Inked Out: Steel City Tattoos

A few months back when my girlfriend and I were looking for a house, we looked in the Eastern Pennsylvania area. When our realtor drove us around I noticed a handful of tattoo shops on our travels. While we were in historical Bethlehem, PA, which is known for their steel, we passed Steel City Tattoos. I told my girlfriend that once we got back to my car, we had to stop at this quaint looking tattoo shop, and she agreed.

As we entered the shop, which was located at 314 East Broad Street in Bethlehem, PA, we noticed that it looked like your everyday tattoo shop adorned with frames of Flash art on their puke green painted walls. The waiting area had two leather couches and a coffee table full of tattoo magazines. If I remember correctly, there was even an attempt at Asian décor with lamps and statues. I didn’t have an appointment to speak with anyone at the shop, since we did just discover it on a drive-by, but we did get to speak to the shop manager, Brian, whom I was able to squeeze for some information.

Steel City Tattoos is a high end custom tattoo studio that opened its doors in May of 2000, and today is considered Lehigh Valley’s premier custom tattoo shop. The shop boasts five artists including owner and artist John Bicknell, artists Elvis Lewis, Keith B, newly acquired Bob Bradley, and then there’s Little Chico, who is actually leaving Steel City Tattoos in January to work for Black Cobra Tattoo in Maryland.

The shop had a few private rooms for tattooing and at the time each room was filled with clients—this place was busy. Brian told us that walk-in customers are always welcome as long as there’s an artist available to do the work. However, Steel City Tattoos does prefer that their customers make appointments, which requires a $50 deposit. Brian also told us that if a customer needs to cancel the shop requires a 48-hour cancellation notice. Failure to notify the shop means you forfeit your $50 deposit. When I asked Brian about how Steel City’s prices were compared to other shops, he told me that the prices were on the average compared to most shops. Their artists charge by the size of the piece and not by the hour like most shops do.

As for the cleanliness of this shop, it was pretty clean. Brian told us that they use brand new needles with every session and the machines are sterilized every night before the shop is closed. When I asked about an age policy, I was told that the customer must be 18 years old with proper ID to get tattooed. When it comes to consultations, each artist will take the time to sit with each customer to make their tattoo experience a memorable one. That is probably what makes Steel City Tattoos the premier tattoo shop.

That’s pretty much all of the info that I was able to squeeze out of the shop manager, Brian. Steel City Tattoos’ shop hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. till 8 p.m. If you live in the Bethlehem area or you’re in the area for a visit, stop in at Steel City Tattoos located at 314 East Broad Street in Bethlehem, PA. If you’d like to make an appointment to get tattooed, call them at (610) 807-9781 or by emailing them at You can also visit the shop online because they apparently have tons of web presence. They can be found on,, and they’re on Facebook and Twitter.

Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo place! Also, if you were recently tattooed, email me a picture of your tattoo with the name of the shop and artist and it may show up in an upcoming issue of The Aquarian Weekly.