Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I make an appointment at your shop?

We are different than a lot of shops in that at Speakeasy, each artist does their own schedule and is responsible for their own appointments.  We do not have a centralized appointment system.  Each artist has their own system as to how they make appointments and how far out they book. To make an appointment, first decide on an artist based on their style and your needs and taste.  Second, email that artist directly. 

The more information you can give about the tattoo you want, subject matter, reference pictures, placement, size and your availability, the easier it will be for them to help you.  Always send reference pictures and ideas so the artist gets an idea of the “style” you are interested in and what you like. They will take it from there and make you a consultation appointment if needed as well as a tattoo appointment. 

We do get a lot of emails and we try our best to be prompt about responding to emails but since our artist tend to be pretty booked it may take a week or so to return your email.  We do our best to make sure all emails are responded to in as timely a manner as possible.  Please be patient with us…we are artists.

2. How long will I have to wait?

All of our artists have different wait times that range from 1-2 months to a year or more.  For the most part, people are booked out at least 2 months on average.  We are an appointment-based business that focuses on one of a kind custom pieces. Sorry but in order to keep the shop a calm, relaxing environment, we cannot accommodate any large groups of people.

While we are tattooing, we can’t always answer the phone or the door so, if you are looking to book a custom piece, please leave a message and someone will return your call as soon as possible. If you know what artist you want to work with, email is preferred. In tattooing, sometimes people have to cancel last minute for various reasons, keep an eye on our social media for announcements about last minute, random day of openings or WALK-IN days.  We try to announce them as soon as we know.

Instagram: @speakeasytat

Twitter: @speakeasytat

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpeakeasyCustomTattoo

3. Do you take Walk-in’s or do I need an appointment?

Short Answer: No, we do not generally take walk-ins.  Long Answer: Sometimes we do have artists with walk-in availability but in general, appointments are best!  We cannot always answer the phone or the door when all artists are working so we prefer that you have an appointment (even for a consultation) so that we can dedicate our time to you when you are in the shop. If you do stop by and all artists are busy, you are welcome to look at portfolios and contact an artist to set up an official consultation.

We try to announce on Social Media when we have artists open for Walk-ins or Guest Artists who have open time. See links above and keep a close eye out for those announcements.

4. Can we (friend/family/group) all come in to get matching tattoos?

We would be happy to tattoo you and your friends/family however, we are no longer allowing guests to accompany clients while getting tattooed.  You will need to either book with more than one artist at the same time (which can be hard at a custom shop) or stagger your appointments. The person/people not getting tattooed can wait off sight while one person gets tattooed. 

We know this is not ideal, but it really does make a huge difference in the atmosphere at the shop. We appreciate your understanding.

5.  Shop Hours. How do I get in?  The door is locked.

We are open Monday – Sunday Noon to 8pm. By Appointment ONLY

The door is locked for the privacy and safety of our Artists and Clients.  Look to your left; press the blue button near the mailbox.  That will ring us upstairs.  SMILE! We can see you on camera.  We will buzz you in and you can proceed up the stairs to the shop. If no one answers, it’s probably a holiday, we are all busy tattooing, or beyond shop hours.

6.   Should I have a consultation? What should I bring?

Depending on your tattoo idea, it is usually best to have a consultation before your actual tattoo date.  This will help insure that you and the artist you are working with are on the same page before a drawing is done and the date of your tattoo approaches.  Please be prepared for your consultation.Being prepared means bringing any reference material you may have (printed out) of your ideas, and images you like that have a similar “style” that you are looking to get.  Also, bring CASH for your deposit.  Basically anything that will help you get your idea across to the Artist.

7.  Will I need to leave a deposit?

YES! All of our artists require a $50-$200 (varies by artist and piece) Non-refundable deposit to secure your appointment.  The amount is determined by and can be higher based on the tattoo and the artist discretion. This deposit will generally go toward your first session of tattooing, your artist will let you know their specific rules on deposits.  If you do not show or cancel your tattoo appointment, the deposit is forfeited.  Ask your artist about their personal policy as they may vary slightly.

8. Can I see the drawing before my tattoo date?

In most cases the answer is NO.  Since we do primarily custom tattoos, our artists generally prefer for you to pick an Artist who’s style appeals to you and who you can trust will do something you love based on your idea.  There is always time for tweaks and changes before you start tattooing but we have run in to some problems giving out drawings ahead of time and find that it is better to go over the drawing in person at the time of the tattoo so the artist is there to explain and interpret the “sketch” and how it will translate to a tattoo.

9. What is your cancellation policy?

We require 48 hours notice for cancelling or rescheduling appointments.  It is hard for us to get someone in your spot with less notice and can result in the artist not working that day.  Less than 48-hour notice can result in the forfeiture of your deposit and future appointments with that artist.  We understand that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances and we will do our best to accommodate any changes that need to be made as far as scheduling. The more notice you can give, the easier it will be for all involved parties.  We truly appreciate your cooperation on this, please respect our time and we will do our best to respect yours as well.

10. What should I expect when I come in to get tattooed and what is expected of me?

Both the client and Artist should come prepared on the day of the tattoo.  We will provide a nice, comfortable, relaxing and clean atmosphere for your tattoo experience. Your artist should be on time, sober, clean, prepared and ready to tattoo.  You should come, well fed, well rested, relaxed, clean, sober and on time.  We run a tight schedule and everyone’s time is valuable so, if you are running late, please call the shop and let us know so we don’t assume you are a no-show.  773.645.1703.  If you cannot make your appointment at all, please let the artist know as soon as possible.  The more notice, the more likely they can fill your space.  Your cooperation on this is appreciated.

