At first glance, Junior & Hatter Gents in Miami’s artsy Wynwood neighborhood seems like any other shop. You wouldn’t know, for instance, that it doubles as a comedy club on the community’s Art Walk night and a salsa studio on Tuesday evenings. You certainly wouldn’t suspect it houses a radio station that broadcasts live around the clock and is run by its owners/stylists, Mario Silvestri and Andrea Battista. “I always liked the idea of having mixed uses and keeping things weird—and what’s weirder than that?” remarks Silvestri.
As self-proclaimed thrifters, Silvestri and Battista have adorned their eclectic, 800-square-foot, eight-chair space with a mix of finds: early 1900s Emil J. Paidar and modern vintage-style barber chairs; reclaimed wood and subway tiles; and a 1926 vertical grand piano converted into a hair station. Guests kick back, drink beer or sake on the house, play foosball or Nintendo, and listen to heavy tunes while opting for a cut, straight-razor shave or beard trim. And, because Junior & Hatter Gents is nestled inside a compound with a spa and ladies’ salon, the services don’t stop there. “Because of the spa, we have some toys we can borrow,” says Silvestri, citing guys’ requests for facial steams and microblading. And if men would like to leave with more than simply a Junior & Hatter Gents shave, clip or cut, they can purchase the shop’s new namesake men’s grooming line, which currently boasts three texturizers. “We’re very proud of what we created,” says Silvestri, who promises a shampoo and conditioner are in the works.
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The main Junior & Hatters salon housed just two barbering chairs when it opened in 2012. However, when a space next door freed up, the decision to spread out and give guys their own sanctuary—Gents—was a no-brainer. The haven has been paired with a traditional barbershop mentality. “We started this thing as a counterpunch to the status quo of current salon standards,” says Silvestri. “I’ve always loved how everyone who comes through a barbershop’s door is family. We want customers to feel at home when they’re here.”