Booze. Tattoos. What could possibly go wrong? Fear not, the responsible tattoo artists at Dakota Lee — a mixture of bar, tattoo parlour, retail and event space in Kramerville, Johannesburg — won’t be fulfilling any spontaneous requests for facial ink while customers are under the influence. Having said that, the bar is handily placed for a quick nip to take the edge off the discomfort before a pre-booked and carefully considered session in the chair.
And what lovely chairs they are — vintage barber chairs that must have plenty of stories to tell from their long and distinguished service. Other weathered elements include a well-worn leather sofa and some seasoned pieces of wooden furniture. These blend well with the sleek modernity of the polished floor – emblazoned with the Dakota Lee motto “Let’s Be Different Together” — and the handsome glazed tile wall behind the bar which is fronted by a backlit panel of body art graphics.
The interior — put together by StudioA, the folk behind Hell’s Kitchen, another rock’n’roll infused Johannesburg spot — will evolve over time at this newly-opened venture, and the use of chalkboard paint on much of the walls has created a surface crying out to be decorated with drawings of designs delivered for real in the parlour. The bar is to host DJs and bands in the evening, making the venue accessible even to those who aren’t committed to the tattoo scene.