A drink and a shave: Cedar Rapids hair salons offer drinks to increase popularity

Local barbershop partners with Iowa Brewing Co.

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Nowadays, when a customer goes for a haircut or a shave, they have the option to enjoy a drink as well.

What more could a guy ask for?

Salons and other grooming based businesses have been taking on new avenues to increase their popularity among clients by offering them a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage during their salon visit. The practice has been a custom across the country for some time. Last year in California, state legislators passed a bill that allowed barbershops and beauty salons to serve alcohol to clients without a liquor license.

The practice also is used in Cedar Rapids salons, including Moods Salon and Spa at 905 Third St. SE in NewBo.

Kelsey Freshour, who opened Moods Salon and Spa in the New Bohemian District in Cedar Rapids in April, said her shop offers wine and beer, as well as coffee, soda and other beverages to customers.

Freshour said it doesn’t drive customers to her door.

“It’s a perk, it’s a benefit we have because it helps people relax and it’s an added benefit to the guest experience,” she said.

And now businesses that cater to men have stepped into that territory as well.

Five Seasons Hair and Beard Studio formed a partnership with Iowa Brewing Company to serve beer straight from the keg to their clients during their shaves and haircuts.

Chris Krause, owner of the barbershop, said the partnership with the brewery was formed in May after he opened his location at Collins Road NE. He previously had been operating a shop within the Lindale Mall for about a year.

“We’re pretty excited about it, and the clients love it so far,” Krause said.

In Iowa, establishments must have a liquor license, a beer permit or a wine permit, according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

Critics say the practice can create concerns that it makes it more likely for underage drinking or driving while intoxicated to occur,

“We have to be careful not letting someone whose not of age pour themselves a beer, but so far it hasn’t been an issue,” Krause said. “That’s really the only concern. Outside of that, it’s been a total home run.”

State legislators in California passed a bill that allowed barbershops and beauty salons to serve alcohol to clients without a liquor license.

Krause said he receives a keg containing a new flavor from the Cedar Rapids-based brewery each week.

So far, the practice has been very popular with customers, Krause said.

“People really enjoy being able to pour their own beer,” he said.

Krause first implemented the idea at his first barbershop, Men’s Room Hair and Beard Parlor on Mount Vernon Road SE. There, Krause and the 10 barbers at that location would chip in $10 to $15 each to fill a cooler full of beer every Friday.

“We just did it one day on a whim,” Krause said. “It was a huge hit, so much so that it started to become a part of our brand.”

However, Krause said he wanted to bring in beer from a local brewery for his newest location.

“I thought it would be really cool, since we pride ourselves on being locally owned and operated,” he said. “For me, it was an opportunity to help and try to promote a local brand that I was a big fan of.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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