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A Tattoo Shop Like No Other

Outer Limits Tattoo was originally opened and run as Twilight Fantasy Tattoo on April 1st 1983 in Anaheim, CA by Kari Barba and some business partners. However, business took off rapidly and Kari was able to buy out each partner within the first year of operations.  From there she was able to open two more shops - one in Riverside, CA and the other on famous Melrose Ave. in L,A,


After a decade of great success, in the early 90s Kari sold off those two shops, and changed the business name to Outer Limits Tattoo & Body Piercing. This new era was spent expanding her brand in Southern California from the flagship shop in Anaheim and by 2003, Outer Limits Tattoo acquired three additional locations in Orange, Long Beach, and Costa Mesa. Outer Limits Tattoo & Body Piercing had earned the deserved reputation for quality tattoo shops with top-notch artists producing excellent tattoo work.


In the past few years, Kari Barba has focused on streamlining the business, selling off the shops in Orange and Anaheim. Remaining are the Costa Mesa & Long Beach shops and the unique location of each of them is big part of the allure for clients.  

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Vintage tattoo chair & safe found during renovations of Long Beach - photo by Ivana Belakova

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The CAMP and Outer Limits Tattoo Costa Mesa
The CAMP and Outer Limits Tattoo Costa Mesa



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In 2003 Outer Limits Tattoo Costa Mesa moved into The CAMP, an out-of-the box “anti-mall” that is a component of The LAB.


The space is visionary and inspired, filled with likeminded tenants offering alternative dining, entertainment, and shopping options. Paramount to the vision of the founders was creating urban green space that focused on award-winning architecture and environmentally friendly construction. It is truly a unique location and Outer Limits Tattoo is proud to have a shop located in a spot with much to offer patrons.


Costa Mesa Outer Limits Tattoo is now home to six incredibly talented and diverse tattoo artists. It is also our location offering piercing services with two highly qualified professional piercers. Costa Mesa has won numerous awards from OC Weekly and clients are in great hands. Call or stop in anytime during business hours to acquaint yourself with our crew.

Photos courtesy of The CAMP


Outer Limits Tattoo Long Beach is a very special location deeply rooted in tattoo history and legend as well as having a major role in the nautical history of The Port of Long Beach. It was located in the seaside amusement area once famously known as The Pike. The shop has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated tattoo studio in the United States and is the second oldest in the world.


The shop was purchased by Kari Barba in 2002 from the sons of tattoo artist, Bob Shaw, who was the nephew of the famous Bert Grimm. Because of the historical ramifications and the condition the building was in when Kari took over, it was a four year renovation and true labor of love to bring the Long Beach shop into the light of day.


The time was spent pouring over Long Beach Historical Society documents to understand the significance of the property and the era of its hay day. Every effort was made to salvage and archive any items left inside the shop. Anything that could be kept as original, was.  This includes the flooring which has remained preserved, as is, from the original building construction in 1921.


Any of the new construction was well thought out with custom wood and metal work through the shop, & always with a nod to the nautical history of Long Beach. The renovations were a group effort and involved help from many of the tattoo artists.  

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The waiting room at Outer Limits Tattoo Long Beach - photo by Ivana Belakova

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Custom painting by Bob Shaw from Kari's studio - photo by T. Durfee

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Tattoo Museum Outer Limits Tattoo Long Beach, vintage tattoo, American Traditional tattoo, back tattoo, Bert Grimm, Bob Shaw



Email General Inquiries to Outer Limits Tattoo Long Beach

It was with great pride when Kari and her staff held the grand opening of Outer Limits Tattoo Long Beach on May 15, 2006. As a result of Kari’s meticulous preservation and archiving efforts, the shop is also an impressive tattoo museum filled from front-to-back with original photos, framed documents, vintage tattoo equipment, & memorabilia from The Pike days of Long Beach.


The public is welcome to come in anytime to peruse the vast collection. Of course, in addition to the visual feast inside Long Beach, it is the working tattoo studio for Kari Barba along with ten of the best tattoo artists in SoCal. Call or visit anytime, our staff welcomes everyone!


Kari Barba has over 35 years of tattoo expertise and has carved her own place in industry history with her dedication to excellence. As the owner of the oldest tattoo shop in America, she takes seriously her stewardship of these historical artifacts. To read about the expanded history of 22 S. Chestnut Place, and to watch a great video of Kari giving an oral history of Outer Limits Tattoo, please click here.

From the archives at Long Beach - photos by T. Durfee

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