In 1999, Gilberto Valladares, “Papito”, created an artistic project, titled ArteCorte, with the intention of bringing together barbers, hairdressers, fine artists, designers and historians who were in someway involved with the hairdressing world. With this, emerged in the heart of Old Havana, El Callejón de los Peluqueros (The Hairdressers Alley), an alleyway off Aguiar street.
Papito’s own hairdressing salon turned into a house-museum, with old cash-registers, barber chairs from different times, as well as a host of paintings inspired by the art of hairdressing. Standing proudly besides these artworks is the steel plate, the first official license to practice hairdressing in Latin-American, granted by the Havana Council in 1552, to Juan Gómez. From these humble begins grew new business and opportunities in this surreal alleyway.
At the Callejón de los Peluqueros you can find restaurants, cafés, small galleries and studios, bars and, of course, barbershops. This alley stretching only roughly 100 meters, is not large by any means, but the tables on its cobblestones, the heterogeneous decoration of the different businesses, the parasols, the different colours of the buildings, create a magical expanse and transform this small alleyway into a small haven.
The alley provides for all needs, whether all you are after is a lunch or dinner, there are hosts of places to choose from. You can sit at the Café de los Artistas and take your pick from traditional Cuban dishes or a range of international foods, with a refined bar menu, all accompanied by a high level of service. If you want to drink something, then you go to La Farmacia and ask for a mojito, which you’ll will be presented to you in an old bottle, one of those used in labs at the beginning of the century. And if you want to have a new haircut, well, then El Callejón is definitely the place you’re looking for.
By Adriana Marcelo.