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Mark Mahoney in his tattoo studio
Mark Mahoney in his tattoo studio

People

The tattoo artist's Los Angeles

Mark Mahoney, tattoo artist to the stars and best friends with Johnny Depp, is an ink legend. But the 60-year-old Irish-Catholic Bostonian likes to tattoo everyone from the elite to the underground. Here are some of his favorite spots in Los Angeles.

Mark Mahoney is in love with L.A., a city with old Hollywood glamour and mystery built on dreams.

“Dreams are not concrete. Dreams are ephemeral or whatever and so it’s not built on bedrock, it’s built on abstract things. And I think that makes it cool and beautiful and I think it’s sexy, I think it’s a sexy city.”

Walker's Café

This little biker bar, which overlooks the ocean in San Pedro is a special place for Mahoney. He likes this old bar because it never seems to change and reminds him of the way LA used to be when he first arrived from Boston. There are hand-painted cartoons on the wall and unlike many other places in California, there's a million cigarettes and smoke in there. It's where Charles Bukowski was from, the famous writer, who grew up in the San Pedro community in Los Angeles. I threw him out of my tattoo shop when I worked in San Pedro. He was drunk and annoying.700 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedrowalkerscafe.com

Walker's Café

700 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro

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Greenspans

Founded in 1928, this clothing store has been a secret spot for low rider fashion for 70 years. It's a family business and has provided costumes for many movies, including Straight Outta Compton from 2016. It's a real historic OG (Original Gangster), every old Crip, every old Blood and every old 18th Streeter has been there. It's cool.

Greenspans

3405 Tweedy Boulevard, South Gate

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Photo: Shutterstock

Long Beach

I lived there for five years and it is still one of my favorites parts of Los Angeles. It's one of the most diverse parts of Los Angeles, everybody seems to get along. Unlike most seaside places that get so gentrified with only a certain type of people that live there, Long Beach still has organic people.

Long Beach

York Boulevard in Highland Park

Everything happens on York Boulevard in the new hip Highland Park area of Los Angeles. Go shopping for clothes in the vintage store Leader of the Pack, eat dinner at either Town Pizza or one of the many Mexican food places and then check out the vinyl shops. York Boulevard is lined with art galleries, attractive eateries, and quirky shops. It's just alive.

York Boulevard in Highland Park

York Blvd, Los Angeles

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The Peterson Auto Museum

The museum founder Robert E. Peterson was my first landlord in Los Angeles. His father, Einar, was a Danish-born mechanic who worked on heavy equipment for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the days when they were building power lines in the Mojave Desert. His son inherited his love for cars and engines. I knew Robert E. Petersen as a Hollywood publicist, who started Hot Rod Magazine on automotive performance in 1948 and in 1994, he opened the Petersen Automotive Museum, by the intersection of Fairfax and Wilshire Boulevard. It's one of the finest car museums in the country with a large collection of historical and modern automobiles. He was gracious enough to let a tattoo shop come in here. He was such a great guy. He hadn't raised the rent on anybody in 30 years or something and I got in here cheap. Super classy guy.

The Peterson Auto Museum

6060 Wilshire Boulevard

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Musso & Frank Grill

The grill opened in 1919 and is Hollywood's oldest restaurant. In the early days, silent film stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks would race horses down Hollywood Boulevard and the losers picked up the tab at the restaurant. During the golden age of Hollywood, the restaurant attracted such writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway, who made the 'back room' their popular hangout place. Musso & Frank was featured in many movies - such as Ed Wood, where the director played by Johnny Depp meets his idol, Orson Welles. It's old and cool and unchanged.

Musso & Frank Grill

6667 Hollywood Boulevard

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The Rainbow Bar and Grill

Located on the Sunset Strip just across the street from the Shamrock Social Club, this historical spot, which opened in 1973 with a party for Elton John, is a must for tourists to visit. It has more rock and roll in the air probably more than anywhere in America. Everybody has been there - Axl Rose from Guns N' Roses filmed multiple videos here and Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead was one of the regulars. Here, you can still party like a rock star and maybe you'll get lucky and spot your favorite star in the process. People get their idols to sign their arm and they come over and get it tattooed. It is also the place to go if you want to see some long-haired guy that you vaguely remember.

The Rainbow Bar and Grill

9015 Sunset Boulevard

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The Rose Bowl flea market

Located in the Rose Bowl Stadium, which seats 90,000 people, this huge flea market is held every second Sunday of the month. It's one of Los Angeles' most iconic flea markets and you can find almost everything for sale here. When I see something that I think is really ugly, I have got to double check it, because a lot of times it's really beautiful."

The Rose Bowl flea market

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

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Last edited: March 15, 2018

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