Now that the summer is upon us, I wanted to take you out of Jersey this month for this installment of Inked Out. Well, not too far out of Jersey. Just up 95 to the Mass Pike. A few weeks ago, I took my wife up to Boston for the weekend for her birthday. (Don’t ask. I would have asked for Aruba for my birthday, but she was craving some good seafood and Boston seemed like the right place.) On Saturday, after touring the Sam Adams Brewery, we decided to take a drive right outside of Boston to a town called Somerville. My wife heard of this area called Davis Square and wanted to check it out. As we were walking down Elm Street, there she was; as if the tattoo Gods wanted me to find this place! There was a collapsible street sign that just said “Tattoo” with a finger pointing at a store next to a Starbucks. (By the way, there is no shortage of Starbucks in Massachusetts.) Anyway, the shop was called The Boston Tattoo Company. I was sold on the name alone. We were with my wife’s cousin and her husband, who are huge tattoo advocates, and they wanted to go in and check it out as well. So, we headed in.

We walked into an extremely spacious waiting area that reminded me of a pub for some reason. There was a reception to the right closed in by glass casing, which housed all of your tattoo care needs and piercing jewelry, as well as other shop swag like t-shirts. The brown-tinted walls were adorned with framed traditional tattoo artwork behind the reception desk and on the other side of the room, there was more framed artwork rounded out with the traditional wall portfolios of flash art for customers to scroll through. If you walk straight ahead from the entrance, you’ll see a yellow-tinted accent wall with more framed artwork on the wall, and in big letters it read “The Boston Tattoo Company,” but this wall had a few openings. One of them was a doorway with a sign at the top that read “Wreck Room.” This is where the magic happens.

Since this was another spur-of-the-moment visit to this tattoo shop, I didn’t really get to sit down and interview the shop’s owner, which I still haven’t figured out who owned The Boston Tattoo Company, but we did speak to someone, whom I believe called himself Larry, the general manager of the shop. He told me the shop only opened its doors in May of 2010. So, they’re still relatively new. Within the past five years, The Boston Tattoo Company has won three “Best of” awards from 2011 to 2013, which makes them a pretty reputable tattoo spot in the Boston area. They’re located minutes from Boston and they offer the largest selection of tattooing styles in the area. Larry said they have many designs to choose from, but they are mainly a custom tattoo shop and they urge clientele to bring their own artwork in so their artists can manipulate it and put their twist on it.

The shop houses seven artists in Jimmy Snaz, the popular Alicia Thomas, Jason Zube, Dia Moeller (another popular artist), “Uncle” Ron Greholver, Kyle Ensor and Ryan Thomas, who might be my favorite artist because of his portrait of Mötley Crüe and Sixx:A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx! On this day, I couldn’t make out which artists were working on clients since we weren’t allowed beyond the “Wreck Room” sign because we weren’t getting any work done, but beyond that wall were a few work stations, and every one of them was occupied, while that buzzing and the smell of soap gave all of us that itch. Larry apologized for not allowing us to go back there, but I told him we totally understood. They run a highly-sanitized shop. They use single-use disposable needles and autoclave-sterilized at the conclusion of each tattoo session. That is clean!

I asked about pricing and was told, like all tattoo studios, the base price usually runs between $60 to $100 based on the part of the body to be tattooed and the size of the piece. He also said that usually it’s best to get individual pricing of a tattoo piece in person because they can’t do it over the phone, through email or social media messaging. The shop does offer piercing by piercer Brian Moeller, who is a former South Jersey resident. All piercing is done on a walk-in basis since they’re done so quickly. Larry said that walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred because not every walk-in can be squeezed in due to time constraints from those who actually made appointments, artist availability or even design needs, but said each artist was willing to work with any prospective clientele.

When I asked him about age limits in this shop since I know the age limits vary by state, he told me that first of all, no kids are allowed in the shop. It’s not because they don’t like kids. It’s just because the shop is just not the right environment for an impressionable young mind. I couldn’t agree more. As far as their age limitations, he said no one under the age of 18 can be tattooed in this shop. It’s Massachusetts state law. Each client is requires to show a state-issued ID to be tattooed at The Boston Tattoo Company. For piercing, it’s also 18 years of age with state-issued ID, but if the client is under the age of 18, a parent or a legal guardian must be present with the minor’s birth certificate, a state-issued ID for the parent or guardian and a picture ID for the minor. I was glad to hear the strictness of their age limitations.

After going through the artist portfolios and seeing this shop in person, I can see why they won “Best of” awards three years in a row. The artists’ work is simply amazing and extremely detailed. The shop is immaculate and run like a tight ship. If you are in the Boston area and love getting tattoos from artists around the world, I highly recommend The Boston Tattoo Company. They are located at 260 Elm Street in Somerville, MA, Suite 102, right in the heart of Davis Square. The shop is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. For more info, visit them at thebostontattoocompany.com or call them at (617) 625-8282 to make an appointment or ask them questions. Obviously, they are on Facebook, so head over to facebook.com/bostontattoocompany to “Like” them as well. I will definitely be back to this shop, so artist Ryan Thomas better keep a spot open in his chair for me!

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 tim@theaquarian.com.

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