Planning Board gives nod to beer sales at tattoo parlor

SALISBURY — Customers at a tattoo studio on South Main Street soon may be sipping craft beers while they wait for tattoos and body piercings.

Salisbury Planning Board on Tuesday agreed unanimously to recommend that City Council allow alcohol sales at Inksane Tattoo at 1329 S. Main St., near South Fulton Street and Klumac Road in the area known as Five Points.


Owners Mike and Johanna Jones said they don’t want to open a bar but only offer clients and their guests North Carolina-brewed beer while they wait for body art applications.

“This is not going to be a situation where people are getting extremely intoxicated,” Johanna Jones said.

Mike Jones said they plan to sell beer from craft microbreweries for $6 to $10 a glass. Considering the high price of the beer, coupled with the studio’s business hours of noon to 8 p.m., Jones said he expects no drunkenness or late-night problems.

That was enough to satisfy Jim Benton, who owns the Napa Auto Parts store next door and came to the meeting concerned about a tavern but said the Jones’ explanation alleviated his fears. There was no other opposition.

The special use permit, if granted by City Council, would run with the property, not the business. Planning Board recommended the condition that the permit allow alcohol sales only from noon to 8 p.m.

Salisbury Police Department had no opposition to the request, zoning administrator David Phillips said. Inksane would still need an ABC license.

Planning Board member Josh Lavis, who acknowledged he has tattoos, said he heard that drinking alcohol causes problems for tattoo application. Mike Jones said heavy drinking the night before getting a tattoo could cause thin blood, but consuming alcohol shortly before the procedure is not a problem.

Jones, who has been a tattoo artist for 23 years and opened Inksane with his wife in 2000, said serving craft brew is a growing trend for tattoo studios. The couple own a studio in Mooresville that has been selling beer successfully, Jones said.

“We are not amateurs,” he said. “We are very familiar with following regulations and laws.”

In fact, Jones said he was one of several tattoo artists who lobbied the state legislature in the 1990s to toughen up regulations on the industry.

Jones said Inksane completes about 15 tattoos and body piercings a day and “police have never been there for anything other than getting tattooed.”

Most customers are between the ages of 30 and 60, and customers younger than 21 would not be allowed to drink, he said. Clients usually wait between 45 minutes and one hour to have a tattoo applied or a body part pierced, he said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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