A new lifestyle destination has opened in the heart of Washington DC. Named Manifest, the concept boutique brings together a modern grooming space, coffee shop, cocktail bar and retail space all under one design-savvy roof, designed by Snarkitecture. The brainchild of KJ Hughes, a serial entrepreneur and currently faculty director of the sports and entertainment business programme at the University of Maryland, the multi-pronged wellness space is dedicated to modern self-care. 

Manifest: barbershop, boutique and beyond in Washington

Large window overlooking barbershop space with classic barber chairs upholstered in tan leather at Manifest Washington designed by Snarkitecture

‘When envisioning what type of space Manifest would be, I knew that this would be an experiential space unlike anything seen before,’ says Hughes, who oversees the Manifest with partners Brian Merritt and Susan Morgan. ‘In my recent travels and research, I’ve seen several barbershops, retail boutiques and speakeasies. My vision was to bring all of these elements together under one roof in a way that isn’t about haircuts or coffee or clothing or cocktails—it’s about how all these things make you feel. It’s about manifesting your best self through an immersive experience.’

He continues, ‘I knew that in order to differentiate this space from others, I needed to gain a competitive advantage through design and execution. I knew I needed a thoughtful, creative design partner, like Snarkitecture, especially after seeing what they were able to achieve through their installation at the National Building Museum. I knew that Snarkitecture, the “north star” of design firms, could help us evoke emotion and offer a palatable experience that would knock customers’ socks off. I reached out through a cold email and initially received a decline response, but after six to seven weeks and several email exchanges, they reached back out to me with interest in the project. I then caught a train the next day to New York to meet with [Snarkitecture co-founder] Alex Mustonen and from there, the project took off.’

Dark bar with a curved desk and tall stools at Manifest Washington designed by Snarkitecture

Anchored by the barbershop, a congregative mainstay in communities all across America, Manifest brings a touch of elevation to a familiar experience. Curving tiled walls counterbalanced by warm wooden archways that house individual grooming stations bring a noble sensibility to the service-oriented space, a feature that is echoed through the store’s retail areas. Here, amidst terrazzo countertops and displays, a curated selection from labels such as Rick Owens Drkshw, Issey Miyake Homme Plissé and Engineered Garments stand together, alongside offerings from Manifest’s own in-house label, Of Us. Behind one of the curved walls in the barbershop, a hidden staircase leads up to the speakeasy cocktail lounge, a 30-seat space named Out of Office. 

Back downstairs, the resident coffee shop serves up loose leaf tea from the BIPOC-owned company Aesthete Tea, as well as locally sourced coffee from the Black-owned company Black Acres Roastery for the perfect reset.

Cafe with a coffee maker and two arched spaces with shelves holding glasses and cups at Manifest Washington designed by Snarkitecture

‘When we set out to design Manifest, it needed to be a new kind of barbershop, inviting to all people. Simultaneously, we wanted to create a sanctuary, a community space, an institution, a one-of-a-kind experience that still feels like home,’ says Snarkitecture’s Mustonen. ‘The design unifies the café, retail, and barbershop space into a singular environment with self-care and wellness front and centre.’

Manifest’s final component is an apartment on the premises that will be available to book for stays next spring. Named Abode and featuring a retractable glass roof and sprawling roof terrace for the views of the Capitol to be fully appreciated, the residential space takes the idea of self-care to a new level. §

Long staircase, looking up to an arched door at Manifest Washington designed by Snarkitecture
Concrete pavement with short staircase leading to entrance of shop and featuring landscaping with green plants