Courtesy of Jenn Rice

Banger’s will tattoo its logo anywhere on your body—for free.

Jenn Rice
August 29, 2017

If you’ve visited Austin’s bustling Rainey Street, you’ve most likely encountered Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. With over one hundred beers on tap and upwards of 25 sausage options—including a few tasty vegetarian ones—Banger’s is a hot destination for craft beer fanatics, meat-lovers and brunch-goers. Add with events like the recurring “Big Band Brunch and Manmosas,” every Sunday, which offers one-liter mimosas served in giant steins, it’s easy to see why the beer hall generates long lines and perpetual hype.

During my first visit last spring, I ordered a frightening amount of sausages. I also spotted a free tattoo on the menu. No, really, a free tattoo. The menu reads: “Do you love Banger’s? Do you want to make it official? Then why not get our logo tattooed somewhere on your body? From a classic bicep tat to the timeless tramp stamp, if you’re ready to get inked, then we are ready to foot the bill. We have partnered with Platinum Ink, our friendly tattoo neighborhood shop, to offer free tattoos to our patrons. Ask your server for details.”

Thinking it was a hoax, I flagged down my server to inquire about the offer. She told me that I needed to sign a waiver at the restaurant and must be 18 years of age; that’s it. Several sausages and beers later, I decided that I did, in fact, love everything about Banger’s—so why the hell not? I’d been contemplating getting another tattoo, and I knew I wanted it to be food-related, so I took this as a sign from the heavens. (Now, I’m fairly certain it was the beer—or  meat sweats—that had fogged my brain.)

I convinced a friend to come with me for support (but more importantly, documentation that it actually happened.) We walked into Platinum Ink, I showed my I.D. and I signed a waiver saying I wanted the Banger’s tat. Fast-forward 15 minutes later, and I had a beer boot with a sausage—a Banger’s logo—on my right wrist. I was not alone. The artist said he’d already tattooed a couple thousand of these, with the most common places being the butt cheek and the lower back.  

Courtesy of Banger's

“The idea came to fruition being more of a joke,” said Ben Siegel, the bar’s owner. “We figured it would be more of a gimmicky thing we'd have on our menu that someone would eventually do, but would be more for show. Turns out, people really like free tattoos.”

My husband gave it a big eye roll—and still does. Most of my friends thought it was temporary. As ridiculous as it sounds, I love my sausage-beer-boot logo; it’s the ultimate conversation starter. Often, chefs and servers approach me at restaurants to tell me they regret not getting the tattoo. I’m still not sure what my mom thinks about it.

Siegel said that many folks don’t even realize there’s a sausage hidden in the boot until after they get the tattoo. “They see it's a boot, and they see the beer stein, but a lot of folks miss that the spur of the boot is the tie of a sausage,” he said. “I always think it's funny when I point that out and someone, who literally has it on their body, failed to notice this.”

The first Banger’s tattoo was inked a few years back during the restaurant’s soft opening. “We really weren't prepared with how many we'd give out so early on, and so the records from the first year or two are only okay at best,” he said, estimating that a few thousand people have since gotten the tattoo.

Each visit back to Banger’s, I get overly excited to show my waiter the tattoo when asked, “Is this your first time here?” I’m still waiting for the day to randomly run into another individual with a Banger’s tattoo. I have zero regrets.