Sixteen Years of Silver Lake:
A Look Back On Rudy's First California Shop

Believe it or not, our Silver Lake barbershop is old enough to drive. That's right, 16 years ago this summer, Rudy's opened its first location outside of the Pacific Northwest. We were driven by the hope that our modern, gender-neutral approach to a barbershop would resonate with a like-minded crowd. But we also wanted a break from the rain.

To celebrate being a part of Los Angeles for the past 16 years, we spoke with our founders, long-time staffers, and old-time customers about this iconic shop. 

The Building

If we were going to make a name for ourselves in LA, we knew we had to remain boldly true to our roots. That meant forgoing trendy developments in flashy neighborhoods for a space that had the same raw energy and creativity of our first shops. Hours spent scouring the city yielded a sprawling garage on the east side that had lived many lives, first as a film warehouse for a major studio and then a transmission shop. The real estate agent was skeptical to lease such a large space to a barbershop he had never heard of, but after one call to a friend in Seattle, he was convinced. “If they want it, give it to them. Everything Rudy’s touches turns to gold,” the voice on the other side of the phone said.

The Early Days

Despite our Midas reputation, our journey to translating Rudy’s distinct blend of art, style, and space to a new city wasn’t easy. If we wanted to take root in Silver Lake, we needed to prove that Rudy’s wasn’t just a barbershop, but truly a place for the community. Between weekly Thursday night DJ sets, monthly installations featuring a rotating stable of local artists, and playful touches like foosball tables, a converted garage on Sunset slowly became a place where people from all walks of life came to spend hours on end.

The Evolution

Silver Lake was and still remains the largest Rudy’s shop. It takes a lot of personality to fill a space that big, but that’s something we’ve never been short on. With 16 years’ worth of history, there are more stories than photos collaged on the wall, but a few vividly stand out in our memory. We've hosted movie premieres, served as the set for a MTV pilot, and been the scene of legendary Halloween parties. In 2007, our roof was taken over by snipers during a police standoff, and a few years later, one of our stylists helped a man experiencing homelessness reconnect with his family after being estranged for years. 

The Future

Over the past 16 years, Silver Lake has seen its fair share of transformations, but Rudy’s has remained an enduring anchor of the neighborhood. Countless clients have left the city, only to return a few years later and find that the shop and the stylists are unchanged. We’ve seen children turn to parents, and gotten the chance to cut the heads of multiple generations. In short, the way Rudy’s and Silver Lake embraced one another helped pave the way for our Melrose shop, our Santa Monica shop, and so many beyond Los Angeles. While trends like undercuts might come and go, Rudy's stays constant.

To celebrate this milestone, we're having a Sweet 16 party you won't soon forget.

 


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