The neon mustache caught my eye.

It was a traditional design burning over the door of a new shop in my Atlanta neighborhood. Simultaneously old-fashioned and hip, it called me into The Shave Barbershop.

What I found inside intrigued me further: an authentic barber shop, handsome with hardwood floors, a pool table and '80s pop and alt-rock in the audio mix, although Sinatra or Bennett would've fit, too. Hunting trophies and old-school photos of bearded men on the walls. Signs reading: No appointments taken. Men talking, a soccer match silent on the TV in the corner.

It was almost like you could've ordered a bourbon and a cigar.

The Shave is just one of countless barbershops across America that are combining what's “classical" and “traditional" about men's grooming (do not call it “old fashioned") with a contemporary aesthetic. They appeal to men tired of salons geared toward women or silly trends like the unfortunate “metrosexual" thing of a decade ago.

These shops all focus on providing a masculine, friendly environment where guys can be guys and no one is embarrassed about wanting to look good. Think Rat Pack, not Boy Band. Snazzy haircuts, beard trims, reasonable prices, plenty of good “guy talk" (Check out one customer's amazing transition on Instagram.) The barbers use old-school tools and modern techniques for contemporary styles.

And, yes, some of these places actually will bring you that bourbon, Daddy-O.

Check 'em out. And, chances are, there's a similar place near you:



The Blind Barber
The Blind Barber in New York's East Village

The Blind Barber, New York City

It started with two chairs and a speakeasy-style bar in the East Village five years ago. The Blind Barber quickly expanded to Los Angeles, with another bar attached, and Brooklyn, with a café.

One of the founders, Jeff Laub (who GQ called a "beauty-school dropout and would-be lawyer") was tired of salons, and fondly recalled stories his grandfather told him and images from the movies. But the barbershops he saw were just “$5 a haircut, with a bowl on your head."

The Blind Barber caters to men who want to look good, who know it's important and who don't have time for somebody else's hangups. “A man should never look like he just got a haircut," says Laub. “He should always feel like he looks good."

Laub and his partners envisioned a “guys' hangout," a cool place for men to gather. “Besides getting a great haircut, the conversations happening in the shop are the most important thing," he adds.



Rudy's Barber Shop
Rudy's Barber Shop in Los Angeles

Rudy's Barber Shop, Los Angeles

When Rudy's opened in 1993 in Seattle, it shared the ethos of similar businesses. It sought to build on the traditional barber shop with an added sense of community; art and music tied to each location; and a “community center" appeal.

Rudy's now has multiple locations in four states. We chatted with David Fletcher, manager in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. He's clear about the distinctions between “stylist" and “barber," noting that Rudy's has both – and that each requires a separate state license.

“What we offer is not just a service, but an experience," Fletcher says. “Each location is different from the others, but they all have a very specific feel to them, as to what Rudy's is."

This location sees plenty of show-biz types, musicians – and women who want edgy looks. “Right now I am literally looking at a five-year-old child and someone's grandma," Fletcher says.



604 The Shave Barbershop
The Shave Barbershop in Atlanta, GA

The Shave Barbershop, Atlanta

Jackson Butler grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, then lived in L.A. for a decade. During a visit home, he needed a haircut but couldn't find a place like what he wanted – good style, elements of a barbershop, but not the one from a black-and-white TV show.

He and his father spent weeks together turning an old space into The Shave, refreshing their bond with new memories and stories. The father-son bonding motif runs throughout much of the neo-barber movement.

So does the idea of being specific to each area, and The Shave is very much a product of the Poncey Highland neighborhood. Bearded hipsters; guys with pompadours; dads, gays, young and old. It's hard to imagine any man feeling uncomfortable here, especially compared to salons geared toward women or bargain chains in strip malls.

The motto here: “It pays to look well."



The Gent's Place
The Gent's Place in Kansas City, TX

The Gents Place, Kansas City, Texas

The Gents Place founder Ben Davis draws a distinction between his spots and barbershops. (Forget about the s-word: salons.)

“We are a men's grooming and lifestyle club that sells a feeling to our members, and not just a haircut," he says. We couldn't be a barbershop or men's salon even if we wanted to because our members come to us for so much more than that. It would be like the Four Seasons referring to themselves as a motel; it just doesn't make sense."

Is it the Don Draper appeal? Making it cool to be handsome again?

Davis says men want a place to relax and build personal relationships away from work and home. And they want “grooming services" in a place that matches their ambitions and desires, even an “aspirational" place that makes them feel more successful.

Cigars, whiskey, billiards – many of the new wave barbershops feature these icons of a certain brand of manliness. Davis sums it up nicely: “Any man who believes the statement, 'When you look and feel your best, you do your best,' is our guy."



The Modern Man
The Modern Man in Portland, OR

The Modern Man, Portland, Ore.

The bourbon/big game/Hemingway motif is on full display by The Modern Man in Portland, Ore.

And just to be clear, the website says: “The Modern Man Barber Shop specializes in traditional cuts, modern cuts, crew cuts, high & tights, medium regs, tapers, flat tops, pompadours, hot- towel, straight-razor shaves, beard shaping and mustache trims. We feature an assortment of grooming products for men. Manly, hairy, men."

Chris Espinosa started the place (now with five locations) with the idea for a classic barbershop and haberdashery. “Some place my dad would walk in and say, 'Yeah, this is where I get my haircut,'" he says. "And I was thinking of my dad specifically because he's an old cowboy."

That was when the grunge movement was giving way to the return of cool from the '40s and '50s. “Honestly, it's because of the backing of Hollywood and TV" that businesses like his are thriving," he adds. “Society has now really embraced it."

For Espinosa, the father-son bond comes through, as well. “Going to the barbershop with my dad, we would get to talk about stuff that we didn't when mom was around," he says. "You learn how to act around other men. It was a different side of dad you got to see."

Espinosa's dad helped him build each of the five Modern Men locations, and each is a little different from the others.

“If my dad hadn't liked the first place," he says, “I wouldn't have opened."
 

Check out this gallery of vintage Coca-Cola ads featuring barber shops.