That One Time I Got a Spontaneous Free Tattoo

Yep, you heard read that right.

I have four (now five!) tattoos, and most of them have some sort of meaning behind them, even if it is subtle. My feet have scenes of my Texas homeland, and of the Puerto Rican beach from my first solo trip.

But this is my first spontaneous tattoo that’s just for shits-and-giggles (essentially).

I met my friend Alina while we were both on a travel nurse assignment in Baltimore. We didn’t even work on the same unit, but met through a mutual friend. We spent a lot of time hanging out together, especially since we both lived in the same part of town. After our time in Baltimore was over, she decided to come visit me in Texas. We spent most of our time in San Antonio, but her departing flight was out of Austin late Sunday, so we decided to spend her last day in Texas in Austin.

We drove up in the late morning and took in the views at Mount Bonnell and the 360 Overlook. Then, it was time to show her how to really do a Sunday Funday in Austin — Rainey Street, specifically Banger’s.

Banger’s is a sausage house and beer garden. It can get super crowded on Sundays because of their live music and brunch specials, which includes a “man-mosa” (a liter of mimosa, this is important later). Alina and I got there around 1, put our name on the list, and got a table outside after waiting only about 20-30 minutes.

We had already had a beer from the bar while waiting, and immediately ordered the daily sausage special and our man-mosas. While browsing the menu, we noticed this little gem in the corner…

Banger's Free Tattoo Menu Item
Oh? What’s this?

Free tattoo…?

As the man-mosas filled less and less of our mugs and more and more of our stomachs, we kept coming back to this little image of a beer boot in the corner. I was convinced I was going to convince Alina to get it done — it’s a cowboy boot, beer, and sausage, all great symbols of her time in Texas, and a souvenir she can take with her forever! But, of course, this is not the kind of tattoo that only one person gets, so eventually she turned the tables and started convincing me to get it.

I was hesitant, especially after looking up photos on Instagram and seeing some less-than-my-standards linework, but signed the release form to get it done anyway.

We talked about it with both our waiter and the bartender — neither of who, ironically, had tattoos. Our waiter agreed with my sentiment that tattoos are necessary in Austin, saying that the “Austinite starter pack” included tattoos and Ray-bans (check and check for both me and Alina). He also said he handed out about one release form a week, but hadn’t really seen anyone come back who had actually gotten the tattoo. Our bartender said that the only people he’s seen who have had the tattoos have been, unfortunately for him, guys who’ve gotten it done on their butts.

Alina found it was only a $1 Lyft ride to the tattoo shop, and we were on our way.

We got to the shop and found a COMPLETELY FULL waiting room, which we considered a good sign. We told the guy at the front that we were there from Banger’s, showed him our receipt, and then our tattoo artist, Laguna, came out to greet us. We were taken back to the room, and started chatting with Laguna about the process, how many of these Banger’s tattoos he’s done, etc. I was still unsure about where I was going to get mine, so Alina went first.

As I was wondering around, I saw a really awesome tattoo sketch of a carousel horse, with lots of detail and really clean linework. I asked Laguna if he had drawn it, and he said yes, and I was put SO MUCH more at ease, knowing we had a legit and really good artist doing our tattoos. I mentioned to him I had been less than impressed with the linework on some of the circles I had found on social media, and he explained it was supposed to be a “branding” style, not a perfect circle, so it all made sense to me.

Alina finished up, and I ultimately decided to get mine done on the same place — inner foot, right under my ankle, next to my already Texas-themed tattoo. The tattoo only took maybe 15-20 minutes, and felt similar to my first tattoo, just little cat scratches!

Boot, Beer, Sausage - Banger's Free Tattoo on an ankle
Boot, Beer, Sausage

I am actually super stoked, and think it’s a pretty sweet tattoo. I love the location, I can’t even see it when I’m standing up or in the mirror, so it’s super subtle and I didn’t put it over any other “prime real estate” like my ribs (as I was initially considering).

Thanks to Laguna and Banger’s for a sweet tattoo with an awesome story behind it!

3 thoughts on “That One Time I Got a Spontaneous Free Tattoo

  1. I’m glad I read this because I didn’t even realize it was a beer mug and sausage! The marketing professional in me thinks this is super cute and original – I’m surprised I hadn’t heard about it before on buzzfeed or something! The branded aspect of it is a cool design element too.


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