On a recent visit to New Orleans I made the rounds, as is my wont, of my favorite manly haunts—and I’m not referring to strip clubs or steakhouses. NOLA is many things to many people, but it’s especially fertile terrain for the dapper southern (or northern) gentleman. I am neither, but I do like me a good hat, a good suit, and a good shave.
For the latter I hit Aidan Gill Barber Shop —either the original on Magazine Street or the newer branch on Fulton Street downtown. Their 30-minute, hot-towel “Shave at the End of the Galaxy” is more indulgent than a four-hour lunch at Galatoire’s, and you’ll look a lot better afterward. There are pints of Guinness to sip, 1960s Playboys to flip through, and gleaming shelves of shaving products, from badger brushes to mock-ivory handles to Truefitt & Hill creams and oils.
That takes care of the chin. For the top of the head, it’s Meyer the Hatter , founded in 1894 and self-proclaimed “largest hat store in the South.” Aided by the ever-patient veteran staff, I never fail to come away with a handsome new crown: a breezy Milan Coronado, a summer-weight shantung center-dent from Dobbs, perhaps a jazzy two-tone Bailey Mannes. Don’t forget the white kerchief for brow-dabbing on sultry afternoons.
Just around the corner is 85-year-old Rubenstein’s , New Orleans’ original men’s store and still the best source for suits (from up-to-the-minute Paul Smith to old-school-dandy seersuckers) and grooming products by Acqua di Parma and Santa Maria Novella. Now you’re ready for that four-hour lunch.
Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large.