The hair dryers are finally firing on Grand Avenue. After the inevitable construction delays, the Wow Bar will open Friday at Grand and Lexington in St. Paul.
Three years after blow dry bars hit Minneapolis in a big way, the trend—a salon that specializes in styling, no cuts or color—is finally crossing the river. Blast Blow Dry Bar opened recently at Woodbury Lakes. And now Wow Bar brings its promise of movie star hair in 45 minutes, for $35, to St. Paul. Located just west of Lexington on Grand in the former Stella Blu space, Wow Bar is a bright spot on a block that could use a few updates. From the front window topiaries to the blow driers on retractable ceiling cords, it’s apparent owner Parrel Caplan made a significant investment to update the space—adding ceiling height, new lighting, and more. The new salon is smaller than Wow’s flagship at 50th & France, but it feels like part of the family with the same black and white stripes and white furnishings. Building on what Caplan and her daughters, Alyssa and Chloe, have learned running their 50th & France Wow Bar, the styling stations in St. Paul include thoughtful new touches like a hidden cubby for handbags and a shelf for drinks that's easier to reach from the chair. Two makeup stations can be converted into blow dry stations when demand is high.
I got to try out Wow St. Paul during a dry run on Wednesday. Athough a couple of my favorite stylists (Tiffany and Charlie) from Wow Edina were there, I had my hair styled by someone new to the St. Paul staff, and the blow dry was up to the same standards, including the cold rinse (it closes the hair follicles and makes the blowdry last longer), head massage, and thorough round brushing, one section at a time. That’s a testament to Wow Bar’s three week training program for new staff, and their tendency to hire (and retain) stylists with some prior experience. It's why Wow Bar was Mpls.St.Paul Magazine's Best Blowout for 2014.
“I wanted to prove that we could replicate the concept,” Caplan says. Not just the space, but the whole experience. She's already thinking about the next Wow.
This weekend, Friday, Jan. 23 to Sunday, Jan. 25, Wow Bar celebrates its St. Paul opening with $30 blowouts (normally $35), and other specials including $100 off Wow Club Annual Membership, complimentary lashes with a blowout and makeup application, and drawings for a Platinum blowout ($100 value). 1104 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 612-334-3333