From Black Forge Coffee House, to Onion Maiden, to Weeping Glass, Allentown has clearly found its niche with a dark twist. In recent years the area has been flourishing with new businesses and now there is another sharing the shadowy stage.
Dark Root Barber Shop opened their doors in late July. Inside you are greeted by dark-wash walls, lots of exposed wood palettes, refinished church pews, and an old motorcycle stripped of its engine. It's a really striking scene, and that's exactly what owner Ricky Dennis wanted. He says that the atmosphere is what makes Dark Root so different. It has a similar "Dark" feel as a lot of the other businesses, without being so on the nose. Ricky says,
"I want the shop to be a different kind of experience, you can come in and have a cup of coffee, or grab a beer from the fridge while you wait. I want there to always be good music, and good people in here."
This "We're all family here" sort of attitude is what makes Dark Root such a desirable place. His incredible attitude toward his clientele truly makes me wish I could get my nonexistent beard trimmed there.
"I don't care who you are, or where you came from, you're welcome in my chair."
Ricky's experiences at Pageboy Salon, and his interest in refinishing old items, makes for a perfect marriage. He says he picked up most of the furniture pieces from construction junction, at antique shops around the city, and even found some of his more striking intricate decor pieces, like the motorcycle, online.
Ricky says he hopes to continue to be a part of the community events that Allentown has to offer, and grow with the area. He said thankfully a lot of the property owners in Allentown have been great about not renting to conflicting businesses, this helps the area grow exponentially because the retention rate of the shops that are moving to the area is a lot higher than businesses in areas like Lawrenceville and South Side.
In the future Dark Root hopes to open their doors to some evening acoustic acts as well to strengthen that sense of community that Allentown is really holding on to.