Inked Out: The Dead Presidents Lounge

Earlier in the month of October, my family always heads up to Upstate New York for a long family weekend because my uncle owns a weekend home up in the mountains. You always need one of those getaways to refresh and reflect on life. Anyway, my wife and I decided to break off from the family on one of the days to explore Albany since neither of us has been in the capital of New York since we were kids. Plus, I wanted to check out a couple of the venues that my boss books concerts at. Namely, the Hollow Bar And Kitchen and The Palace Theatre.

As we were driving down South Allen Street, my eye caught a glimpse of a tattoo shop called The Dead Presidents Lounge. Since my wife is so supportive of my writing and loves seeing these different tattoo shops as well, we made a U-turn and headed back to see what The Dead Presidents Lounge is all about. We walked up the stairs into an orange waiting room. I thought it was a pretty interesting choice of wall colors since the color orange is said to help stimulate the appetite. I guess they were hoping to stimulate people’s appetite for some skin art. Anyway, there was a reception desk to my left, where we were greeted, and for some reason, as I scoped this joint out, I felt like I was walking into a massage parlor. I’ll try to explain why. So, we walked into this small waiting room with orange walls adorned with framed artwork all over the walls. No flash-art or portfolios on the walls. If it wasn’t for the buzzing, I would not have known it was even a tattoo parlor. If you walked down the hallway to the left of the waiting room, you would find some private rooms where the tattooing takes place. I’m telling you! It reminded me of those massage parlors, but way cleaner.

We didn’t really spend much time in this place because every one of the artists was busy with clients. So, I asked the receptionist, whose name escapes me as I’m writing this (I could make up a name but if she sees this feature she might want to kill me), a bunch of questions and then I researched the rest of my info online. Anyway, The Dead Presidents Lounge was opened back in January of 2006 and is owned by artist Dustin Horan, who is an amazing artist and former Fashion Institute of Technology student. The shop is an exclusively custom tattoo shop and will only work on custom artwork, which means you can bring in your own artwork, the artist will give you a free consultation, you set a date to come in to get tattooed and you walk out a happy customer.

Dustin surrounds himself with six other artists in Dan Belcher, Christian Minick, Peter Clarke, Bill Childers, Krystal Hulett and Geoffrey Decrucq, all of whom are some pretty amazing artists. I’ve included some of their skin art in this feature to confirm what I was able to witness. When I asked the receptionist about their age policy, she told me that their clientele must be at least 18 years old to receive any sort of tattoo. Anyone under the age of 18 who wishes to get a body piercing must present a notarized consent form filled out by their parent or guardian before they can proceed with any kind of piercings.

Then I asked about walk-ins or appointments and I got the standard, walk-ins are always welcome if there is a spot available. Appointments always come first. Obviously, appointments require a deposit to hold a client’s date and time. Just like most shops, that deposit is non-refundable, however, it is transferable and can go toward your last appointment session with your artist. They just ask for 24-hour notice from the customer if they need to cancel or change their appointment. Two forms of ID are also required for every appointment. It sounds to me that The Dead Presidents Lounge is pretty strict with their rules and that’s something you want to see when checking out new places.

The receptionist also told us that the shop only accepts cash. There is no credit card machine on the premises, which I found interesting in this day and age. She said that there was a bank next door with an ATM available to grab cash if their clients needed it. Another rule The Dead Presidents Lounge has is no kids allowed during appointments. AMEN! They stated that they do love kids, but not while they are working, which is understandable.

I have to say that this shop was immaculate and whoever is keeping this shop clean, my hat is off to them. The machines are sterilized nightly and the needles are all single-use needles. But the floors…They are so clean that you can literally eat off of them. Oh, yeah! Not all of the rooms were orange, by the way. We did get to see one that was basically a turquoise color. We enjoyed our short visit in The Dead Presidents Lounge. It would have been nice to meet Dustin, but hey, the guy was working, right?

If you’re ever in the Albany, NY area for a concert or just visiting, check out The Dead Presidents Lounge located at 5 South Allen Street in Albany. They are open Monday through Saturday 12 p.m. till 8 p.m. To make an appointment or if you have a question, call (518) 689-0730 or visit them online at, or you can even “Like” them on Facebook at

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