Bath’s barbershop scene is booming with more than a dozen to choose from. Crystal Rose meets the man behind Fine and Dandy, who is fast gaining a reputation as the best pair of scissors in town. Photography by Nell Mallia
In the heart of Widcombe, behind a chic, white-painted shop front you’ll find Bath’s coolest barbershop. Clients lounge in wooden theatre seats, or make themselves a cup of coffee while they await beard trims and hair cuts from salon owner Robbie Emm. Emm opened Fine and Dandy in 2014 after spying the empty storefront during a visit to one of his favourite record stores, Raves from the Grave (now closed), a few doors away. He thought it would be the ideal spot for a barbershop, close to the station but in an area with a community feel (popular pub The White Hart is just across the street). He set about creating an exceptionally laid-back vibe; there are just three chairs, no appointments, and if you want an espresso you can knock it up yourself at the self-serve coffee station.
Bath-born Emm started his career at Gary Henri in Clifton, Bristol, moved to Chop in Wells for two years and then onto Hair Razor in Radstock. But his dream was always to set up his own space. With his own savings he transformed 4 Prior Park Road (once secondhand clothes shop, Roundabout). Taking a hands-on approach to the interior Emm designed the entire space himself, leaving one wall bare brick and adding oversized circular metal-framed mirrors. Being on a tight budget he sourced furniture from eBay, reclamation yards, and even raided friend’s lofts, adding touches like scaffolding poles and crate shelving to nail an urban, undone feel.Being a self-confessed vinyl nut it seemed fitting to have a record player in the barbershop. Robbie has a collection of more than 100 records and an ear for classic sixties music. The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds all get regular spins on the decks along with northern soul, reggae, ska and funk.
Emm sees more requests for longer styles from local clients, with less of a focus on Peaky Blinders-style, military cuts, short hair and skin fades. On the flipside he thinks thick, heavy beards are a waning trend being replaced by a far shorter, forgotten-to-shave stubble beard. He has a great eye for off-the-radar grooming products and it’s worth stocking up when you visit. From Dear Barber (who do an incredible beard oil containing argan, coconut and almond oils) to Uppercut an Aussie brand inspired by 1950s barbershops.And if you have to wait in line for the next appointment there’s a stack of great reads on the coffee table with Proper Magazine vying for your attention alongside pictorial tomes like I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman a fascinating history of men’s grooming and the art of dandyism. If you get peckish you can raid Emm’s jars of chocolates on the counter. With more than 25 customers a day, there are plans to add in another chair and include wet shaves on the menu. Aside from future plans, Emm is focused on “keeping the standard good”. We would expect no less from Fine and Dandy Barbershop.
Shampoo 3 times a week and condition and manage your hair with whatever suits you.
Fine and Dandy is located at 4 Prior Park Road.
The recommended time between haircuts is every 4 weeks.
Fine and Dandy has a collection of more than 100 records.
Since opening its doors in 2014, the salon has notched-up over 80,000 appointments.
Fine and Dandy, 4 Prior Park Road, Widcombe, Bath BA2 4NG
Tel: 01225 461848. Visit: fineanddandybarbers.com