I tried out the highest-rated Yelp hair salon in my hood to see if it was legit
When you Google “the best hair salon in Brooklyn,” The Bird House is always one of the top hits on Yelp. Just two weeks ago, it was sitting at the number-one spot, and at the time of writing, it’s lurking at three, with a solid five-star rating average out of over 270 ratings. In my opinion, and given how temperamental people on Yelp tend to be, any business that manages to stay that far up on the radar deserves all the applause.
I am a sucker for any experience that’s been touted as “prize-winning,” “highly rated,” or “the best” (aren’t we all?). So, when I was invited to check out one of the Bird House for myself, I couldn’t resist the urge to investigate what precisely makes this salon stand out from the others.
The vision was first imagined by the co-founders and sisters Brooke Jordan Hunt and Nicci Jordan Hubert back in 2011, when they rented out a closet size space in Caroll Gardens where they styled a few select clients in an intimate space.
Due to the perfect storm of their charms and hair savvy, The Bird House quickly acquired too many clients to fit into a closet. In 2015, the sisters moved their operation to their current (much larger) space in Gowanus where they run one of the unique salon set-ups I’ve laid eyes on.
First off, this salon functions like a speakeasy.
It would be very easy to walk down 10th street and not even realize The Bird House is there. Beyond the address itself, this small label sticker is the only indicator the salon exists. When Nicci and Brooke deemed their new location a “speakeasy experience” they were serious. Once I was buzzed in, I walked up an ominous set of stairs only to find myself arriving at a truly unexpected haven for my hair needs.
Regardless of the time of day, clients are offered wine in true speakeasy fashion.
My appointment was around noon and I was still offered a generous glass (or two) of rosé. Guests can also opt for seltzer, a variety of teas, or still water. Throughout the course of your appointment, the beverages keep flowing. Currently, the location has four styling chairs, so each of us had ample space to set down our things and settle into our appointment without feeling cramped. And yet, it was still a small enough environment to feel communal (in a positive way).
However, due to their popularity (and a notable waiting list), the salon will be expanding into a larger operation this fall. While I was there, Nicci and Brooke told me of their plans to add the two next door units to their salon. This summer will be dedicated to knocking down walls, adding eight more chairs, and remodeling the space. In fall, they should be able to accommodate way more clients, and the wine and merriment will only expand.
I immediately felt comfortable with Brooke.
I had the pleasure of meeting with both sisters during my appointment, but Brooke was the one who graciously worked on my struggling hair. We chatted about everything from our childhood experiences (we both grew up Christian), to the trials and tribulations of online dating. Everyone at the salon was so friendly and I immediately felt at home.
The pricing is more affordable than other high-end options.
For my treatment, I went for a full color (between $115-160) to retouch my red hair that had faded into brassy oblivion. When you consider the pricing of other salons of equal caliber, The Bird House pricing is much more accessible. They offer cuts ($80-$115), color ($115-160), balayage highlights (pricing stars at $165), and of course, blowouts ($35-$65). For transparency’s sake, I’ll admit that my treatment was complimentary, however, I am in no way obligated to promote the salon. Having paid for color treatments in Manhattan, I can vouch that their pricing is on the low end for the quality provided. They also regularly offer deals on Groupon.
The playlist was on point.
While my hair soaked and I sipped on my second glass of rosé (hey, it was my weekend), I found myself singing along to almost all of the songs on their playlist. It was ’90s pop hits all day, and almost everyone getting styled was jamming out at one point. The soft lights, intimate space, generous beverages and familiar tunes made the whole experience feel way more down to earth than many of the more sterile Manhattan salons.
The whole process was super efficient.
I arrived at the salon, met the sisters, had my hair fully dyed, trimmed and blown out in a little over two hours. No exaggeration, this same process has taken at least four hours at other salons. The staff at The Bird House seems to have a very natural flow for the pacing, and I never felt rushed. This was ideal since most of us want to get our hair done efficiently without sacrificing quality (of either the hair or the experience).
Most importantly I loved my hair.
My hair felt so much healthier and happier after my appointment. The color was exactly what I wanted — a fresh and natural red that complemented my coloring. My bangs were finally realigned into their ideal (more symmetrical) form and all the dead ends were cut off. Since I was assuming the appointment would take much longer, I had a few hours to kill and was able to grab coffee in the sun.
Here’s a super dramatic photo of me posing as a CW character.
Brooke took this “after” photo on the roof of the salon (yes they have roof access!).