By Kristin Boza
Swanny’s Barbershop, 10450 S. Western Ave., is more than just a place for men and boys to get the most stylish haircut; it’s a meeting place for people to gather and share stories and laughs. The old-school barbershop flair is coupled with precision hair styles and beard care, and its owner, Erik Pappas, is excited to bring a much-needed barbershop to Beverly/Morgan Park.
Pappas, born and raised in in the community, owns many properties in Beverly/Morgan Park and always felt drawn to opening a barbershop one day. He ramped up his plans once the existing barbershops on Western closed and there weren’t any local places for men and boys to get a haircut.
“I was traveling in Missouri and came upon a really cool men’s barbershop in an old gas station. I thought it was the neatest thing and wanted to bring a similar feeling to Beverly,” Pappas said. “I own the building where Swanny’s is now located and once the space became available, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. There’s really no barbershop for a kid to go and get a haircut on their bike after school, and that’s one of the reasons why I did it.”
To carry out his plan, Pappas first reached out to a long-time friend, Matt Carey, who is the main barber at Swanny’s, and then began designing the space to fit his vision. Swanny’s has an industrial-chic décor with an exposed ceiling, brick walls, and vintage-inspired pieces which, of course, include the iconic barber pole both inside and outside the shop.
“I love the natural look of exposed brick and a warehouse feel. I installed hardwood floors, ripped down the ceilings to expose the beams, and hired artist Paul Braxton to create a mural inside,” Pappas said. “I searched for some old-school barber chair replicas and found unique lighting to place above each station.”
Pappas had trouble coming up with a fitting name for his shop, and one day was inspired by his late friend, nicknamed Swanny.
“Swanny was a good buddy of ours and passed away five years ago. The idea to name the shop after him just stuck; his wife and son were on board and they were really excited about it,” he said. “Ironically, Swanny was bald, which is why we have a ‘Swanny’s Special’ named after him, which is a complete hair removal of the head and neck with clippers and a straight razor.”
Carey is well-versed in many other “manscaping” trends, which are very popular now. “People love a clean shave, a neat beard, and fades in their hair,” Pappas said. “It’s definitely a masculine thing to be clean, neat, and manicured.”
Jack Pappas, Erik’s son, designed the logo of a debonair fella with carefully coiffed hair and beard that really encapsulates the Swanny’s Barbershop vibe.
“We always have good music playing, and the TV on for sports. I think Swanny’s is a very comfortable place to hang out. Recently, we had 20 guys come in to celebrate a birthday; it’s just a fun place to be and I’m very proud of it.”
Pappas notes they are in need of more barbers, as the popularity of the shop has soared since it opened. Barbers can submit a resume on their website.
Make an appointment online at SwannysBarbershop.com.