Pop-Up Barber Shop Opens in Undisclosed Bernal Heights Location


On a walk yesterday afternoon, I saw an unusual sight in a neighbor’s garage: Barbering. Complete with barber pole.

Having just had my own hair cut on Saturday, I didn’t inquire about rates. But the convenience can’t be beat: just steps from my front door.

I will keep this gentleman in mind for my future haircutting needs.

37 thoughts on “Pop-Up Barber Shop Opens in Undisclosed Bernal Heights Location

  1. When I was a kid we had union barbers. They made a living wage, had actual shops, and didn’t cut hair on Mondays. If it was seen that you’d had a haircut on a Monday, you’d be shunned by the neighbors. Well, for one thing, the non-union barbers were usually pretty bad, especially this one guy who was blind in one eye and gave crooked cuts. Just sayin’……

  2. Ok, I know I’ll get lots of heat for this, so just go for it. Residential areas are not zoned for businesses like this. I get the “coolness/trendy/hipster factor, but fact is, if more of those neighbors EACH had a home business in the garage, what would that do to the character of the ‘hood? Parking issues, traffic, signage, etc.

    Ok bring out the pitchforks.

    • I don’t think there’s a problem with folks who are self-employed working out of their homes/garages. The problem here is that to be a barber, or hair stylist, in California, one must have a state license and a city business license. Plus there are regulations as to where one can setup a barber/beauty salon. I don’t know what they are here in San Francisco, but some cities do allow for them to be in one’s home. My mother is a hair dresser in San Jose and she has a licensed salon in her garage. She has all the permits, state and business licenses, etc. She doesn’t have a line of clientele coming and going. She mostly does it because she enjoys it and only works on friends and family.

      However, I think the guy pictured here can get away with it as long as he doesn’t advertise and charge.He can receive donations/tips for his service. And also as long as the neighbors don’t complain that it’s a nuisance.

      • Yes, the subject “barber” is questionable. Licensed or not? clean facility? in a garage? I don’t think so. I certainly would NOT want to be living right next door and have to deal with his customers coming and going. I would report it, if that were the case.

      • I don’t know for sure, but I bet this is a friends-and-family thing, too. I’ve seen him cutting hair a few times before, but usually there’s no sign of a barber shop operating there. Maybe he’s working on a cosmetology license, and getting some practice in the meantime. The garage looks pretty clean, on those few occasions I’ve seen it open for “business.”

      • From the state barber and cosmetology website:

        “4. I moved to a new location; can I still use my establishment license from the previous location?
        No. The license is only valid for the location and owner it is issued to. If you have moved, you will need to apply for a new Establishment Application.

        Operating an unlicensed establishment is a violation of Business and Profession Code 7317. Practice of Barbering, Cosmetology, or Electrolysis for Compensation Without License which carries a $1,000 fine.”

  3. Since barbers are involved in shaving (the face, the back of the neck, etc), I’d think that people should be concerned with sanitation. Remember when there was a big to-do about women getting infected toenails because of lack of sanitation in pedicure establishments? And they weren’t even cutting or nicking the skin…

  4. This young man is just a high school kid on my block who does hair for friends and family to make pocket money. As such, he is no threat to legitimate businesses and causes no problems in the neighborhood. Indeed he adds some fun color to the block and should be praised for his entrepreneurial spirit at a time when it is so hard for teenagers to find jobs.
    The problem this post raises for me, and I address this to Jobius, is why a photo of a person inside their home is being posted on your blog. I understand that if one’s garage door is open that one invites potential public scrutiny, but this posting seems to me to be an invasion of privacy. I make this comment as a fan of this website and with an interest in your response.

    • Thanks for your comment. Likewise, and obviously, Jobius and I are also fans of the barber.

      You answered your own question, I’m afraid: The garage door is open and this is a scene that is clearly visible from a public street. If privacy was a paramount concern, I would suggest that the barber could have chosen an alternate configuration.

    • I’ve seen him often as well. I thought it might be fun to have him cut my kids hair but he was soo not interested when I asked. He told me he just cuts his friend’s hair. No illegal business there. I think his grandma used to be a stylist which explains the chair etc. Anyway, I say leave the kid be. He seems to be staying out of trouble hanging out in his grandma’s garage with some friends.

  5. Either way, it is illegal to run a business outside of your home without the proper permits. Even if this guy has a barber’s license he is breaking the law as it is doubtful he has the permits/license to run a shop in his home. If the guy wants privacy he needs to keep the garage door closed. Someone needs to shut him down.

  6. I’m not sure I can live here anymore! I’m afraid of most of these comments and views.
    Live and let live do something more important with your time and voice. This is Bernal not Noe or Pacific heights.

      • Seriously. This guy isn’t infringing on anyone’s happiness. Let it go. If anything, I’m happy for a young person practicing a useful craft.

        One point of contention: I don’t know how blogs fit into the rules of use, but that photo is definitely in a grey area.

    • Seriously. For the commenters who are itchin to “call something in” (thankfully in a minority — for now), why don’t you instead call in your neighbors who rent their space out on AirBnB. Those neighbors ARE violating code (unless they are paying hotel tax) and it DOES have an impact. (Out of state license plate blocking your driveway? It’s probably the airBnB guests staying down the block!)

    • Sorry, but this is the problem when yupsters buy up all the houses here. They like the idea of a wild and wacky Bernal in theory, but really don’t want it in real life. This is why they put the nasty notices on people’s cars and condemn everything that happens in Bernal. I’m surprised nobody has moved to shut down the annual garage sale (no business permits) and the festival (mistreatment of animals — petting zoo).

  7. Much ado about nothing, folks. This is a teen helping friends and family, not a business operation. No harm is being done or laws violated. Case closed.

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