Catering to the overworked, the introverted and the way-too-baked, a new barbershop in San Francisco offers silent haircuts so that you no longer have to talk to your barber as they line you up.
At Beyond the Pale barbershop in the Mission District, there’s no need to say a word with the shop’s “silent mode” service, which was designed especially for shy techies and stoners, according to shop owner Anthony Larrasquitu.
“Ultimately, it’s about the freedom here. You get to pick the experience you want,” Larrasquitu said.
Though many of his clients say they come to the shop for camaraderie, Larrasquitu said he envisions the silent mode service as a necessary part of a welcoming environment.
Larrasquitu said he came up with the idea after realizing that many of his clients with tech jobs weren’t interested in making small talk.
He said that some people are just getting off work—or ate too many weed gummies—and would rather plug into their Airpods than converse.
“For myself, as a barber, I’m talking 10 hours a day,” Larrasquitu said. “So I get it. Sometimes when I get off, I just don’t want to talk to anyone.”
The shop, which opened in February, also offers free beer and the chance to walk away without paying a single cent if you can hit the bullseye on a dartboard that hangs on the far end of the storefront.
The son of immigrant parents, with a mother from Cambodia and a father from Mexico, Larrasquitu started cutting hair in 2016, using Walmart clippers.
He said it's still a hobby to him, although he has around 350 regular clients who travel from all over the state for an appointment.
“He’s just really talented,” said Joel Yawili, who was in the shop on Tuesday to get his cut. “I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my hair.”
During the pandemic, Larrasquitu worked out of his garage. Before that, he was a barber at the now-closed San Francisco Barber Shop, which operated just down the street.
Customers who were in the shop on Tuesday said they come to Beyond the Pale to escape the “factory” feel of other barbers in San Francisco.
“A lot of barbershops around here aren’t like traditional barbershops. They’re businesses,” said longtime customer Eli A-K. “Shops like this definitely make you feel different.”
Although a visit to the local barbershop traditionally includes a good conversation, Larrasquitu said that curating an experience for all of his clients—even the socially withdrawn ones—is what he aims for.
“I’d rather we’re both on the same page,” Larrasquitu said. “If you don’t want to talk, it’s all good.”
David Sjostedt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org