A Bit of Nostalgia Lives on in Historic Downtown Melbourne
By Jaimie M. Engle, Photos by John Hilton
When barber Alfie Silva was a boy he would go to the barber shop with his grandpa. It became one of his fondest memories: pipe smoke in the air, flat top haircuts, and the barber with the airplane tattoo and handle bar mustache.
Today, Alfie is the proud owner of Alfie’s Barber
Shop in Downtown Melbourne. After years of styling women’s hair and owning Dead Sexy Hair, a successful salon downtown, Alfie found himself burned out. He wanted to open a spot where men could receive the same quality of pampering and grooming that women receive in day spas. Alfie recognized the need for men to learn style and grooming techniques, seeing how so many men today haphazardly throw themselves together, and decided to open an old-fashioned barber shop. Recreating those of the 20s and 30s, Alfie’s Barber Shop features chairs a century old, clay spit urns, and antique fixtures from his personal collection. “Everything old is new again,” said Alfie, as vintage era jazz buzzes in the background.
Through his belief in a scent-memory connection, as evidenced by the distinguished smells of the candles and products in his shop, he generates a unique, relaxed environment for each client emanating from his own childhood barber shop memories. “We offer something different,” Alfie said. “A place where men can become business ready, relationship ready, and well-groomed.” In addition, his shop offers cufflinks, candles, and men’s grooming supplies for purchase.
Tony Reilly works alongside Alfie sharing the same desire to help re-establish proper grooming practices for all men, young and old. This Navy Hospital Corpsman turned barber wanted to work with his hands more, and after five years of service, decided to go to barber school in May of 2013. His interest gravitated toward hot towel shaves, something he was always interested in even before barber school. A lost art, he spent countless hours in barber school learning the techniques and old-fashioned ways, which most barbers do not take the time to bother with anymore. “It’s kind of like a facial for men,” Tony said. “Anyone can shave at home, but here they can relax for 40-minutes, with warm towels, and…did I mention free beer?”
After your great cut or hot towel shave, be sure to catch Alfie at the Henegar Center or performing his one man, show, “Impressions Unplugged.” With more than 20 years experience, Alfie impersonates up to 28 unique characters, including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
Stop in for a cut, grab a beer, and enjoy the ambience of this old-fashioned barber shop as Alfie Silva and Tony Reilly whisk you back in time, if only for fifteen minutes. Alfie’s Barber Shop is located in Historic Downtown Melbourne at 818 E. New Haven Avenue in Unit 2 in La Gallerie, an alleyway of shops positioned between The Irish Shop and The Flop Shop, near Meg O’Malley’s Irish Pub. Cuts and shaves start at $10.