(Not sure if this should this go in the Shopping and Deals forum? Feel free to move it if so...)
I came across this place via a Craigslist ad offering free straight-edge shaves at a newly opened barber shop on Market Street. It seems that the owner previously had a shop at 6th and Mission and got sick of the neighborhood (yeesh, no kidding!) and moved uptown. The new location is upstairs and inside and office building so they're counting on advertising and word of mouth instead of foot traffic to build their customer base back up.
Readers Digest version: I got an excellent shave, highly recommend this place.
Longer version: Sergio the Master Barber has been cutting hair for years, and doing straight (ie shavette) shaves for 2. Spent some time at AoS but left because he disagreed with their product-pushing and their policy of as he calls it "cheating by cleaning up with MachIIIs". He still uses all their products, though.
The shop is a bit lacking in atmosphere, but they've only been in the space a couple weeks so I'm sure that will take care of itself. We started out with a quick consultation and discussion of my shave routine, he got a kick out of my using DEs and traditional soaps. A few minutes of warm towel as prep followed by a hearty application of some AoS preshave oil. Lather was made in a bowl with a brush, but applied by hand (health regs, I guess). 2 passes with a shavette - first was a strange WTG/XTG combo and the second mostly ATG - and some touchups left me extremely smooth and clean shaven. Aftershave was a lavender-infused cold cloth, misting spray, AoS balm, facial massage and finally a flapping towel. Total time in the chair about 20 very relaxing minutes.
Shave quality was excellent. I was surprised, as his touch wasn't always the lightest and he didn't follow the grain as I was expecting, but end results were as good as any of my better shaves. My normal problem areas (corners of the lips and one spot on my chin where the grain turns 90 degrees for no good reason) were a bit bumpy, but that faded quickly enough. One weeper under the jaw, but again that's a spot I struggle with anyways. Nothing I would hold against him - it took me months of practice to get to the point he did the very first time on my face. In fact, I'm going to try modifying my shave to follow the same directions he followed, lose the WTG and go straight to XTG, that seemed to work out great.
$35 for a shave is pricey, but in line with general FiDi/downtown prices.
Good conversation, very personable barber, no complaints at all.
760 Market St., Suite 736, San Francisco, CA 94103