You will be required to show a VALID photo ID and fill out all of the necessary paperwork for every tattoo appointment.  Sorry, rules are rules.

11.  Are you open Holidays?

In general NO, we tend to close most holidays but our artists are free to work them if they want to.  So, if we are open on a Holiday, the shop is appointment only unless otherwise posted.

12.   I found a tattoo that I want, can you copy it exactly?

No, sorry, we do not replicate other artists’ work.  We would be happy to take the concept of the tattoo you like and do something customized for you but we cannot copy. 

13. Can I use a credit card?

Nope, sorry.  We are still CASH only.  We have several banks, all within ½ block of our shop for your convenience. Some artists may accept PayPal, Zelle or Venmo as payment, please check with your artist first. 

PLEASE NOTE: If paying via PayPal or Venmo a 3% charge will be added to your total to cover the service fees.

14. Do you have Gift Cards/Gift Certificates?
Sorry, we no longer offer Gift Certificates

15. Can I get tattooed if I’m under 18 with parental consent?

Absolutely NOT! Sorry but Illinois law does not acknowledge Parental Consent and you cannot legally get tattooed until you are 18 with a Valid ID.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  You will have to wait.

16. Do you use Vegan Ink?

Yes and No.  We do not know all there is to know about ink and its vegan properties so do your research, the information is out there if this is an important issue to you.  What is important to us is that we use inks that in our opinion give the best tattoo results and stay the best in the skin for the longest time with the least amount of skin reactions.  Each artist has their own personal preferences and uses what they feel works best for them.  Most of the popular tattoo inks on the market today are vegan friendly but feel free to do the research and talk to your artist about which inks they use.

17. Is your shop clean and sterile?

Cleanliness is very important to us.  All of our tattoo supplies are single use and 100% disposable. We practice universal precautions, and everyone is required to be current on all Blood Borne Pathogen Precautions training.

18. How are tattoos priced? How much will my tattoo cost? Shop Minimum?

All of our artists charge by the hour with a shop minimum of $150 for anything taking under a 1/2 hour to complete. After that, our Artist rates range from $200-$300 per hour of tattooing.  Each artists sets their own hourly rate. Since we are a custom shop, unfortunately we cannot give you a price quote over the phone or via email.  Your artist can give you a ball park cost estimate at the time of your consultation but the actual cost will depend on how much time it takes to actually finish the tattoo.

We do not claim to be the cheapest place in town and we do not haggle our prices.  In tattooing, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  All of our artists are fair and honest in their pricing and we feel that in the end, you will agree.

19. Should I tip my artist?

Tipping is a really nice gesture and are always welcome and appreciated. But, there are not hard and fast rules for tipping so use your discretion and do what makes you comfortable.  If you had a great experience and you are happy with a job well done, it never hurts to show it.

20. Can I get tattooed while pregnant or breast-feeding?

No, sorry.  We cannot tattoo you while you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

21. Should I eat before I get tattooed?

Yes please! Eat plenty of protein and come well hydrated.  Getting tattooed releases endorphins.  On an empty stomach, these endorphins can lead to nausea.  Light-headedness also can occur, so it is good to have your blood sugar up prior to getting tattooed.

22. Can you fix/cover-up an old tattoo I have?

Usually YES.  In most cases, you will need an in person consultation so the artist can see what needs to be covered up or re-worked and can advise you on your options.  Be prepared though, some tattoos are not easily covered up and we may suggest laser removal before the cover up process can begin.  Your artist will let you know if what you have is workable.

 23. Does it hurt?

Yes it hurts, some places hurt more than others (sides and top of feet…ouch).  The pain can vary even within the same tattoo and over different sessions.  The best way to manage the pain is to relax, take deep breaths and don’t fight it.  The more relaxed you are, the more manageable the pain.  You signed up for this right?  You can handle it.

24. How do I take care of my tattoo?

Really all you need to do is keep it clean and hydrated.  Wash Wash Wash your tattoo. Twice a day for the first 3 days. After that, wash normally and apply a non-scented lotion like Lubriderm to keep it hydrated. Keep your tattoo covered if you are going to any public place soon after you are tattooed.  Remember it is an open wound.   It will peel and flake like a sunburn and will look really ugly before looking pretty again.  Click here for our full Aftercare Instructions

25. How long can I expect my tattoo to take to heal?

Your tattoo will start looking healed in 7-10 days.  It can take up to 4 weeks to be completely healed and should not be exposed to sun or soaked in water until after this time.

26. Do you do piercing?

No, Tattooing only.

27. Do I need to show ID?

Yes, IL State law requires that you show a Valid, State Issued ID proving that you are 18 years of age or older and fill out a release for EVERY time you get tattooed.  Thank you for understanding.

 28. Where do I park?

Parking can be difficult.  We suggest you take the the train.  The Blue Line Damen stop lets you off practically right across the street from the shop, so if you have that option, that is ideal.


If you must drive, allow yourself extra time for parking; especially on the weekends. The City of Chicago has a handy Parking App called ParkChicago that allows you pay for your parking meter and add time to the meter via an App, we suggest downloading this App and having it ready to use before coming in.  Most of the parking around the shop is meter parking so this will come in handy & save you a trip down the block with a half finished tattoo.