L.I.C Tonsorial: Beyond Just a Barbershop
By Ilija Sekulovski
L.I.C Tonsorial is owned by Luis Bolanos, who at first glance is easily mistaken for much older than his 22 years. The first time we meet him, he’s in a classic tailored three-piece suit – he is charming, without a single ounce of pretentiousness. He is quiet and intense – but you can see his childlike excitement when he talks about his passion: being a barber.
“I had a friend Mario growing up, and he used to give kids shape ups for three dollars. I watched him and learned. Pretty soon I started cutting hair at 11 years old in my mother’s bathroom.
I was sweeping floors at 12 years old on 81st and Roosevelt in a barbershop, and I fell in love with the environment. By 13, I was mastering skills and had my own clients!”
It was this first experience that solidified Luis’ dream: One day, he would own his very own barbershop, recreating the environment he grew up in and loved.
“I worked in a barbershop in Greenwich Village,” he tells us, “And it had a really 1920’s vibe. It was a social scene, a place for guys to relax, and I thought ‘When I open my own place, I want it to be like this!’”
And so, finally, LIC Tonsorial was created – and Luis went all out with his 1920’s style.
“I always loved watching people like Johnny Torrio. I loved classic style, I loved that era. I wanted a barbershop that emulated the time period. LIC Tonsorial is classic – we have giant vintage chairs, we use straight razors. I wanted it to be authentic.”
Now – it’s not just all atmosphere. Luis’s barbershop uses all tools and techniques required to perfect every haircut and shave: creating expertly sculpted hairstyles, and shaves that are close as can be. They specialize in New York Style fades, beard clean ups, Turkish shaves, Japanese style feathering, and much more.
Alongside him, Luis has a second master barber named Gerardo who has more than 26 years of experience under his belt. Gerardo focuses on perfecting every haircut from fades to shaves. While he comes from the Dominican Republic and primarily speaks Spanish, his work speaks volumes for him – no conversation necessary.
Together the two create an unbeatable duo: providing any haircut or shave that a man could need. They’re currently searching for another barber to join their team. The requirements? A passion for the art (experience helps as well!)
“We only use straight razors, and shave twice – so that the skin is as smooth as it can get. Straight razors cause less irritation, so our clients are waking up the next day without bumps or red skin, just smooth, stubble free skin.”
They also employ classic herb oils – which Luis researches and chooses himself.
“I come from an Ecuadorian background, and throughout our history we’ve always used natural products. I began researching with the help of my friend Richard, and picked oils that would enhance the experience, and also that would work great on skin. I choose different oils for each season – it’s all about what works best for the client.”
At LIC Tonsorial, one of their best offerings is the hot towel shave. It’s as close to pampering your face as you can get. It involves a pre-shave oil treatment, followed by a hot towel infused with tea tree oil and eucalyptus (both of which are naturally antiseptic and great for skin). They then give you what might be the best shave you’ve ever received. It’s also been called the “Cuban Knockout,” aptly named by a Cuban friend who would fall asleep like clockwork during the relaxing treatment.
In emulating the 1920’s, Luis stuck with the idea of a barbershop being a men’s social club. It’s a place where men gather to shave and get haircut, but also where they come to relax, socialize, and enjoy a space dedicated to them. They’ve also got complimentary drinks, ranging from whiskey to cognac – with a different bottle each week.
Overall, Luis aims to bring the best of the barber world to the men of LIC.
“A barbershop is sacred,” Luis tells us, “Whatever happens in the barbershop, whatever conversations are spoken, they stay here.”
If you want a cut at LIC Tonsorial, appointments fill up quick. While they are looking to expand, they currently only do appointments – but there’s a reason.
“We spend an hour on each appointment. We never rush anyone. Each cut or shave is unique, it takes time. We give everyone the full treatment.”
To find out more, keep up with L.I.CTonsorial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you want to check out L.I.C Tonsorial, this is your chance: We’ve got a FREE haircut and shave to give away right here!
41-10 34th Avenue
347 654 6386
E-mail or call for appointments