New Hamilton barbershop will offer hair-raising experience

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Published October 13, 2021 at 8:48 am

Tristan Hastings is the man behind the chair at Sweeney T's Barbershop opening soon in downtown Hamilton — photo by Michelle Vucetic

It might not be the demon barber himself, but Sweeney T’s Barbershop is opening soon in downtown Hamilton and it’s sure to offer a hair raising experience.

The horror-themed barbershop is slated to open this month in the Pro Beauty Suites on James North in downtown Hamilton, just in time for the spooky season.

Tristan Hastings, affectionately known to friends and clients as ‘Sweeney T’, is the shop’s proud owner and a lifelong horror aficionado.

“Horror has always been my thing,” Hastings told IntheHammer, adding that he’s been an avid collector of horror memorabilia for most of his life.

“I have always cut hair on the side and a friend jokingly called me ‘Sweeney T’ — because of my obsession with horror — and the name has just stuck.”

His horror obsession, Hastings said, has taken him many places in the world, including fan conventions, which has brought him face-to-face with some of the genre’s most famous figures including Wes Craven and Freddy Kruger himself, Robert Englund.

He says, however, that one of his all-time favourite movies is the 1981 Sam Raimi-directed classic ‘The Evil Dead,’ which also happens to be the movie that ignited his fandom.

“When I first saw the movie, I loved the feeling of being scared,” Hastings recalled. “I love the art that goes into it too.”

That artistic passion and his catchy nickname inspired Hastings’ long-held desire to run his own barbershop, which will also serve as a place to display some of his favourite collectables.

Hastings, who is a born-and-raised Hamiltonian, trained in the city at the Barber Centre — one of just two such institutions in Ontario — and while he spent a number of years teaching snowboarding in Western Canada, he always returned to barbering.

“I made money on the side cutting hair for a long time,” he said. “But I always loved doing it and with COVID and everything, the timing was right to come back to Hamilton.”

Hastings tried to launch his horror-themed shop in Mount Forest back in the winter of 2020, but the pandemic had other plans and the endeavour just couldn’t get off the ground. To Hastings, that was a sign that coming home would be the right move.

While Hastings took a job to help make ends meets while he and his wife, Michelle, navigated the pandemic, in his spare time he worked on making Hamilton’s version of Sweeney T’s Barbershop a reality.

It’s been almost two years and now Sweeney T’s is just days away from opening and Hastings is eager to start building his clientele in his hometown.

“I really have to hustle,” he said, adding that he’s very excited to be among the other professionals at his new location at Pro Beauty Suites.

His shop will offer the full range of barbershop services including hot towel shaves, beard and eyebrow grooming, cuts and more. The only service Hastings doesn’t provide is hair colouring.

Sweeney T’s Barbershop will open its doors to the public this Friday (Oct. 15). It’s located in the Pro Beauty Suites at 118 James St North, suite #5.

To book appointments or to learn more about Sweeney T’s Barbershop, reach out via phone at 905 977 8486, email at [email protected] or connect through social media.

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