Shave and a Haircut

A former Petaluma bartender trades her cocktail shaker for a pair of clippers.

(photo by John Burgess)

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned barbershop, with a colorful striped pole, leather chairs and friendly conversation. Petaluma’s Boulevard Barbers and Shaving Parlour has all of those elements, plus something most barbershops don’t: a young, female owner.

The shop is run by Sara Sass, a former Petaluma bartender who gave up her cocktail shaker for a pair of clippers last summer.

“I loved bartending while I did it, but I knew that I would grow to hate it if I stayed in the industry,” she said. “I looked into many different careers, but barbering kept coming up. I started spending more time in local shops and found that I loved the environment.”

Since opening Boulevard Barbers a year ago, Sass, 31, said she’s noticed parallels between the two professions. “I stand on my feet all day, make conversation with friends and strangers, and get to meet a lot of tourists,” she said. “I love how people open up and share random life stories with both their barbers and bartenders.”

Boulevard Barbers is not one of those new hipster barbershops with handlebar-mustachioed stylists and $40 haircuts. It’s an old-school place, with no appointments necessary and just two chairs — one attended by Sass, the other by two part-time barbers. Haircuts cost $19 for men and $15 for boys. Not many traditional barbershops still do straight-razor shaves, but Sass’ shop does, for
only $25.

Sass also dispenses travel advice and local happy-hour recommendations, free of charge.