Off The Hook Barber Shop: Breezy, friendly, welcoming…

Meet Karl Booker: Master Barber, Artist

Off The Hook Barber Shop is a breezy, busy operation located at 257-A Peters Street where the fades are faded and the crowns (hair) look fantastic. It is a barbershop, true, however it is also a gathering space where patrons and soon-to-be patrons feel welcome as they walk through the door. Patrons share friendly banter as highly skilled barbers demonstrate their individual talents. Pro jerseys and sports photos line the walls. General news, sports stats and business news are exchanged, keeping community up to date on what is current and what is yet to come. 

Karl Booker, master barber of nearly 30 years and owner of Off The Hook Barber Shop is very intentional about the atmosphere cultivated here. He wants everyone to feel good when they walk in and to feel even better about themselves when they walk out the door. Booker has developed a traditionally male space into a place where even grandmothers feel at ease to wait inside when bringing their grandsons in for a haircut. There is a strict no gambling rule at Off The Hook Barber Shop, and Booker is adamant that no client will be disturbed by solicitors of any sort while waiting for service or relaxing in the chair. During the time of my visit, all 10 barber chairs stayed occupied, as well as the additional semi-private booth in the rear where specialty hairstylist services for women, men and children (hair color, locs, twists, braids, weave and more) are offered. 

Booker brought his trade to Castleberry Hill over 20 years ago, and when asked why he set up shop in Castleberry Hill, he shared his decision was inspired and influenced by a couple of things: his son was attending Morehouse College nearby, but it was his friendship with Mr. Herman J. Russell, esteemed entrepreneur and founder of H.J. Russell that sealed it. Booker comes from a long line of entrepreneurs in his family. Hailing from Moss Point, Mississippi, he grew up in an influential, well-established, tight-knit community where entrepreneurialism was the norm, and he is no exception…Off The Hook Barber Shop is just one of the many business interests he owns, both here and in MS. He was in the eighth grade when he first picked up a pair of clippers, discovered he was good at cutting hair and has never looked back since. Little known fact about Booker is that he is an artist through and through, working with charcoals, in addition to being a cosmetologist.   

Off The Hook Barber Shop is an establishment where a variety of folks come through— celebrities, pro-athletes, and people of all professions feel like community when they visit. The vibe is so good, familiar and friendly; an observation that sticks with me is that as each man left the barber chair, they dapped everyone in the shop on their way out whether they knew each other or not. The transformative power of the cut is real— the confidence and swagger displayed by the men exiting was apparent. Off The Hook Barber Shop, a cornerstone of Castleberry Hill, is truly positive community in action! 

Off The Hook Barber Shop location:

257–A Peters St SW | 404.589.4625 | @offthehookbarbershop