Things in Las Vegas aren't always as they seem. And that's certainly the case when it comes to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas' newest addition to the world renowned property - a charmingly rustic barbershop, The Barbershop Cuts and Cocktails, manned by master barber Jose Sosa. An East Coast native, Sosa wanted to bring the flair and character of an old-school New York City barbershop to The Cosmopolitan, which is apparent from the shop's immaculately slick styling and cool interior that throws back to a swank yesteryear.
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"I wanted it to be a relaxing environment for a man," Sosa tells The Daily Meal. "I wanted this to be a place for a man to be himself, to relax, but to also at the same time get top quality grooming and pampering. And this is an elevated experience. This isn't a barbershop with 10 or 20 chairs. There's three chairs, and the barbers have a high level of skill and experience."
But the unique experience doesn't end after a classic cut, beard trim or straight razor shave. "What's the best thing to do after a haircut?" Sosa asks. "Show it off! And now we have that in one venue."
Open the door to the janitor's closet, and you'll walk into a small room barely 5 feet wide. A doorman will knock on a large heavy door, and a small window in the door will slide open; a set of eyes peering through, asking for the password. If you give the correct answer, the secret entrance will open, revealing a spectacular hidden-away Prohibition-era speakeasy.
That's right: After your haircut, you can get a cocktail. No wonder Nevada is one of the states that consumes the most alcohol in America.
"During Prohibition, barbershops had secret bars and speakeasies, and we're bringing that back around," explains Sosa. "The waiting chairs in the barbershop are from the '70s, the barber chairs that you're getting your hair cut in are 90 years old. There are pieces here of that era, to bring it all back full circle." And it's the same inside the bar itself too, with the centerpiece of the room being an authentically handcrafted mahogany Brunswick bar originating from Kentucky in the 1800s. Chandeliers adorn the ceiling, with leather couches for patrons to relax on, next to classic tables and elegant light trimmings. An earnest and unassuming stage for live music is lit up at the far end, meant to showcase both bands and DJs. It's the ultimate bygone and voguish hangout for the sophisticated patron.
"It's just a different type of vibe," says the bar's "master intoxicologist," Eric Hobbie. "It all takes you out of Vegas and to a special place." The drinks menu at the speakeasy boasts a strong whiskey game - Hobbie's team proudly touts a carefully curated barrel-aged whiskey selection - alongside a wall of various other spirits, and craft beers.
Hobbie insists that his true agenda is whiskey-focused, and he's proud of the selection on offer from all corners of the world. "Creating this menu, I really wanted to bring people who aren't whiskey drinkers into the world of whiskey," he says. "Eighty percent of the whiskey menu has really familiar ingredients on there - prosecco, strawberry puree, grapefruit juice. I use these familiar ingredients to crack that shell a little bit, for people who aren't big whiskey drinkers. There are a couple of options on there for the old fashioned- and manhattan-style drinkers, but I really wanted to make a cocktail menu to help the non-whiskey drinkers experience whiskey."
The Barbershop's Mustache Ride cocktail features Jameson whiskey, cherry Heering and a vanilla orgeat made in house. Guinness is shaken to a foamy layer, and is then topped with a Black Islay mustache made with Laphroaig 10 Year and activated charcoal. It's a multisensory drink that's also a quirky nod to the barbershop front.
Hobbie also recommends The Danger, a riff off the classic old fashioned, using Japanese whiskey, a cherry lemon sour mash spirit made locally in Vegas, and Solerno, a blood orange liqueur from Sicily.
In a city where a flashy, modern exterior seems to bring in the crowds, The Barbershop Cuts and Cocktails is a charmingly trendy rebel. Its understated yet classic old-school pride offers visitors an unconventionally ritzy night out. Just make sure you're not getting any hair in your drink - that could be one of the cocktail ingredients making you feel like dirt.