Those who live in Allston know there’s a vibe.
Young. Eclectic. A little grunge. It’s the Boston neighborhood known in some quarters as “Rat City,” and perhaps that sums it up.
The Silhouette Lounge, or “The Sil” as regulars call it, is an Allston staple. The old-school dive bar has been around since 1965, and recently reopened after a brief closure when its former owner retired. Now The Sil, popular among students, is reintroducing itself with an unusual promotion: Free hot dogs for life in exchange for a tattoo.
In two months, six people have already done it.
“When we were reopening back in February, one of our employees at the time created this illustration of a rat wearing wings that’s drinking a beer for our reopening party,” said Maggie Flynn, The Sil’s vice president of marketing. The rat has become the cocktail lounge’s unofficial logo — and the key to a free hot dog every day for the rest of one’s life (or as long as the bar endures).
“What happened was this woman got it tattooed on her arm, and when I saw that over the summer, I was like, ‘We have to do some promotion around this,’” Flynn said.
The bar had recently introduced its “Sil dogs” menu, which features all-beef franks with condiments for $1-$3.50 each, depending on the day and time.
“They were selling like crazy, and we thought we’d take it to the next level,” Flynn said.
Anyone who gets a real tattoo of The Sil’s unofficial logo, or any of its branding, is in the club.
Blair Hu, 22, a grad student at Boston College, was one of the first to go under the needle in the name of free hot dogs.
“I have a whole little tattoo zoo of other animals doing silly things, so this was right up my alley,” Hu told The Globe. “When the opportunity (hot dogs) came knocking (I saw a TikTok about it when I woke up), I had no choice but to answer.”
Hu got inked by artist Danny Reis at Ghost in the Machine in Brighton.
Jolie Frazer-Madge, 24, also opted in.
“This is my fourth tattoo and my second one inspired by Allston,” Frazer-Madge said, adding that she’s lived in the neighborhood as a post-grad for about three years. “I love how the neighborhood has a such a specific vibe and culture.”
Frazer-Madge said she got the ink as an homage to the city she loves: “The free hot dogs are an added bonus, of course,” she said.
Kavi, a local hand-poke tattoo artist (also known as stick-and-poke, when the artist fills a needle with ink and then pokes tiny dots into the skin), is the artist behind Frazer-Madge’s ink.
“I’ve only been to The Sil a handful of times, but I live super close and plan on going there more often to take advantage of the free hot dogs, for sure,” Frazer-Madge said.
Flynn said the cocktail lounge is simply looking to engage with its community.
“The fact that people are putting permanent ink of our bar is incredible,” Flynn said. “Allston is a very artsy community, and who doesn’t love hot dogs?”
Brittany Bowker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.