Best men's barbers serving craft spirits around Australia

Every year on Queen's Day in Amsterdam, the city becomes a giant flea-market. Anyone can claim a piece of pavement and sell anything they like from beers they bought at the supermarket to their second-hand jocks.

Services often do well, but none more so than street-side haircuts and cold beers from people with no obvious qualifications. No-one comes away looking good. Everyone loves it. The lure of a salubrious haircut is strong.

But Australia has had a fraught relationship with barbers and booze. In 2010, after Melbourne's Dr Follicles had been quietly handing out complimentary Coopers for nine years, the police suddenly swooped and deemed it a breach of liquor laws.

First world panic ensued until an exemption was added to the Act, allowing non-licensed barbers to offer a free drink so long as it didn't up the price.

Flash forward to 2016, every barber around has hot towels and cold brews. The once potent lure has mellowed. So cue phase two in the battle for market share: the craft spirits revolution crashing headlong into the boutique barber craze.

Where women are still doomed to $90 haircuts with only an outside chance of a Marlborough savvy B, barbers are pulling out Four Pillars and tonics, nips of Melbourne Moonshine, TV rooms, pool tables and premium whiskies. It's never been a better time to possess egregious hair.

(On that: word from the barber elite is that the critical mass of beards is fading, but the trend for fades remains strong.)

Melbourne

Pickings and Parry

Everything about this Gertrude Street shop belongs at Pitti Uomo: leisure sector. Every year Chris Pickings heads overseas to source Nigel Cabourn jackets, pristine PF Flyers, submariner roll necks and original vintage Hawaiian shirts.

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The focus everywhere is top end, handmade, which carries to Jack Papoutsidis's classic European cuts, conducted up the back in 1950s Raynor Chairs and the booze that comes with it. Your cut and beard trim (finished with sandalwood balm) now comes with Four Pillars gin, Glenfiddich, Melbourne Moonshine or a rotating rare-find whisky.

If you want a beer, they have their own custom brew. Maintenance-wise. You can also stock up on Modern Pirate and Triumph and Disaster pomades.

126 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, 03 9417 3390, cuts $40-$50, pickingsandparry.com

Also try: Men + Co

The men's salon now has three locations: the Kelvin Club (members only, but the barber is open access), Ms Collins and St Kilda.

Services are $55 per half hour and come with Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker double black or a beer. Get a shoe shine while you're at it.

2-12 St Kilda Road, St Kilda; Inside Kelvin Club, Melbourne Place; Inside Ms Collins, 425 Collins Street, menandco.com.au

Sydney

The Barber Shop

Arguably it all started here at Mike Enright's York Street barber shop with a gin-focused cocktail bar to the rear. Plenty treat it as a one or the other situation, and to be clear, your cut or shave comes with a complimentary beer only, but access to the full cocktail menu and extensive back bar of vintage gins, rums and whiskies while in-chair makes their offer the strongest around.

Service-wise they're known for classic fades, beard trims (plus aromatic oils), and hot towel shaves. There's also a new outlet at Sydney's new precinct for everything cool Barangaroo, leaving you in prime position to take your new cut to Cirrus, the restaurant by Brent Savage (Monopole).

Hot towel cut throat shaves are $45; haircut including styling $55. Cocktails $18-$22 extra.

89 York Street, Sydney; Shop 3 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo, thisisthebarbershop.com.

Also try: Qspa

Of course experiential hotel QT has a men's spa where you can get a nip of Chivas with your traditional cut. If they didn't it would practically be negligence.

49 Market Street, Sydney, 02 8262 0088, qthotelsandresorts.com

Perth

The Gentlemen's Hair Lounge

There is more worship for Royal Doulton decanters, plush leathers and wood panelling than Sailor Jerry tattoos here. Something reflected in the brands of whisky on offer, favouring the power brands of Johnnie Walker Black and Chivas Regal over anything local and barrel aged in someone's wood shed.

They also do packages featuring big screens for sport and waitress to serve your own liquor. The license allows for BYO only.

Shop 3, 34 Subiaco Square Road, Subiaco, 08 9388 7148, gentlemenshairlounge.com.au

Also try: His Lid

It's probably the package deals that are most impressive here in Subiaco – groups get a private room with Champagne on arrival, food platters and rum and whisky to back all their treatments.

8 Sheen Street, Subiaco, hislid.com.au

Brisbane

Jimmy Rod's Shave Saloon

Jimmy Rod's is the Dr Follicles of Brisbane – the go-to barbershop with outlets across the city. In late June, Jimmy Rod O'Brien opened his most ambitious project – The Shave Saloon, featuring a full service whisky bar and kitchen where you can get nips, cocktails and charcuterie alongside an emerald tiled bar area next to the barber.

You'll find it in the new Queen Street shopping and business complex.

Tenancy 4, Mezzanine, 480 Queen Street, Brisbane, jimmyrods.com.au

Also try: Mr Hackett Luxury Barber

This three chair shop runs alongside Hawthorne park and has a tidy collection if whiskies (Monkey Shoulder, Chivas, Dalwhinnie, Glenfiddich), included in the price of the cut.

121 Riding Road, Hawthorne, 0478 841 358.