The recent trend of throwback-style barbershops have developed a uniform feel: a 1920s moustache silhouette hanging on the wall, right next to a poster of a Barney Stinson quote about suits. Somewhere in the room, there’s probably a play-by-play of Jordan’s Game 6-winning basket. It’s nice, but it’s basically just an aesthetic. There might be wood paneling on the walls, but these places aren’t really serious about what the barbershop used to be: a convergence point for men of all types, and thus, a place where business can happen.
Amidst all the noise rises The Refined, a newly opened grooming lounge with clear-cut intentions and goals—the smooth marriage of good grooming and business prowess. Nöel Caguiat, one of the venture’s partners, shares that his team grooms with the mindset that the customers are off to a business meeting right after the session, so they give it their all. Whiskey comes complimentary, but if you actually are heading to a business meeting, you can also just get a cup of coffee.
The Omega package is a two-hour grooming session that resets you in the middle of a busy day–with a proper haircut to add. It starts with the crew shampooing and treating your hair with Nioxin, a renowned anti-hair-thinning product that cools and relaxes your scalp. A facial is then applied with moisturizer, a regimen that The Refined wants to introduce to the local men’s culture. After the facial, you’re treated to a hot towel and a massage. Finally, during the haircut, you’re offered a shoeshine (so make sure to dress-up when you go).
However, The Refined doesn’t want to be just another grooming salon. Aside from offering services like a Mandala Bar partnered spa treatment and selling fine products in the front of the store, The Refined is taking steps in building a community in their intended “network lounge”.
When you walk into the grooming space, 80% of the floor is occupied by lounge sofas and one-on-one tables. The Refined actually encourages its regulars to visit, sit down, and do personal work – whether or not you avail of their services. Some clients even like to have quick business meetings in-between treatments.
Just like the entrepreneurs who frequent the lounge, The Refined likes to dabble with various products and services that interest them and their clients. The shop at the entrance sells different sophisticated trinkets that change all-year round. All around the space, one can procure local artworks curated by the owners. In-the-works for early this year is a custom tailoring pop-up shop They are also currently working on connecting with a by-appointment tattoo parlour.
Glass liquor containers available at the shop lobby
The shop collaborates with its community. One haircut led a customer to hold a Porsche Club Philippines meet-up in the lounge. Drinks and grooming were done in-store while the various Porsches sat pretty within view. Nöel noticed that Bitcoin was becoming a hot topic with his clients, so he’s planning on holding seminars on the topic in the space.
As URBN was closing down above their shop, Caguiat asked the owner if he can keep the “R” to use in The Refined.
Caguiat jokes that he would like to keep score of all the business deals that have gone down in his store. It seems like good grooming and easy lounging are conducive to the kind of business The Refined has been trying to build. After a few months of having its doors open, their small but growing following shows a soul that other barbershops can’t simply hang on a wall.
The Refined is located at 2/F Fort Point II Building, The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City Taguig