Inked Out: Olde City Tattoo

My fiancée and I were having dinner one night in the historic part of Philadelphia and right next to the parking lot that we parked in was this older looking tattoo parlor. She looked at me and suggested that I go in and take a look inside. At this point, I was a little exhausted from work and a little full from dinner, but for you, The Aquarian Weekly readers, I was ready to make the sacrifice instead of bitching about how tired and full I was. So, we headed into this tattoo parlor appropriately called Olde City Tattoo because the section it was located in is known as “Olde City.” Get it?

Anyway, Olde City Tattoo is that tattoo shop that you envision, or simply see in movies. This place seemed like such a throwback to what tattoo parlors used to look like. You walk into a narrow waiting room filled with walls of “flash” art and, of course, the wall portfolios. Then you make your way to a glass reception desk filled with various merchandise and is roped off by a velvet rope. Beyond this point is where all the magic happens. Don’t get me wrong when I say that this shop looks like what you would expect in a tattoo shop. Olde City Tattoo was as clean as they come!

Owner and tattoo artist Jason Goldberg greeted us at the velvet rope. He saw us looking around and though he was in the middle of a tattoo, he took a break to chat with us really quick. Jason opened Olde City Tattoo back in 1999. He told us that his shop was mainly a custom shop with a touch of some of the classics. Customers usually come in with their own designs, but if they don’t, he says that the shop has tons of designs for a customer to choose from, which are mainly used as a reference. Like he said earlier, he runs a custom shop. He urges customers to come in for a consultation before they make the decision to put the needle to their skin.

Speaking of needles, just how clean is Olde City’s equipment? Jason told me that they sterilize all of their equipment with an autoclave which is monitored by an independent lab. Every single piece of equipment is individually bagged prior to sterilization and opened immediately prior to putting the needle to the skin. All ink is placed in single service caps and disposed of after each tattoo. I would have to say that this place was pretty safe when it comes to sterility.

Jason is supported by six other artists in his shop, all of whom have years of experience and come from different backgrounds, which allows the shop to have a wide range of tattoo styles. Joining Jason is Johnny Gues, Martin Lacasse, Scott Smith, Steve Tiberi, a guy named The Gus, and Doug Hansen. This is strictly a tattoo shop. There is no piercing done here! When I asked about the age policy, Jay replied with an immediate, “18 years old with a valid ID, no exceptions!” Then I asked him if walk-ins were welcome or would we need an appointment. He said that if I was walking in for a tattoo at that moment and there was no one in front of me, he’d take me at that moment. So, walk-ins are welcome, but on a first-come, first-served basis. As far as making an appointment is concerned, he says you can call the shop, but he urges clients to stop in to book time with the artist of their choice. The shop requires deposits of anywhere between $40 and $100 to book the time. The deposits go toward the cost of your tattoo and can be made in either cash or credit. They are also non-refundable in the event that you do not show up for your appointment for any silly reason. This brought me to my next question about prices. Jason told me that their minimum is $60 on arms and legs, but anywhere else on the body, they start at $100 and go up from there.

Though I was a little bitchy about walking into Olde City Tattoo, I’m glad that my fiancée coaxed me into going in and checking it out. Jason Goldberg has a great little shop here in the heart of Olde City, Philadelphia. If you’re ever in the Philly area checking out the historic sites, you need to stop into the Olde City Tattoo shop. It’s located at 44 South Second Street, right next to a huge parking lot by Chestnut Ave. If you’d like to see some of the artwork that Olde City has to offer, log on to to take a look around. You can also call the shop if you have any other questions at (215) 627-6271 or email at Olde City is open seven days a week. Their hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at