Great Lakes Tattoo
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History & Happenings, the Great Lakes Tattoo Blog. Sharing news, events and fascinating tidbits on Chicago Tattoo History.  



Travel & Happenings

  • Celebrating 5 years this month! Read on for info on the anniversary party & Cliff Raven archives gallery show.

  • Mario Desa will be out of the shop July 18-21

  • To book in with any of our tattooers e-mail, call, or swing by the shop as a walk-in. Contact us today.



Thank you for 5 years

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Anniversary tattoo raffle poster

The last five years have flown by. We are so thankful for the community of clients, tattooers, neighbors and friends who have so enthusiastically welcomed and supported us. We could not be here without you. 

We are also thankful to live in a city that is so rich in tattoo history. Cliff Raven, a pioneer in the type of tattooing we know today, made his home in and put his mark on Chicago. As part of the GLT anniversary celebration, we are excited to share a selection of photos and ephemera from the Cliff Raven archives in our gallery space, the Great State Gallery. Join us on Saturday, July 14th for the opening party. 

We've got a lot happening on the 14th! Read on for details on anniversary tattoos, tattoo raffle and anniversary party. 


As a thank you to all our clients who have supported us in the last 5 years, we will be doing Chicagorilla tattoos exclusively all day long. We will be offering the 5th Anniversary Chicagorilla tattoo for $150 in addition to a sheet of our gorilla designs we've done over the years for you to also choose from (prices of these designs will vary per design). Come, get your very own Chicagorilla tattoo and stay for the boozy slushees (yes, slushees. Read on my friend.)


A 7PM we kick off the party with complimentary cocktails and beer, including an event cocktail created by Pour Souls Chicago, boozy slushees from Bangers & Lace, beer from Revolution Brewing and cider from Virtue Cider. If you get hungry, you can hit up the Donermen truck and then grab a bomb pop (or good humor bar if that's your thing) from the ice cream truck parked outside.

win a tattoo

We've never done this before...but we've also never had a 5 year anniversary before. Starting at 7pm, we will be giving a raffle entry to every party-goer. Throughout the evening, we will be picking 9 tickets to win a free tattoo off of the Anniversary flash poster. Winners must be present. Limited edition Anniversary Flash posters available for sale too!


Cliff raven archives

gallery show

As part of the Great Lakes Tattoo 5th Year Anniversary Party we will be exhibiting a selection of photos and ephemera from the Cliff Raven archives in our Gallery Space, Great State Gallery. Read more about it here.


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Great Lakes Tattoo Gorilla hat front
Great Lakes Tattoo Gorilla hat side
Great Lakes Tattoo Gorilla hat bill

GLT Chicagorilla hats are in! Available online or in the tattoo shop. Embroidered GLT Chicagorilla on the front, embroidered Chicago star on the right side and GLT screen-printed on the underneath of the bill of Flexfit brand snapback wool hats. One size fits all.

Miles Maniaci black and grey lighthouse tattoo

Miles Maniaci will now be taking walk-ins on Fridays. Miles has been appointment only for over a decade, but will now be accepting walk-ins on a first come, first served basis on Fridays only. This includes, but is not limited to tattoo flash from the walls of Great Lakes Tattoo, portraits, illustrative, black and grey, Japanese, as well as starting select larger custom pieces such as half-sleeves etc.