Ink & Indulge – InkedMag


By Annie Stopak

Europe, like much of our world, is crawling with fast-paced urban energy. A continent best known for enchanting history and enlightened art, it’s no wonder it has evolved into a cherished home for creatives and small business owners alike. Anyone with an affinity for individualism and self-expression should keep reading to discover the five epicurean establishments that will surprise you with a fresh take on tattoo art. Whether it’s a distressed dive bar that’s practically oozing history from its decrepit walls, or an exquisite dining experience that will take you through a sensory journey amidst tattooed interiors, there’s so much to uncover. And even if body art isn’t your visual representation of choice, you will appreciate the novelty of simply imagining yourself perusing through these epic finds. 

Koï, Aix-en-Provence France

Koï is an Asian dining concept in Southern France that fuses fresh Japanese tradition with the culture’s beloved minimalist expression. Although you can’t actually receive a tattoo service here, you might be inspired for the design of your next one. Step into the heart of the historic city center of Aix en Provence where you will be greeted by a black and white fresco inspired by traditional Japanese tattoo art. Influenced by the legend of the carp, this floor-to-ceiling wall covering was reimagined by graphic artist, Claire Leina and depicts the transition of a freshwater fish into a dragon. Once inside, take in the gorgeous garden views from the open-concept dining area which reiterates a sense of calm. Hone your skills with an on-site Teppan workshop where you will be in awe of chef talents. Choose to dine on the open-air terrace while ingesting a savory tasting menu, or table d’hôte, formulated with intention by chef Philippe Segond. Or if you’d rather dine casually, you can settle in at the raw bar with a light aperitif or sip of sake.

Wisdomless, Rome Italy

Known for oddities and curiosities, Wisdomless is a bespoke cocktail club and tattoo parlor with old-world allure. Translated to “Without judgment, or even lightly” in English neologism, Wisdomless takes inspiration from a multitude of eras to create a peculiar yet highly-amusing experience. Defined by charming wood-paneled interiors that hint at the prohibition era, this Roman cocktail club is like a step back in time, relishing in the beauty of the adventurous spirit. Bookshelf details like human bones, daggers, and drinks unveil a life once led while tufted sofas bestow Victorian ornateness. Delight in signature sips that include whiskey variations, mezcal, and gin, like the l’assiette au beurre with a refreshing rendition of grapefruit bitters and lavender. An exquisite atmosphere gives light to the space, a historic palazzo that was once a guesthouse of Pope Gregory XIII and also home to a former intellectual society. Peruse the art gallery and event space, or take a gander at the fanciful tattoo parlor on site – all equally fascinating.

Tattu, UK

If there’s one place that fuses innovation and sharp attention to detail, this asian destination is it. A European culinary achievement, Tattu is home to four UK locations and impresses patrons with tantalizing presentations that stimulate the senses. Tattu is derived from the Chinese art form ‘tattoo’ and ‘Tatau’ which means to ‘make a mark’ in eastern culture. This high-end experience certainly lives up to its name. Upon entering, you’re immediately immersed in a magical aura with whimsy details at nearly every turn. You’ll find a faux cherry blossom ceiling and the most perfect low light for setting the mood. To ensure you leave wow’ed, the master chef adds thoughtful touches to every plate or drink, like ominous smoke, glass cloches, skulls, or a variety of flower petals. It’s the ideal locale for those who want to be seen. Imagine getting photographed under an extravagant floral chandelier after you finish an exceptional plate of dim sum. If you find yourself dreaming of the ambiance after you leave, you can mimic the sensory overload at home with Tattu’s exotic sounds created by in-house talent.

Hellfish, Bremen Germany

Nestled alongside the Europahafen river in Bremen, Germany, a quiet little tattoo parlor has made a name for itself. What one might call an ordinary dive without the frills of other establishments, Hellfish is an iconic landmark for locals. This international destination employs devoted team members and has been in business for over 22 years, proving customer loyalty is at the center of what they do. Their mission is simple: to create personal works of art that feel unique to every client. Almost like stepping into a museum, the colorful tattoo studio boasts unique touches that are quirky and playful. Details include an expansive fish tank and perfectly-placed tattoo art under a glass-box design. The open air space is conscious of privacy, but not ignorant to a creative’s love for shared conversations. And what might attract customers the most is steps away from their tattoo chair. The daytime café serves up an afternoon pick-me-up or hearty snack. Stop by for seasonal specials like pastrami on brioche, sweet donuts, or a frothy latte made to order. After two decades of service, it’s safe to say this fiery favorite is here to stay.

De Nadas & East Side Tattoo, London England

Situated amongst the hip brownstone neighborhood of Shoreditch, De Nadas is a new London-based eatery that serves comfort food at its finest. What’s on the menu? Homemade empanadas with a twist. The crescent-shaped goodness leaves you equally as happy as the sunshine-themed exterior. The Argentinian joint, boasting a striking yellow facade, proudly advertises 15 baked empanadas filled with meat or vegetarian options. Following its opening earlier this summer, the establishment teamed up with local favorite, East Side Tattoo, to offer the first five patrons a voucher for a complimentary tattoo service. There was just one small catch. The tattoo had to resemble one of three things: Either the likes of Argentinian fútbol stars Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona, or naturally, an empanada. The duo has kept a sincere partnership since the whitty marketing stint and encourages customers to delight in both. Satisfy your craving at De Nadas before taking a short 10-minute walk down the street to Bethnal Green Road for a tattoo at East Side to finish off your ink-inspired afternoon.

Full of character, these five locations are a secret worth telling. You’ve been introduced to unforgettable decor, extraordinary touches, and fervent artistry. There’s plenty of places at the bar to sit down for a cooling refreshment while you enjoy the scene. But don’t forget to take in the beauty at every corner – you may find decades of charm just waiting to be revealed.

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