In Annapolis, Capistrano Barbershop Promises a Closer Shave
If you want to know where the best crabs can be found, and other fun facts about Annapolis, you have to get a haircut. We met a popular barber named Faraj Capistrano today, who runs Capistrano Barbershop, a hang-out for men who want a place to relax, have a beer, and enjoy some time just shooting the breeze. Faraj’s parents were Syrian and Sicilian, and he grew up in Israel. He came to Annapolis because he’s a boater, and today runs a local institution, where there are no TVs and customers drop in whenever they need a cut. No appointments needed.
But first we had to find Maryland Avenue–which you’d think would be pretty easy in this small city of 38,000, that was designed with two central rotaries and streets that spoke outward. But the foreign-born taxi driver we hired didn’t know where the street was. We found out later that most visitors never find this narrow commercial street, instead they stick close to the waterfront and to Main Street. The rents, said Faraj, are four times as high there and for his barbershop business being on Maryland street is perfect. He doesn’t need any tourists to pay his rent.
Men and boys pop in all day long–one guy had a big husky on a leash and the hound made a bee-line across the street to enter the shop. “It must be the smell of men,” said a man sitting beside me, who said he works for the FBI in Washington. Faraj makes no apologies that he doesn’t cut women’s hair, and loves the simplicity of men’s coifs–20 minutes and it’s done, and no washing or blowdrying needed.
But he said one thing that most younger men have never experienced is a barber shave. “Men never knew such a thing existed! They see women getting pampered, and having nails done and facials, but they didn’t know how great it feels to have a barber give you a straight razor shave.” With that, I looked over at my friend Jack who was in need of a cut, and he sat down for the full treatment.
After the hair cut, Faraj leaned the chair back and lathered Jack’s face with lotion, and then wrapped his whole face up in hot towels, and let it sit for a while. Then he took out the straight razor, (with a new blade for every customer) and began to carefully shave him, taking care to get every whisker and liberally applying more hot shaving cream. It took quite a while to get every one and when he was done, Jack said his face had never felt better.
While Annapolis is a popular tourist town, with thousands of visitors arriving by boat and by land, it’s nice to visit a place that’s frequented only by locals.