By Serenat Kivilcim
Last Sunday I paid a visit to “Tattooed Mom”, a funky yet charming bohemian bar in South Philadelphia. Upon entering, it felt like I had stepped into a surreal hipster fairy land of graffiti and kitsch furniture, as a sign beckoned to me as I walked through the entrance: “Go Tagging All the Time…Unauthorized Street Art is Appreciated”. I knew I was going to love this place!
The downstairs bar and lounge give way to a laid back and friendly atmosphere. I truly felt welcome, as if I had frequented the place for years, and right away I felt a connection. In fact, there was art supplies and construction paper available for anyone feeling the need to freely express themselves. We loved it! However, the true ambiance and character of the establishment were not truly revealed until we ventured upstairs, where the magic really happens.
The floors, walls, and ceiling are all completely covered with tags and graffiti from years of visitors and I was tickled and mesmerized by the idea. There are also 2 pool tables, retro couches and bumper cars to complete the venue. It really is a warm, sub-culturally themed place with lots of character, which brings me to the staff and customers. The crowd at Tattooed Mom is pretty eclectic, from housewives to street artists, and you can find almost any type of person, as all are welcome! The food is also good, as their menu offers a variety of vegan and non vegan comfort foods and snacks.
The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, especially the owner, Robert Perry, who gave us a tour and brief background of his place. Robert is a very liberal and open-minded person, who appreciates street art and urges artists to be creative within the bar. You can definitely see on the walls that the artists took his word very seriously. 15 years ago, Robert partnered with a woman, who was a mother figure to many street artists and South Philly folk, and they opened “The Tattooed Mom”, in light of her many tattoos. Eventually, he became the solo owner, and he does an absolutely fantastic job!
Chatting with Robert
Playing with bumper cars
If you ever come to Philly, you need to visit Tattooed Mom on South Street.
Photos by Nicole Figueroa