Food & DrinkFood Features

Tattooz & Booz is Uptown’s Triple-Threat Destination

Layers of flavor, artistry, and entertainment

The lounge of Tattooz & Booz features a large mural of a traditional Chinese woman with a large, koi fish back tattoo, cow-printed booths, a large plasma TV, and a neon sign
A Tattooz & Booz Lounge. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

It’s a Sunday in the Queen City and you’re looking for a spot to brunch. You’ve tried all the hyped up spots in South End, Plaza Midwood and NoDa, but none have left a mark that’s stuck with you.

But have you heard the buzz building online for the spot in Uptown that, if you’re interested, will leave a mark that lasts a lifetime?

Enter Tattooz & Booz, the restaurant, bar, tattoo parlor and nightlife spot located on East 6th Street that’s garnered as much attention for its hybrid set-up as it has for menu items like the Philly cheesesteak egg rolls, chicken and waffles or salmon and grits.

   

Kristen Wallace Williams, co-owner at Tattooz & Booz, worked in corporate America before opening the Uptown spot, and continued at her 9-to-5 job whilst taking on the responsibilities of a business owner when Tattooz & Booz first opened up in 2020 during the pandemic.

“It was honestly exhausting. But anything that you want to be successful, you’ve got to definitely put in the time,” Williams explained. “I feel like there were some weeks where we were working 100 hours a week, especially because our concept is pretty much threefold.”

Kristen’s husband, Matthew Williams, first had the idea for Tattooz & Booz more than a decade ago, as the couple has owned a few tattoo shops in the past, but to put these varying concepts together brought a long list of challenges for the entrepreneurial couple.

“It’s long days and long nights, but it’s definitely rewarding. I think we’re all really proud of what it’s morphed into. We never expected it to be as big as it is,” Kristen told Queen City Nerve.

Thanks to a unique concept and top-notch food menu, Tattooz & Booz built a buzz on social media, allowing Kristen to leave her corporate job and focus solely on the family business. Despite a shaky pandemic start, the spot has become a hub for countless brunch lovers, party dancers, and ink admirers out there.

Tattooz & Booz offers a different vibe in the Uptown area

The unique restaurant displays eclectic decor ranging from cow-printed couches, purple-and-black skulled wallpaper, and a huge mural of a traditional Chinese woman with a tatoo of a koi fish on her back. The space is photogenic, with a grass wall and neon signage adjacent to a huge plasma TV, one of many scattered throughout the restaurant.

A grand staircase in the middle of the restaurant leads visitors to the second level, showcasing more bar space with tattooing and piercing studios toward the back. The second floor also overlooks the ground level, allowing visitors to enjoy every angle of the space.

As the morning brunch rush starts to wind down, the party starts to ramp up. The restaurant transitions into a nightclub of sorts, transforming with purple LED lights and flashing colorful lights as a DJ spins.

When the couple found the two-level space, they were ecstatic. It was important for them to keep the tattoo piece separate from the whole lounge and party vibe, and the space allowed them to keep a bit of separation while still being open enough that visitors can feel the energy across the space.

“We’re a two-level space when you walk in the door. Our front room is essentially our main dining room, where it’s more dining-style tables, and that’s where a lot of our brunch crowd comes in to dine,” Williams described. “As you walk past the initial space, you approach our second room, which is what we consider our VIP room. We have more lounge-style sofas with lower tables accompanied by bottle and cocktail services.”

The tattoo parlor is located upstairs, overlooking the VIP room. The upper level has a small bar and some high-top tables for dining. The tattoo artists reside on the perimeter of that upstairs space.

A photo of a tattoo artist, Mac Wade, tattooing a client's arm on the upper-level of Tattooz & Booz.
Tattoo Artist Marc Wade works on a client at Tattooz & Booz Lounge. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

“We currently have eight tattoo artists and two piercers who work Friday through Sunday due to higher volume,” Williams explained. “Then on Wednesdays and Thursdays, we run a split crew, so we have about five on hand during the week.”

