Frank’s Gentlemen’s Salon is a unique place in Denver where men can come get their beard trimmed or their hair cut, have a beer or coffee, and get a manicure or facial. The all-encompassing concept originates from South Carolina, where co-owner Burton Johnson used to live. After visiting the original Frank’s, Johnson loved the idea of having a space for men to come in to unwind and pamper themselves. Owners Burton Johnson and Lisa Franz received a call about a space on 21st and Larimer and decided it was the opportunity to bring Frank’s to Denver.
Currently, nearly half of their clientele are out-of-towners, along with regulars, and walk-ins that take a peek through the big windows on Larimer.
“Denver is such a mix of people and we welcome everyone. We have men that walk in who just got off their construction job and then we have men in business suits and everyone in between. We also have women who come in that appreciate the barber’s style of haircuts, including shorter hair and undercuts, as well as transgender individuals. It feels really good,” said Molly Brennan, the manager at Frank’s Gentlemen’s Salon downtown.
Since Frank’s opened its doors on February 3, 2017, part of its aim is to have an unbiased, comfortable space.
“Even though it’s become a lot more acceptable for men to take care of themselves, there’s still a stigma attached to it. It’s important to get away from societal norms, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, where you came from, take the time to do something for yourself,” said Brennan. “A lot of times in this industry, you don’t even want to go into certain places because you don’t feel cool enough.”
From start to finish, when someone walks in the door at Frank’s it’s an uplifting experience. It starts at the door with a greeting, followed by taking your bags, coat, and the offer of a beverage. Next, you’re brought into the Man Cave, a waiting room with a rustic theme that feels like home, complete with a big screen TV, a comfortable couch, magazines, and more. Brennan points out that a lot of times the Man Cave is full of women who have dropped off their boyfriend or husband, and that the feel of the space doesn’t make waiting for something negative.
“We want everyone to feel like they’re having a royalty moment. Everything going on outside is left at the door and they don’t even have to worry about picking up their belongings, we take care of all that, it’s relaxing. All of our barbers and stylists listen to client concerns about hair, and we get to know them as a person. We also love telling them how good they look and enjoy building confidence,” Brennan said.
Something that sets Frank’s apart is that it’s run primarily by women.
“We take pride in the fact that we’re all badass women from different backgrounds running the shop. It’s a perfect balance of energy between men and women. We’re all strong women and we can hang with men and they can hang with us. We all exchange barbershop banter and talk about world issues, music, movies, and just about everything,” Brennan pointed out. Of course, spa services like manicures and facials set Frank’s apart too and it differs from a typical salon where you’d be out in the open, sitting next to mostly women and feel like everyone’s looking at you. The room reserved for said services is tucked in the back for some privacy. A lot of men who have never experienced a pedicure end up loving it and come back for more.
For the man who’s never been to Frank’s, Brennan suggests getting the haircut experience, as it differs from most barbershops in that it’s not a dry cut. It includes shampoo and a soothing scalp massage, as well as a straight razor shave. Getting a manicure or pedicure is a quiet and relaxing experience that has long-lasting results. “We have men who come from out of state who want a straight razor shave because it feels so good, it’s like getting a facial treatment but you sit back and someone shaves for you. Even just a haircut is an experience overall, it’s not just popping into a chain and getting a quick cut, it’s high quality,” Brennan said.
Along with treating yourself, you’ll also be supporting local Denver products. For beard treatments, names like True Grit and Blake Street Beard Oil Company are featured. Frank’s also offers membership options that include free guest passes for friends and family, discounts on products, and other services like facials and beer and wine. As far as future plans, opening more Frank’s Gentlemen’s Salon’s throughout Colorado is included, as well as VIP events for members, styling events and more. The salon also hopes to expand its beer program to feature more local breweries as the shop continues to grow. Stop into Frank’s at 2111 Larimer Street and treat yourself.
All photography by Kacie Loura.