First Look! Take A Tour Of The Brand-New Freemans Barbershop On Valencia

Today marks the highly anticipated opening of Freemans Sporting Club and Barbershop, a much loved New York import now located at the corner of Valencia and 18th Street. We got a look at the space over the weekend, and boy is she a beauty! All decked out in warm woodsy tones, the open, vintage-inspired space features a row of five antique barber chairs, an old-fashioned shoe-shining station, a large waiting area with an oval-shaped, custom-made bench, and a shop-in-shop that will feature the natty clothing and accessories of the much-obsessed F.S.C. label (ie: dudes rejoice!). To find out more about Freemans' move out West, we caught up with Half Moon Bay native (but N.Y.C. resident) Sam Buffa, who runs the barbershop with his brother Jonah, who just happens to live across the street.

Why did you guys choose SF for your first location outside of New York?
“Jonah and I are both from Half Moon Bay, so it’s something that’s been on my mind for a long time. Over the last few years, it seems that San Francisco has changed a lot from when I was growing up. The guys and girls here seem to have a similar attitude as me and my friends in New York. And so we thought this is something that people would enjoy here just as much as they do out there. I originally opened in New York because I saw a gap in the market. It was always like, 'Do I go to the cheap barbershop that does three types of haircuts, or I do go to the $100 salon?' I think there’s the same feeling here that there just isn’t that place in San Francisco. And I hope we can become that place."
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How did you come to find the space?
“We’d been looking up and down Valencia for about six months. Initially, we were just going to do the barbershop, but then we found this great corner space. So, [Freemans Sporting Club] can have their footprint, and the F.S.C. Barbershop can have its own.”

What should people know about the barbershop that's special? "It’s all about having a great price point and trying to merge the salon and barbershop talent together and having them under one roof. We’ve worked really hard at training barbers so that they can be stylists, and stylists so they know how to be barbers. We feel like for $40, you should be able to get what you want and get it in a beautiful environment. It’s walk-in service only, there really aren’t any gimmicks, and ideally it’ll become a part of this neighborhood and a real institution."
Explain some of the special features of this shop.
"We’re excited to have a big retail apothecary area, which will carry stuff by Baxter of California and Malin + Goetz, and Odin perfume. All the decor is antique except for the waiting bench, which we had made. The whole back bar of the barbershop and all of its fixtures were made in 1893 for the World’s Fair in Chicago. It’s all mahogany and has a Victorian feel and it won the gold medal for hand-carving!"

How would you describe San Francisco style today?
"I’ve been noticing this great blend of classic '70s outdoor-wear, like the original Patagonia and North Face, and all of these West Coast-based brands with this sort of old time-y aesthetic. That’s how I dress. I’m an outdoors person, I grew up in the Red Woods, and I love it. I think it’s sort of a new style in San Francisco, and it’s great because the people here are sort of defining their own style."
So, it's safe to say you're pro-fleece then?
"I definitely have a Patagonia fleece in here that's getting dusty somewhere!"
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