Pdl, the cycling-themed barbershop you didn’t know you needed
What links coffee, cycling and haircuts? No, this is not the set-up for an amusing one-liner, but a conundrum I am trying to figure out while reclined, eyes-closed in a Belmont barber’s chair, at Pdl.
For the purpose of context, Pdl (pronounced ‘pedal’), is an understated cycling-themed café with an attached barbershop located on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. Founded by three Dubai-born friends just over a year ago, Pdl represents their combined passions and while those three things may not seem like the most obvious combination of interests, it does allow it to earn the label as a ‘first-of-its-kind’ concept.
The barbershop aesthetic is refreshingly stripped-back and simple with earthy tones and metallic piping giving it an industrial-chic vibe. Anything that is mounted to the sparse exposed concrete walls tends to be related to cycling, with a design-led quirk. And, yes, there is a road bike mounted on the wall.
The barbers, all in their twenties, are dressed in a casual uniform of white t-shirt and black jeans with rips on the knees, snipping away while a steady soundtrack of New York hip-hop plays in the background. The mood is relaxed with the staff just as happy to shoot the breeze as they are content to let you sit in silence. Karim - the guy giving my beard the attention of a man trying to split an atom - wears his black Yankees cap backwards, and occasionally raps a couple of bars under his breath.
While stopping to sip my flat-white delivered from the next door Pdl coffeeshop, we get up to rinse my hair, I point out a pool table in the corner and ask Karim if that’s for the staff or customers, he laughs and says both. It’s not uncommon for regulars to spend a good few hours here pre- or post- tune-up.
Somewhere between snipping away my progressively graying temples and Karim talking about the private mani-pedi room (where you can watch shows on Netflix), it dawns upon me that what combines the three is a sense of community. All three, coffee, cycling and haircuts all have an inherent social element to them. The experiences are all public and private; they are all individual and communal; they all offer escapism and a focal point – perhaps that’s what makes Pdl the ‘first-of-its-kind’
Mardoof Building, Sheikh Zayed Road. Tel: +971 04 3339924. pdl-dubai.com