To be honest, this is more of a First Impression than a full review since I did not take full advantage of The Brass Rooster’s capabilities, still I left my first visit impressed and interest piqued to return for more – and for a business what more can you ask for? Hold the phones, hit rewind, what are we talking about? The Brass Rooster is a hat and accessories shop for men which opened in May of 2011 in the midst of what seems to be a renaissance of hat-wearing – and no not baseball hats – among men. Inspired by celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt, and Johnny Depp and TV shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire the fashion of hats has come back to men. Whether it be fedoras, trilbys, and porkpies for a more fashionable (not necessarily more formal) look or newsboys and driving caps for a more laid back look, the number of ‘acceptable’ styles for the average guy to wear has definitely gone beyond baseball caps and beanies.
John McLaughlin and his wife Kate, proprietors of The Brass Rooster, have capitalized on this trend in the neighborhood to do so – Bay View – with a shop that caters to men much like Stag Barbershop, also in Bay View. In a space welcoming to men – with dark wood, plenty of leather, and vintage pieces – they offer friendly and personal service and the perfect selection of products from historic to contemporary. They will measure you for the right size and assist you in finding the right hat and also will clean, shape, block, band, size, and freshen your hats and in the near future will be custom making hats. Particular about the height of the hat, the size of the brim, or whatever? They will be able to fill your needs. Kate has unique experience in this as a milliner for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, making hats and buying them for the actors.
In addition to hats, Brass Rooser carries other accessories for men including traditional shaving goods like safety razors, brushes, and shaving soap as well as cuff links and pocket watches, leather goods, and more.
I had lost a newsboy recently and needed a new one and being a patron of Stag has passed by BR a few times, and also wanted to check it out just for the men’s style aspect. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety offered of that style alone – and the unexpected range of prices was nice as well. I didn’t expect to see hats under $30 let alone under $20 but there they were – alongside hats from $60 or more. I looked a t a few, and wife in tow she helped me pick out a few styles. I actually found a different style that even my wife was convincing me to get over the newsboy, but in the end size had its limitations and back to a basic black newsboy was the final choice. Although, had I been alone without the ‘voice of reason’ and had more time I may well have left with more than one hat. As stated, I did not take full advantage, it was a short stop on the way to Stag Barbershop for a cut, so I was not measured (thus could not be found wanting) and not matched up to sized hats either and I look forward to a full service shopping experience in the near future.
Nestled between places like Cafe Centraal, Tonic, The Highbury, The Sugar Maple and Tip Top Atomic Shop on the North end of Kinnickinnic Ave in Bay View and the area to the South which houses places like Burnhearts, Honeypie, Solid State Tattoo, Love Unlimited, and more along the way to the much loved Stag, The Brass Rooster seems to be in the perfect spot for a male-centric shop where I could easily see many of the patrons of the nearby taverns and restaurants shopping. But regardless of where you live, work, or play, The Brass Rooster is a great place to up the ante on your style by topping it all off with a great hat.