I recently got the opportunity to travel to Baltimore for the first time. I don’t often make it to the east coast, so I had a good time exploring a new city. During my stay there I discovered a few fantastic little gems being operated by some amazing gentlemen. These men (and women) stood out from their east coast brethren for their attitudes of service, something I found altogether lacking for the majority of my east coast experience.
As I was wandering around the harbor area I noticed that the local police were wearing some outstanding Stetson hats. I inquired about them and they directed me toward a little shopping mall in which lay my first gem of gentlemanliness. The charming little store was called Hats in the Belfry, which immediately drew a smile from me. I’ve always been a sucker for clever names. Upon entering I was greeted by an entire store full of hats, floor to ceiling. They had everything a gentleman looking for a hat could want; top hats, fedoras, pork pies, bowlers, women’s hats, and even a few tasteful ball caps. I was also greeted by a jovial gentleman named Keith. He was a pleasure to talk to and his knowledge of hats must have rivaled the hatters of olden times. After a lengthy discussion with him, I selected a well crafted black fedora with a much broader brim than my ultra stingy. The store was a delightful surprise, nestled in amongst the more traditional tourist traps associated with waterfront malls. If you ever find yourself near one of these stores, they are worth a look. I saw hats ranging from the low twenties well into the low hundreds. During my wide ranging conversations with Keith he recommended my second destination, the Quinntessential Gentleman. Yes, they spell it with two n’s. Maybe it’s an east coast thing.
On my way to check out the Quinntessential Gentleman, I found a second gem; the JoS. A. Bank clothing store. I know they have them all over the country, but this one was staffed by actual gentlemen. I wasn’t looking for anything in the way of upscale clothing, but a book in the window caught my eye in passing. I was only in the store for a few minutes, but while I was there I watched the employees interact with a few customers and each other and I found myself to be quite impressed. These were true gentlemen. The deference they showed everybody was outclassed only by the clothing in the store. I only noticed the price tag on one item, and I think I could have replaced about a quarter of my current wardrobe at the same cost, but the book I purchased was quite reasonable. Everything in the store looked like it was hand spun out of the finest materials by clothing artisans. It probably wasn’t but I did get that impression. During my conversations with a well dressed, immaculately groomed gentleman named Michael, he also recommended the Quinntessential Gentleman. Book in hand, I exited the JoS. A. Bank clothing store and continued on my way.
Much like Hats in the Belfry, I found the Quinntessential Gentleman nestled away. It sits in the base of a large structure that if memory serves was a hotel of some sort. I was immediately impressed with its sense of style. It had an old school look about it, like somebody took an old black and white photo of a barber shop and added some modern colors to it, but left the rest completely unaltered. The olden charms were in every corner, hanging from every wall, and heard in every word spoken within the walls of this shop. They offered products from old style shave kits to magnetic collar stays and services from shaves to haircuts. This was not just a place to come and get trimmed, it was a place to hang out and enjoy a conversation over a game of chess or pool. I mean that literally, there is a chess board and pool table in the upstairs lounge. Appointments are recommended for most services, but I was in luck that somebody had just canceled so they were able to fit me in for a quick trim.
Manning the desk was Karey. She was a delight to talk to, alternating between asking questions and providing local insights. We did share one particular thing in common. When she tells people that she runs a gentleman’s shop, she gets the same reaction I get when I tell people I run a gentleman’s website; the wrong one. She was able to squeeze me in thanks to the aforementioned cancellation, so my total time to wait was about to minutes.
I treated myself to a haircut. The attention to detail provided will rank this amongst my top five haircuts of all time. A hot lather and straight razor to finish the neck line ears and sideburns really made it the most precise trim I’ve ever experienced. It would not have surprised me even a little bit if my executive barber, Jacquie, pulled out a ruler. She was seriously that meticulous about the length of each hair she touched. Jacquie kept up a running commentary and conversation that really added to the experience. She was as gifted a conversationalist as she was a barber.
Should you find yourself in the harbor area of Baltimore, these three places should definitely be on your itinerary. Tell them Godly Gentleman sent you. Who knows, if enough people do they might send me a nice hat or shaving kit. All kickback kidding aside, I highly recommend these places for their old time charm, stand out style, and their high quality employees that genuinely care about the customers.