When you think tattoo bar, the first thing that comes to mind is probably drunk bikers with more skull tattoos than should be allowed by law. But while you will find plenty of alcohol, skulls and some bikers at King Ink, this tattoo bar, isn't what you expect.
King Ink is a tribute to the art of tattooing. This is the kind of gallery that namesake Mario Barth envisioned when he opened the shop.
Barth gave his first tattoo at the tender age of 12. Fittingly, it was a skull on his friend's hand, which gives reason for what could be considered an overuse of the many skulls that adorn the bar. Like the skulls, much of what could be seen as overdone is really a tribute to the work Barth has done over the last 30 years. Glass-top tables feature rows of tattoo guns and the sepia-toned art displayed on the ceiling and along the top of the walls in a Sistine Chapel kind of way is actually work that Barth has done.
To continue the tribute to art, the DJ booth is set behind a gold-edged picture frame. You can view tattoo artists' portfolios via touch-screen computers immediately outside of the three tattoo studios or watch your friend get inked on one of the flat-screen TVs. And when you get your first glimpse of the crocodile-skinned chairs you'll realize that this isn't your average tattoo studio.
Barth's work can be seen on celebs like Sylvester Stallone and Usher and you can actually get tatted up by the Austria-born artist. The bar isn't just named after him, Barth also works at King Ink regularly.
If you're looking for something other than tattoos you can also get pierced here. Piercings range from the average everyday earrings to flesh piercings done by a licensed doctor.
Tattoos, by the way, are not required to enter this bar. There are plenty of other reasons to come here.
How many tattoo studios do you know that feature a flaming absinthe presentation? Bartenders pour flaming absinthe in a fountain-like presentation that not only lights the alcohol on fire, but the bar too. This is a must-see event whenever you go to King Ink and one that actually gets cheaper with each additional order of absinthe.
King Ink has established itself as the perfect stopping ground whether you're getting work done by Barth himself or cuddling up with a few shots of absinthe. Just remember the tattoos you get in Vegas, don't stay in Vegas.
-- Review by Justin Lawson