“ Address: 44 Blackburn Road / Darwen / BB3 1QJ „
There is only one place that I would go to have a tattoo these days and that is the Tattoers arms in Darwen, Lancashire. I have four tattoos now but my first I had done in a different tattoo studio when I was about 19 and naïve enough not to look around properly for a really good artist. The other three tattoos I have were done by the Tattooers arms and this is my review of the establishment.
The studio is situated at 44 Blackburn Road, Darwen which is actually the main road in Darwen (A666) and you can contact the studio on 01254 773160 but it is important to note that they do not take phone bookings and in fact they don't make appointments at all so you do really need to just head along and wait. In my experience it is best to head along to the studio for about 9.40am and wait outside until they open at 10am and then you are going to be the first, or certainly one of the first, to be seen.
The studio is open from 10am-6pm on Monday through to Saturday but it is worth calling to find out which tattooist is working on each day if you have a preference as they don't both work every day. The tattooists that own and work in the studio are Mick Pickles and Lee Woods and both are incredibly talented guys who are totally trustworthy and both have tattooed me now and so I would be happy allowing either to complete my next tattoo.
Inside the studio there are places to sit whilst you wait to be seen and the walls are full of charts to flip through should you need inspiration for a tattoo if you have not chosen what you want to have before you get there. The guys are great at drawing something up for you if you go along with a picture either from the internet or something that you have seen in shop but would like adjusting slightly. There are labels next to the designs in the shop which correspond to a price chart on the wall so you can gauge price but they will also be happy to price one of your own up as well. There are signs up informing you that tattoos in some places such as the ribs or tummy will take longer and so will jump up a few places on the price chart but you can obviously check all this out once you know your design and where you want it.
The studio is really clean and I think that is paramount to a tattoo studio obviously. There is no eating and drinking in the studio but there are various little cafes and sandwich shops around should you really feel the need to bob out for something to eat and then return. The last time we visited we arrived at 9.40am but someone was there before us and it was around 11.15am before we were taken through for our tattooing and we were both starving but decided to hang fire until we got home anyway! The tattooing is done through a gate section from the main part of the shop and again it is all clean and you are left with no worries at all that you are not in capable hands.
What is great about this tattoo studio is the fact that the artists will be completely honest with you. My friend wanted to have a small tattoo on the side of her hand like Cheryl Cole has and she was told by Mick that he wouldn't tattoo hands because it "looked s*!t". He backed this up with the fact that in time it just all blends in together and ends up looking like a slug and a mess and I thought it was great how he didn't just think of the money and showed himself to be a really honest and trustworthy person.
As I mentioned I have been tattooed by both Mick and Lee now and I have been more than happy with both of them. Mick is generally chattier than what Lee was but to be fair Lee was on his first day back at work after a holiday so perhaps was a bit less chatty than usual because of that! Both guys were really nice and made me feel at ease when I was being tattooed and in fact knowing that I was going back to the Tattoers arms for this tattoo meant I didn't even get remotely nervous or anxious before hand as I knew I was in the best possible hands in my opinion.
Work wise I haven't had anything too dramatic done really. I have a Chinese symbol on my lower back which compared to the one on my shoulder done by a different tattooist is excellent in quality. There is no fading despite having it done many years ago. In early 2011 I had my son's name tattooed on my foot and I was so happy with it. The latest tattoo I had just earlier this year was the word believe on my right wrist with a love heart as the "B" because I don't really believe in myself much, or love, and it was a reminded for me to do both more. Each of my tattoos cost less than £30 and I think that it is excellent value for such brilliant work. The guys are good at giving you advice on how to care for the tattoo after you have had it and provide vitamin "A and D" cream to keep it well moisturised and looked after as it heals.
There are some incredible photos of work done by both of the guys in the studio but also on their facebook page and the website and I would totally recommend checking them out because they really are artists. I honestly wouldn't go anywhere else now and I would recommend the Tattooers arms to anyone who asked.
Thank you for reading my review!