Outer Limits Tattoo

This past Saturday I went to the secluded Chestnut Ave in Downtown Long Beach. Anyone walking by this area would not see much to allude to the significance of the tattoo parlor on this street. Outer Limits Tattoo Parlor, a simple tattoo parlor, is in fact the oldest operating tattoo parlor in the United States, and the second oldest tattoo parlor in the world.

The origins of the tattoo parlor can be traced to a man named Bert Grimm. Grimm had an interest in tattoos from the age of 11/12 and as he practiced his craft, he was so confident in himself that he proclaimed himself to be the greatest tattoo artists ever. He did have merit to back up his claim, as some of his customers included Bonnie and Clyde, as well as Pretty Boy Floyd. He eventually moved from Oregon down to Long Beach, where he opened Bert Grimm’s Tattoo in 1927, and operated it until the mid 50s and 60s. At the point the tattoo parlor received new ownership and Grimm retired back to Oregon where he passed away in the mid 80s.

The tattoo parlor ran into some trouble during 2004, where it was being considered that it would be replaced by an apartment complex. Luckily, a woman named Kari Barbra ended up buying the shop and has kept it alive. Since then, it still operates as a tattoo parlor, but Barbra has also turned part of it into a museum to honor the legacy that comes with such a legendary shop.

Although I visited, I did not leave with any tattoos, but their rates are pretty well considering it’s history. Well worth visiting!


  1. Ryan Florence

    I always found tattoo history interesting since it seems that every artist takes such pride in his or her work and all want to claim the mantle of “the best”. That’s crazy that its still operating though and I wonder what Grimm would think if he saw the place now.

  2. Anaid Gonzalez

    I would have never guessed that the tattoo parlor would be so old and had such a rich history, it seems odd that the shop doesn’t monopolize on the fact that it is so historical and that well known people had gone there before to get tattoos.


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