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The Foodist: Blade Hairclubbing in Soho is a salon and a bar in one venue

Why should the wait for a haircut be mundane? Blade, one of the best hairdressers in Soho, has a bar stocked with rare whiskies and a great beer, wine and cocktail list, too

By and large, you don't expect to find a selection of top-shelf spirits when getting your hair cut. A glass of scotch, maybe, at one of London's higher-end barbers, but a choice of a few different limited editions of Campbeltown whiskies? Some ultra-rare bottlings from Kentucky bourbon High West that I'm informed you'd be unlikely to find elsewhere in the UK? A negroni made with Antica Formula? A boilermaker made up of a bottle of barrel-aged Harviestoun pale ale served alongside a shot of Rittenhouse Rye? That's a new one for me.

Sitting in Blade Hairclub in Soho at the tail-end of last year, whiling away the time until my chair's ready, I'm on my way to being converted. While the concept of 'hairclubbing' – that is, why shouldn't your barber also be a bar, or vice versa? – might seem like an apt stick with which to beat the more pretentious end of London's drinking scene, the actual experience is anything but. Within moments of walking past the three-piece jazz band by the door – who also play at Broadway Market's acclaimed bar Kansas Smitty's, by the way – I'm whisked downstairs and find myself chatting to D.T. Stroo, a Croatian-born whiskey fiend responsible for the drinks side of the business, who's lining up whiskeys for me to try.

That's when it becomes apparent that a zany start-up idea this is not: the intention for Stroo and his wife and co-founder Julia Olofsson (the hair) was to bring Stroo's love of bars into Olofsson's already successful salon, take a short-cut around some difficult Soho licensing laws, and in the process make waiting for a haircut less about thumbing through month-old magazines and more about having a drink and a chat. Which I did – and then I got a great haircut.

'Hairclubbing', as Blade terms it is, of course, not for everyone. A lot of people will still want a 20-minute haircut with as few frills as possible. But if you've got a thirst for weird and wonderful drinks next time you're due a haircut, there's nowhere else like it.

bladehairclub.co.uk

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