A salon, for many, can be perceived as a slice of paradise, safely secluded from the hustle and bustle of everyday obligations. The comfortable walls of a salon hold a sense of familiarity and adventure in one bundle. Stylists are trusted individuals committed to catering to their guests with the experiences they seek out. There is unique rapport between guests and stylists that sustains a salon, changing the visit from simple hair maintenance to a lifestyle partnership. Speakeasy Salon, Spa and Bistro is the best of both worlds, a neighborhood pub and beauty parlor located in downtown Olympia.
Susan Glines, co-owner of Speakeasy Salon, has an extensive history in the business of beauty and hair. After earning a degree in psychology, Glines decided her true passion was in beauty and the culture behind it. Glines then graduated from beauty school and immediately started leasing stations and styling hair when she was in her 20’s. “I have always been an entrepreneur,” Glines says.
Kelli Tagles, Glines’ daughter and part owner/skin care specialist, says, “I grew up in the salon; my mom has been doing hair since I was a baby. It was a natural progression.” Tagles went to beauty school at Clover Park and graduated from the aesthetics program in 2010. “Skin is my wheelhouse. I do lash extensions, microblading, microcurrent, microneedling…it is all ‘micro’ something for anti-aging. I like doing services that are actually going to do something and not just a fluff and buff facial,” Tagles says.
A great example of Tagles’ services is “The Lunch Time Face Life,” an hour service of microcurrent with a massage after. Tagles also enjoys the realm of makeup, especially teaching people how to use products they already own. By appointment only Tagles will make a house call and teach you how to use every bit of random makeup you own properly. “I have taught people how to use what they have and given suggestions to pieces they should add to their collection,” Tagles explains.
When the lighting is just right, the soft shadow of ‘Speakeasy’ can be caught projecting onto the walls. There is a mutually strange fascination with going back in time that many people have experienced. Memorabilia, movies, and music become a great retelling of a story, creating nostalgic impressions of a highly romanticized time such as the 1920s. “I love anything from the 1920s to the 1950s, where there was a certain type of class but also a sense of easy going behavior,” Tagles says.
The idea for Speakeasy Salon was an expansion off Tagles’ and Glines’ downtown alleyway salon next to their grandmother’s house. “My mom and I are business owners and ended up building a tiny, two treatment salon with no back room eight years ago after our westside salon closed down. We hung out with the clients and got to know them really well. After a while clients would bring in wine while getting their hair done after work. The whole vibe seemed like a speakeasy because you had to know how to get there; it was all word of mouth, and you entered in the back alley with wine,” Tagles recalls.
Now in their new location on 325 4th Avenue in downtown Olympia, Speakeasy Salon, Spa and Bistro has been purposefully built in the same fashion. “Most salons are set up with a floor and back room,” Glines explains. “We don’t have a back room which has upped the intimacy with client-on-client interaction. All of the coloring is mixed right in front of them because it is more efficient, and there is no big secret about it.”
The architectural planning has developed more than relationships with stylists and clients. It is a regular neighborhood spot for clients to gather and socialize, developing new relationships. “Old clients introduce themselves to new clients. They all converse and some people just end up on the same schedules. We want people to feel comfortable and be themselves in a laid back atmosphere. Many people who visit the salon say it’s similar to the salon in Steel Magnolias,” Glines smiles.
Speakeasy Salon, Spa and Bistro features wine flights that are named after influential women of the 1920s. They also host trivia nights on Thursdays and bingo on Fridays. Owners Glines and Tagles make a point to work with their clients’ businesses. Once a month they open their space up for a pop-up event with Lu La Roe.
“We’re super excited that downtown Olympia is transforming,” Glines says. Glines and Tagles are connected to the downtown community and are avidly working with Homes First, an organization that helps people find affordable housing. “We want to build a community and connect people to a larger scene,” Tagles says. The salon is open for walk-ins or anyone who just needs a relaxing place to have a glass of wine or beer, no hair cut or skin treatment necessary. You do not even have to be over 21 to sit in the common area, which is a great place to study and eat snacks.
The environment at Speakeasy Salon, Spa and Bistro is genuine and sincere. “We have a lot of laughs; we don’t have time for drama here,” Tagles mentions. Speakeasy Salon, Spa and Bistro is open Tuesday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. It is a great option for additional bars downtown especially on the weekends. Their food menu is expanding as they work closely with other businesses in downtown Olympia to showcase different menu items. Speakeasy Salon, Spa and Bistro is simply the best place of rest during a busy week with interactions that cannot be beat.