Barbershop-bar opens in trendy Nashville neighborhood

Editor’s note: During each Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., scholars are required to complete a mobile media reporting module, which includes producing videos and reporting and writing stories. Their work is displayed here.

by Loren Townsley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The first thing to catch your eye as you walk into the warmly lit establishment is the pool table to the side. With a full-service bar to welcome you, the last thing you expect as you turn the corner to the next room is for the place to transform into a barbershop.

But there, in a chair, is Hunter Clark, his hair being styled and dried by hairdresser Dallas McLaird.

Jerrod Brown, center, co-founder of The Blockhouse barbershop, serves drinks to customers Hunter Clark, left, and Ryan McKeown, right, at the establishment in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston in May. The Blockhouse is a barbershop with a full-service bar. (Photo by Loren Townsley)

The Blockhouse, a barbershop also designed to provide a bit of rest and respite, came into existence when three Nashville friends, Jerrod Brown, Tom Hockensmith and Matt Fine, decided they wanted this fast-paced world to slow down a bit.

Fine, a 37-year-old hairdresser and co-founder of The Blockhouse, views the shop as a place where men can go back to a time when technology was not a constant distraction. He remembers when his father and grandfather took the time to wake up early, get a cup of coffee and read the newspaper, all while waiting for their name to be called at the barbershop for a haircut.

“Our goal is to allow dudes to have that time again. It’s a nod to what used to be,” Fine says. He believes The Blockhouse has succeeded in offering a slower-paced ambiance. “To be able to sit in the space and be quiet and relax for a second is kind of refreshing.”

In addition to being a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life, the barbershop has become a source of support in the community.

“We have been open nine months now, so we are starting to walk guys through babies and divorces, dealing with every up and down life throws at you,” Brown says. “They bring it in here.”

But this safe haven did not come without a good amount of hard work and long hours. Brown, Fine and Hockensmith have shaped this place together, spending nights and weekends polishing, grinding and building The Blockhouse brand. And it wasn’t just a matter of gathering investors; finding a talented team of hairstylists was challenging, as well.

Dallas McClaird, a hairdresser at The Blockhouse, styles Hunter Clark’s hair at the barbershop in Nashville, Tenn., in May. (Photo by Loren Townsley)

Opening and maintaining a “small business is hard, to be honest,” Fine says. “It takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort, (which) a lot of people don’t see.”

The three men hope to encourage Nashville residents to visit by offering a complimentary beer for every new customer who gets a haircut.

After receiving positive feedback from the community, The Blockhouse founders are thinking about adding a second location. Although it’s early in the production stage, Fine said he sees great opportunity for growing the business.

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