Mensroom. A room for men — or so the name suggests.
Its website describes it as a men’s salon and lounge, which left me with many unanswered questions, though I had some preconceived notions about this place before entering. For one, I pictured hipster bearded men as the stylists. I imagined menus with the highest-end scotch and small-batch bourbons given to clients as they awaited their straight razor-hot towel shaves.
Well, I was wrong. There were no male employees (at least none that I met), and even though the website says that it offers both normal shaves and straight-razor shaves, my husband’s stylist wasn’t licensed for that service, so he couldn’t receive it. And there was no scotch or bourbon anywhere to be found.
They did, however, offer wine — Bota Box, to be exact — as well as beer, coffee, tea, water, etc.
The women stylists wore tight black shirts and, according to the website, “have a passion for men’s grooming as well as fierce (guy) conversations. They know their sports, news and just about anything you need to know about their beloved city of Portland.” (Because clearly men only care about those topics.) So, sort of like a Hooters-style salon, without the award-winning wings.
My husband and I arrived about an hour before the salon closed and ordered the “more than a cut” for him ($43). As I mentioned, we were really hoping for a scotch while we waited, but settled for a glass of red wine and a glass of white wine (both free with the haircut). Don’t let the facility name fool you; even though its called a salon and lounge, it’s not allowed to sell alcohol, only to give a complimentary beverage with purchase. Beer options include Bud Light, PBR and Heineken; the coffee is from Starbucks, there’s also lemonade and hot chocolate.
Everyone inside was very friendly and didn’t seem to care that (gasp) a woman entered the Mensroom. It must happen more than I thought. Inside, it was a well designed, cool space. Its large brick accent wall was warm and rustic. There was a pool table to keep clients busy while waiting for a salon treatment. The seating area was comfortable with its couch, large-screen TV and a massage chair that I took advantage of. And while the establishment can’t sell alcohol, the wine pours were very generous.
When it was time, my husband’s haircut began with a neck, shoulder and scalp massage, then a shampoo and condition before the haircut. The girl was very sweet and chatty, and the cut was decent.
All in all, it was a positive experience, pleasant ambiance, and a really nice way to start an evening out. Even though Mensroom is technically not a bar, it’s a cool spot to kick off your festivities. My husband got a little spiffy, I got some wine, and then afterwards, we headed out to dinner and for a night on the town.
WHERE: 8 City Center, Portland
PHONE: (207) 874-8080
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
AMENITIES: Large screen TV, free beverage with service, daily specials on cuts and shaves, neck, shoulder and scalp massage
BOTTOM LINE: Though it wasn’t quite what I expected inside, the Mensroom is a unique option for men who want to clean themselves up before a night out. It’s like a higher-end pre-game for the bars. And for any women out there feeling left out, check out its sister establishment, Acapello Salons.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes