Inked Out: 138 Tattoo

If you read this column every month, you’ll know that I travel a lot and one of the things I love to do when I travel is stop in at various tattoo shops in the different cities that I visit. Well, last month, my wife and I were invited to check out a new resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, through the timeshare that we own. So, we drove down and as we neared Williamsburg on the George Washington Memorial Highway (which was the way our GPS sent us…not sure why?), we stumbled across a shop called 138 Tattoo. Since we were ahead of schedule, we decided to stop in and see what the state of Virginia had to offer when it came to tattoos.

We walked into this small no-frills shop adorned with flash art all over its walls, a reception desk in front of you as you walk in and to the right, a waiting area and piercing area with a glass casing with piercing paraphernalia. Along the right wall was more flash art as well as the wall portfolios of more flash art, which is weird since 138 Tattoo specializes in traditional, custom, realism and cover-up tattoo work. We were greeted by the shop’s receptionist who filled us in a little about this small Virginia tattoo shop.

She told me the shop was opened by James and Julie Jarvis back in December 2002 at a different location and actually under a different name. They wanted to offer customers a nice relaxing atmosphere to get tattooed in a professional and clean shop, which answered my question regarding why I would want to come to their shop over other shops in the area. Since opening, the shop has expanded and moved to a new location to include some new artists and even added body piercing and the sale of body jewelry. The artists currently tattooing at 138 Tattoo include owner James Jarvis, Steve Pfahl and Chris Barden. The piercers include owner Julie Jarvis and Carmela Whirley.

When I asked about the shop’s health codes, the receptionist told us that each of their artists are certified in blood-borne pathogens and disease control, and they not only meet city and state guidelines concerning health and public safety, but they exceed them. When I asked about the shop’s age requirements, she told us that the shop pierces under the age of 18 with parental consent. For tattooing, no one under the age of 18 can be tattooed without a driver’s license, a state issued ID, passport, military ID or a birth certificate, which are requirements. Without one of these documents, the shop will not tattoo or pierce the client. She exclaimed that there were “No Exceptions!”

When I asked about the shop’s walk-in policy, she told me that walk-ins are welcome, but appointments will guarantee a prospective client a spot with one of their artists. A non-refundable deposit is required to secure any appointment and will be deducted from the final bill. She told us that a consultation with one of their artists may be required for custom designs or piercing. They offer free consultations for prospective clientele and will gladly talk them through the process of tattooing, like what to expect, as well as any health related concerns the client may have.

138 Tattoo is open Monday through Saturday 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m., but their artists and piercers have a rotating schedule featuring Steve and Chris on Sunday and Monday, just Steve on Tuesday, James and Steve on Wednesday, James and Chris on Thursday and Friday and then all three artists on Saturdays. As for piercing, Carmela is there from Saturday until Tuesday alone, then on Wednesday with Julie and then Julie pierces alone on Thursday and Friday.

If you’re heading to Williamsburg, VA or are reading this column in the Williamsburg, VA area, I highly recommend that you check this shop out. They are clean and their artwork speaks for itself. They are located at 1696 George Washington Memorial Highway in Gloucester Point. If you have any questions, call the shop at (804) 642-6500 If you’d like to check out some of their artists’ work, visit their website at or “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