Dapper Chaps: A gentleman’s sanctuary
Glass skulls, beards, tattoos and rum – no we are not reviewing an awful installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, but rather one of Northampton’s most popular establishments amongst the hirsute gents out there. We are of course talking about the brilliant basement barbershop that is Dapper Chaps. The Northampton Gent team paid the shop a visit to find out how the hair extraordinaires were keeping the gents of Northampton looking dapper.
Any gent that has taken a stroll down Derngate has more than likely come across the striking Rosie – the tattoo pin-up girl that towers proudly above 38 Derngate. Follow this sultry siren and you will find yourself led down into the basement of Dapper Chaps; one of Northampton’s most fashionable barbershops. The shop is the brainchild of Gary Osborne who has been responsible for keeping gents looking dapper with 20 years of hairdressing experience and 16 years of experience running his own shop in Northampton. Beginning his gentlemanly journey back in 1999 on the Wellingborough Road, Gary and his team moved into the heart of the cultural quarter 8 years ago.
Speaking on the move, Gary said: “We’ve been down Derngate for 8 years now and I’ve really seen what is now called the cultural quarter begin to flourish, with lots of great independent traders making this end an exciting part of the town.”
The shop underwent a rebranding a year and a half ago, with the aim of merging classic and contemporary together with a strong dose of personality and attitude; creating some completely unique to offer the gents of Northampton.
From the provocative and alluring tattoo pin up signs of Lulu & Rosie that beckon gents to the basement, to the distinctive graffiti by local artistPendz outside the front of the shop, it is clear that Dapper Chaps is not lacking in charisma and not scared to show it off. The inside of the shop is like a modern man’s playground; filled to the brim with unique features that truly separate it from the usual, more clinical, salons found in the town. The bohemian and quirky interior is charming whilst the little details really demonstrate the individuality of the shop, such as the recycled JD bottles used for shampoo containers; the interesting literature and various skull heads dotted about; and the walls lined with cut outs of various stylish inspirations. Each small detail works together to create a relaxed and fun environment which is enjoyable to be in.
“The motivation behind Dapper Chaps was to create a space where males of all walks of life can come and experience not only a quality haircut and service, but also the atmosphere of what is now a very popular barbershop culture” said Gary.
As we spent some time watching the barbers busily snipping and clipping away, we quickly understood the “barbershop culture” that Gary spoke off. Listening to the laughter and energy as customers and barbers talked and joked showed how Dapper Chaps is more of retreat for a community of gents rather than simply a barbershop.
The Rum Shack
Continuing with this idea of giving gents an experience rather than a simple haircut, the barbershop has even created their own little rum shack outside with a beer fridge. Stocking craft beers such as Brooklyn Lager along with delicious local brews from Maule Family, the shop is prepared to quench the thirst of gents this summer.
Worthy of special mention is Dapper Chap’s bottle of Ron de Jeremy’s spiced rum (if you do not know who Mr Jeremy is, we would suggest you Google him) which the bar has ready for customers. Gents are encouraged to pop a contribution into the honesty jar, ensuring the fridge remains stocked for the next gent; again reinforcing the idea of community. It is these efforts by Dapper Chaps to go above and beyond the norm that makes getting a haircut less irksome; instead turning it into a pleasant experience that gents can look forward to.
We understand just how important the right haircut is and thus how important the right barber is. It is why we are always careful when recommending barbers; however after seeing Dapper Chaps in action, we can assure you that the team knows what they are doing.
Within Dapper Chaps is a plethora of barbers with impressive resumes. Gary has a wealth of experience, having worked and trained in Northampton and London, whilst George – the taller individual usually found with a snapback on – joined 3 years ago from London’s Murdocks; one of the capitals most prestigious barbershops. Tracy, who we have been told is the real boss of Dapper Chaps, is one of the main driving forces behind the barbershop and has been perfecting her barbering for 12 years. Vidal Sassoon and in-house trained, Joey started with Gary as an apprentice and now has 6 years experience, whilst Harry has also been in-house trained and Vidal Sassoon finished, with over one year of experience.
Dapper Chaps’ dedication to bringing young, talented barbers through the ranks is admirable and helps ensure the quality of cuts is always high. The latest apprentice, ‘Little George’, is currently working in the shop and will soon become another barber responsible for making Northampton’s gents look dapper.
Speaking to and watching the team, it quickly became apparent why so many of them have worked with the shop for so long. They love their jobs. It is rare to find a group of employees enjoying their work so much and it is this passion that shines through in their service. Friendly, energetic and approachable, it is their ability to make customers feel welcome and at home which is special.
The shop specializes in offering gents both contemporary and classic cuts and encourages their barbers to speak to customers to understand and suggest what styles will work for them. Prices range from £5.00 for a ‘Neck Clean Up’ or ‘Moustache Trim & Style’ (particularly useful come Movember) to £25.00 for a complete ‘Fresh Cut’ which is a complete re-style from one of Chaps experienced barbers.
Gents are able to book appointments online here or can call the shop on 01604 633707. Walk-ins are also available and the basement barbershop is able to accommodate special bookings if a gent is in need of something more special; such as stag dos and weddings.
Dapper Chaps let us in on some rather interesting developments for gents to look out for in the future. With the summer coming and the development of the garden, the stylish shop will continue to introduce local brews into the fridge and are even considering running some barber-ques (sorry – we had to).
Perhaps the most exciting is the development to the upstairs of the building: “We are now expanding above the basement shop, where we are developing our shave & beard bar; offering other male treatments and a few other surprises.”
With gents spending just as much time on the hair on their face as they do with the hair on the top of their head, this expansion in shaves and beards could not come at a better time for Northampton’s more hirsute gentlemen.
Tucked away in their stylish and cool basement, Dapper Chaps really does define what we mean by a Northampton hidden gem. Not only is the quality of their work well known in the town, but it is their dedication to offering gents an experience that makes the barbershop truly unique.
Gary told us clearly his goal for Dapper Chaps; “a place where you can people watch, relax, chill or join in with the day to day banter or world topics. Oh and let’s not forget us showing all the latest sports. Dapper Chaps is not just a haircut; we are creating a community.”
With this vision in mind, the team has done well to create a gentleman’s sanctuary. The next time gents find themselves in need of a haircut or out shopping with the better half and in need of respite, we would highly suggest popping your head in.
38 Derngate, Northampton NN1 1UH