You can schedule a consultation for a piercing or tattoo on the shop’s website. During the consultation, you have an opportunity to connect with a Tattooz & Booz artist and discuss what kind of work you’d like done, pricing, and scheduling. There’s no guarantee for a same-day service, but the tattoo parlor does take walk-ins, which are offered on a first-come, first-served basis according to availability.

A look at the menus offered at the new Uptown concept

Aside from its unique concept, Tattooz & Booz is a restaurant first, featuring a delicious Southern-style food menu. They’re known for their brunches on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

There are three food and cocktail menus depending on the time of day: Boozy Brunch, Main Booz, and Late Night Booz.

Boozy Brunch turns out a consistent crowd thanks to popular menu items like the shrimp and grits, salmon and grits, chicken and waffles, and French toast.

For the day-partiers, the Main Booz menu consists of traditional lunch items like loaded cheese fries, wings, pineapple fried rice, fried lobster & crab cluster, and a philly steak and cheese sandwich.

The Late Night Booz menu is the perfect mix between greasy bites and comfort foods to get your stomach prepared for a night of drinking. The menu features fried salmon bites, seafood egg rolls, lobster tails, and boozy cupcakes.

All menus include a list of custom cocktails like the Yellow Dragon, Geisha Girl and Pour Decisions.

“Honestly, it’s a really quirky concept,” Williams said when describing the multi-layered business.

“I think it’s an opportunity to come out and experience something people have never experienced before. If I had to define Tattooz & Booz, I would define it as a tourist destination.”

Looking down the stairs at Tattooz & Booz into the lounge with plasma TVs, purple booths, and fake grass walls
Tattooz & Booz Lounge from the upstairs looking down. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

She said that people have come to visit from up and down the East Coast, as the split-level business has become a must-try for out-of-towners who have seen talk about Tattooz & Booz on social media.

“It consists of groups of working class women or people celebrating their bachelorette party. They put us on their map of a place to come and visit when they come to Charlotte,” Williams said.

Their VIP experiences tend to cater toward those types of celebrations.

“Whether it be a birthday, bachelorette party, girls’ day out, bridal showers, or regular club life, we have a VIP package that can fulfill those needs,” Williams said.

Tattooz & Booz offers a Champagne Showers package, a Mimosa Me package, and others that accommodate for all kinds of party sizes.

Of course, as an Instagrammable destination, they’ve got the sparklers and lights and signs you can expect from any nightclub VIP selection, all to be marched out for a special guest or guests.

“We make birthdays a big deal with cupcakes and candles. We try to make it a really fun vibe,” Williams gleaned.

Tattooz & Booz has a DJ every Saturday and Sunday from open to close, making it a vibrant spot for day-partiers and night owls alike on weekends.

“Most of our DJs are local DJs. We rotate three DJs over the course of a day. Essentially, we’ll have one DJ play brunch, we’ll have another for our day party, and then we’ll have another one during nightlife,” she said.

Events in the coming month include a ’90s party on Aug. 26 from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. with DJs playing your favorite ’90s R&B and hip-hop all day. The Williamses throw two to three ’90s parties each year, as they always receive a huge response from the community.

Staff members dress in dungarees, denim on denim, paisley-and-bandana prints, bucket hats, track suits, and bold patterns—a full day of nostalgic vibes.

“People love it, and they actually come dressed up too. So we get excited. They get excited, and it’s always a fun time,” Williams exclaimed.

Having built Tattooz & Booz into a successful Charlotte destination, the Williamses have formed a vision for expansion.

“Our game plan is to expand. I think our ability to sustain ourselves is really geared around targeting tourist destinations,” Kristen said. “We’ve looked at places like Miami, Las Vegas, Houston—places that tourists are destined to go to. We want to become one of their stops on that trip” she said.

And as we so rarely get to do here in Charlotte, we’ll get to say we had it here first.


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