Say you need a haircut. But, you also really want to grab a cocktail. Well, now you don’t have to choose between the two.
Blades & Bottles, a combination full bar and hair salon, opens this week in downtown Modesto. The unusual mix is from Modesto couple Adam Soares and Allison Dowdy, who have taken an old design studio and furniture shop on 15th Street behind Dewz restaurant and turned it into a sleek, two-story space where you can sip whiskey and have your bangs trimmed at the same time.
The project combines Soares and Dowdy’s experience — he runs a design company that specializes in designing bars and she has managed restaurants and bars — while also offering a new experience in Modesto. Soares said he came up with the idea after years of cutting his own hair and creating bars for well-known Modesto businesses like Surla’s, Rivets and The Boardroom.
“We’ve always wanted to do this, wanted to do something different,” he said. “We’re a very unique concept and idea.”
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Soares said the bar, which takes up the space’s entire ground floor, is the business’ main focus. Then upstairs there is space for 11 hair styling stations. The downstairs bar is open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The upstairs salon is open until 8 p.m. those days and after hours bar patrons can mingle upstairs.
The interior is painted black with metallic and mirror accents. Dowdy and Soares wanted a 1920s feel, reminiscent of the Art Deco look of the “Great Gatsby.” Two bar areas pour everything from more than a dozen different kinds of whiskey to wine, beer on draft and whatever other concoction you can imagine. Couches and tall tables fill the rest of the area, with plenty of places for people to lounge, chat and otherwise be merry.
In keeping with the ’20s theme, the bar offers specialty cocktails like a rosemary old fashioned (using Bulleit 95 Rye whiskey) and a 1012tini (using vodka and prosecco and named after the bar’s street number). The signature drinks range in price from $10 to $14.
All of the bar and salon’s light fixtures, shelving and other design elements were custom-made by Soares. One of the space’s standout pieces is a massive, old metal cash register they found in the back of the building that Soares turned into a coffee table.
Customers in the upstairs salon, which is open to men and women, can order drinks while they’re getting their hair done or just watch the bar patrons below. About half a dozen stylists have signed on so far, with space for more once it opens. Hair styling services will start at $35 and the full-service salon will provide everything from basic cuts to straight-razor shaves, hair color treatments and beyond.
The salon’s services will also be available to those under the age of 21. A back staircase and room, which is outside of the bar’s liquor license, is available for underage clients. Soares said he wanted children and teenagers to still feel welcome in the salon.
Another back upstairs room can be rented for meetings, parties and other events. The building’s overall capacity is about 100, and in the future they plan to add a patio. While the bar won’t serve any food, Soares said they want to bring in food trucks on weekends so patrons with the munchies can get their fix.
Elsewhere on the Business Beat:
As a new salon prepares to open in downtown Modesto, some sad news about a former fixture in the area.
Late last month Larry Powell, the longtime owner and operator of the Eleventh Street Barber shop, passed away at age 74. Powell ran the downtown Modesto barber shop beginning in 1988, when it started on the then-Hotel Covell side of 11th Street. After the block was torn down to make way for the city-county building Tenth Street Place in 1998, Powell simply moved across the street and continued cutting hair.
During his almost 30-years of cutting hair in the area he saw generations of men come through, some staring as boys then continuing as adults and even bringing their own children. The shop was also known for the 200-pound wooden American Indian statue that Powell hand-carved himself and stood watch at the front window. He was so beloved that in 2014 when his shop was vandalized, his longtime customers came to help him clean up the mess. Powell hung up his shears and retired in 2017.
His former building is now the home to the new Halo B women’s clothing boutique.