email address he makes it clear that the service, should any grooming problems or queries arise, extends far beyond the Mayfair postcode. On one wall of The Barber are the ‘Keeps’ – beautiful wooden lockers designed to hold a gentleman’s personal grooming accessories – which are available to purchase for an annual fee of £850 which includes twenty haircuts and shaves throughout the year.
It is little wonder that many of them have already been sold.
This article was written in association with Fortnum and & Mason. For more information, see here.