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Martini Manicure

[whitespace] Beauty Bar Beauty Parlor Preservationists: Beauty Bar owners Aaron Buhrz and Paul Deavitt are keeping the crazy hairdos of the 1960s alive and well.

Andrea Chu



The Beauty Bar

By Diana Rupp

Happy hour manicures and house cocktails, like the Prell or Blue Rinse, make the Beauty Bar the perfect place to relax, catch up on gossip and, most importantly, be pampered. As part-owner Aaron Buhrz jokes, "I suppose it's the feminine version of a sports bar."

The Beauty Bar is the brainchild of New York-based impresarios Deb Parker and Paul Deavitt, who founded the original East Village location three years ago. San Francisco's Buhrz, who's also co-owner of the local design firm Penelope Starr, joined the pair when they decided to expand their business westward. All three are confident that the transplant will be a success. "Most bars, trendy bars, are busy for a year and then people move on," says Deavitt. "This concept transcends all that because it's unique. People will always be attracted to it."

The biggest challenge so far has been transforming a pre-existing bar into one that looks like an authentic 1960s-era beauty parlor. (The first Beauty Bar was simply opened in a "real" salon, thanks to NY's comparatively relaxed liquor laws.) Fixtures like styling chairs and dome dryers salvaged from a 1960s-era Long Island beauty salon are the perfect touch, along with kitschy, glitter-infused pink and turquoise walls, crystal chandeliers, baby blue sequined ceiling and wig-festooned lampshades.

The trademark decor has been an instant hit with SF's fashionistas and retro enthusiasts, and Parker, for one, couldn't be any happier. "I love being able to do what I call hysterical preservation. The whole history of the beauty parlor is going by the wayside. Those crazy hairdos are like a dying art."

Mixing gin and camp glamour, the Beauty Bar is the consummate tribute to the days when big hair, blue eye shadow and false eyelashes were de rigueur.


The Beauty Bar is located at 2299 Mission at 19th, 415/285-0323.

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From the December 7-20, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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