Culture

Empire Ink, a Tattoo and Coffee Shop, Opens in Wynwood

Get inked and then get buzzed (or vice versa) under one roof.
Get inked and then get buzzed (or vice versa) under one roof. Miway Films (@miwayfilms)
A tattoo shop and coffeehouse all in one?

God bless Wynwood.

Empire Ink, a South Florida-based tattoo mainstay with shops in downtown Miami, South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton, opened its fifth location, in Wynwood, March 10. And this isn’t your average tattoo parlor.

To celebrate Empire Ink’s tenth anniversary in the region, the company’s founder and CEO, Steve Santacruz, thought it was time to pay homage to his Colombian roots. What better way than by creating the town’s first tattoo café?


In one part of the industrial-style space, Empire Ink Wynwood is home to a full-fledged coffee bar, with espresso beverages galore and tasty, locally crafted morsels such as biscotti, croissants, and cannoli.

“My family is from Colombia, and good coffee has always been a staple of any of our family get-togethers,” Santacruz says. “So for our Wynwood location, we’ll have some awesome single-origin coffee for our coffee shop, along with a tattoo parlor.”
click to enlarge Steve Santacruz (right), founder and CEO of Empire Ink, is the mastermind behind the new tattoo and coffee spot. - MIWAY FILMS  (@MIWAYFILMS)
Steve Santacruz (right), founder and CEO of Empire Ink, is the mastermind behind the new tattoo and coffee spot.
Miway Films (@miwayfilms)
The café is clad in white brick with an angelic motif, similar to Empire Ink’s logo. The tattoo area boasts four tattoo stations, one of which doubles as a piercing area. Glass separates the café and tattoo parlor, giving guests an opportunity to peer into a totally different world.

“While merging these worlds together was a task, the result is totally unique,” Santacruz says. “We wanted a place for people to socialize and see what’s going on without necessarily having work done. It’s a great atmosphere, and you get the vibe when you’re here.”

Patrons can stroll in for a cup of joe anytime, but customers wanting tattoos are advised to book an appointment with an Empire Ink artist in advance.

But if you suddenly want some ink while you’re sipping a latte at the shop, well, at least you’ll be in the right spot.

Empire Ink Wynwood. 166 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-397-8050; empireinklifestyle.com. Tattoo parlor open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11.a.m. to 2 a.m. Café open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.