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There’s a new man in town

Warren Chase Urban Retreat for Men wants to make men’s grooming accessible and comfortable

Warren Chase has private grooming rooms, where clients receive a range of services, from facials to waxing to manicures. Credit: Adrienne Ascah

Warren Chase, the stylish Everyman, has come to Ottawa to help you up your game.

Located on Industrial Avenue, Warren Chase Urban Retreat for Men opened on Jan 10 and is already attracting a diverse male clientele.

“We’ve had the hockey dads, we’ve had 13-year-old boys with acne, we’ve had just a wide variety of people,” co-owner Paul Cretes says. “What we’re trying to create here is an environment where any guy can come and receive services and feel comfortable. What you’ll see is a mixture of industrial, a little bit of a jazzy-blues feel — the industrial concrete mixed in with mechanics’ drawers and barber chairs.”

Cretes, a stylist, and co-owner Trevor White, who previously owned a local headhunting firm for more than 16 years, want to make grooming accessible, stylish and comfortable for men.

Gay or straight, young or old, a spa regular or an esthetics virgin, White and Cretes say Warren Chase is a place where every man can feel at home because Warren Chase is Everyman.

“Warren Chase is the athlete, he’s the mechanic, he’s tall, he’s short, he’s young, he’s old,” White says.

Hair and grooming services spruce up men from head to toe, from hair cutting and colouring to pedicures, manicures, waxing, clipping, massage therapy, facials and style coaching. The services are listed by number, like a Chinese or Thai takeout menu, so when you book your appointment, eavesdroppers won’t know you’re getting your back waxed.

Once inside, the vibe is masculine, low-key and inviting. After touring spas in Miami, Toronto, Montreal and New York, Cretes and White put a lot of thought not only into their business’s look and marketing, but the way they deliver services.

Nail salons and spas often have large rooms where clients sit or recline in a row, all getting their feet pumiced and their fingernails polished at the same time. For women who’ve grown up doing each other’s nails at slumber parties, that atmosphere doesn’t seem unusual, but men prefer privacy when it comes to grooming, Cretes says.

At Warren Chase, grooming services are offered by male or female estheticians in private rooms with an atmosphere White describes as “a man cave taken to the next level.”

“All the rooms have smart TVs, so they can come in, they can plug their own music in and listen to their own music,” Cretes says. “They can watch the highlights of the game because there’s also satellite. They can bring in their USB key with the episode they missed of The Young and the Restless.”

And if you’re trying to master business casual or take it up a notch because you’re newly single or newly promoted at work, style coaching helps men find their best look relative to their lifestyle, age, budget and body type, White says.

“Our big point is grooming equals success,” White says. “We live in a world that judges a book by its cover — be it right or be it wrong. All we’re saying is it’s time to up your game.”