Frank’s Chop Shop
Old-fashioned American service at an unmistakably hip neighborhood barbershop
This brand new shop in Mihama American Village is called a barbershop — not a salon. First opened in New York City’s storied Lower East Side, Frank’s Chop Shop wears the description “old-fashioned” with pride – but is definitely a product of this century. Enter and receive a warm greeting. Have a seat. In the old days, you might have sipped a drink while you chatted with the barber or fellow patrons. Feel free to do so here as well.
When it’s your turn, cross the black and white lacquered floor. Sit back in a comfortable barber chair of chrome and hand-stitched leather. Feel the confidence of a classically trained professional as you receive a cut, straight shave or other gentlemen’s services that recall better days — when good service was an expectation, not a surprise.
All of the furnishings and décor in this cozy Mihama location pay homage the original New York shop that opened in 2006. Music playing in the background is a tasteful mix of genres that includes classic rock, jazz, soul, hip hop and others – it depends on the mood and taste of the clientele. “We cater to all ages and all walks of life,” said Frank’s Chop Shop owner Michael Malbon. “Some of our favorite moments have happened when three generations in a family come in at the same time – grandson, dad and grandpa.”
According to Malbon, the mix of old-fashioned service and hip modernity make Frank’s the kind of place where people can get to know folks they might not meet elsewhere. “You see an older businessman in the chair right next to a famous rapper,” Malbon said. “Everyone is treated the same… In our shops we don’t see race, age, sex, etc. We’re known for that.” The following that Frank’s Chop Shops have attracted in their other locations from New York to Los Angeles to Japan speaks volumes and includes famous actors, news anchors, musicians, corporate CEOs and many “ordinary guys.”
“It’s hard to explain,” said Malbon when asked about the reason for the popularity of his brand. “But, I have to say, it’s the vibe. It’s not just about the quality of the cut. Obviously the master barbers of our shops are important, but the music, décor, cleanliness and the good taste of the clientele play important parts.”
Meet your barber
All of Frank’s Chop Shop’s barbers are fully qualified with the certificates and apprenticeships to prove it. Still, the final word on whether or not they are truly qualified comes from the mandatory training and final screening that take place at Frank’s Chop Shop’s main location in New York City. Under the watchful eye of their original master barber, Mr. Bee Wiseman, prospective barbers are evaluated and coached, not only on technique, but on the suitability of their personalities. “Bee,” says Malbon. “is not only one of the best barbers in the world, but also a master in style, conversation and professionalism. And,” Malbon adds, “he’s got great taste in music.”
New York, Los Angeles… Japan?
This new location in Mihama American Village in sunny Chatan is the fourth of Frank’s Chop Shops in the world and the second in Japan. “I’ve been going to Japan for many years arranging parties and other business,” said Malbon, whose client list has included some of the biggest names in hip hop and other music genres. “After the NYC and L.A. barber shops were opened, one in Japan seemed only natural.” He began with a shop in Fukuoka Prefecture which is now very busy. Why Okinawa? “On a spur of the moment idea, we decided to fly to Okinawa for a couple of days off and simply fell in love with the island,” Malbon said. “The rest is history.”
The shop is located on the second floor of Mihama American Village’s Distortion Building, near to neighbors Bar Cheers and others. Be welcome. Have a seat and relax…. You deserve it.
Three grand openings
A threesome of grand opening parties will be held toward the end of the month to give the shop – which opened for business early in March – a proper introduction. All will feature special guests, music and other entertainment. See the Okinawa NightLife events page for more information:
Date: Friday, March 24, 2017
Place: Club Diamond (2-9-6 Uechi, Okinawa City)
Date: March 30, 2017
Place: Bar Cheers and Rockers Cafe (next to Frank’s Chop Shop)
Admission: 2,000 yen/$20 includes one drink (check in at Frank’s Chop Shop)
Date: March 31, 2017
Time: Club Epica (1-5-1 Namura Plaza Bldg., 3F, Matsuyama, Naha City)