True Blue Tattoo

True Blue Tattoo
607 Red River
Austin, TX

Established: 1997
Artists: Jim Chiavaroli, Chip Telano, Rachel Kolar, Rebecca Hendriks, Briza Camacho, José Palacios, Jon Reed, Mike Condon, Lee B.
Smack in the middle of the Red River District, glows the cool neon of True Blue Tattoo. Founded by the late Vanessa Alvarez, this two-fl oor ex-carriage house (the first floor is for tattooing; the second fl oor, known as “Glory Hole,” is strictly for piercings) is home to nine full-time tattoo artists and three piercers. The shop can get slammed on the weekends due to the foot traffic out on busy Sixth Street. “We get our fair share of walk-ins who want tattoos from the flash on the walls,” says artist Jose Palacios. “But a lot the flash here is drawn by our artists, and most of our customers expect us to draw custom pieces for them.” Due to its location, True Blue is open until 2 a.m. on the weekends; but no matter how hectic, quality is assured. “I’ve spent the last 10 years in Austin, the last five here at True Blue,” says Palacios. “And I can truly say it has been the best experience.”
DRINK: The Side Bar, 602 E. Seventh St., 512-322-0697. Tucked away on Seventh Street, the Side Bar is a much-needed oasis from the loudness that is Sixth Street. Laid-back and inviting, it offers a chill backyard area, cheap pool tables, and as much beer as you can handle.

EAT: Gene’s New Orleans Style Poboys and Deli, 1209 E. 11th St., 512-477-6600. Owner Gene Tumbs brought family members to Austin after Hurricane Katrina and gave them all jobs; this T.L.C. is translated into his menu, which features unbelievably delicious homemade jambalaya and po’boys.

SHOP: Gallery Lombardi, 602 W. Seventh St., Suite A, 512-481-1088. This gallery has a relaxed atmosphere and features exhibits from Texas artists in all different mediums. Best of all, you’ll fi nd art you want that you can actually afford to buy.

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