17 of the Best Tattoo Shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan
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Finding a hairdresser who really gets you is hard enough, but locking down a tattoo artist who can turn your dream of a thigh-spanning tribute to your childhood pet guinea pig into reality? That's a relationship that requires trust. So, to simplify the process, we've rounded up the best tattoo shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan—from traditional parlors that traffic in sailor tats, to the spot where you're most likely to see Rihanna getting inked.
Simple, solid, reliable and classic — that’s the setting for one of the East Village’s realest real-deal tattoo shops. The no-frills space and unpretentious attitude make you feel instantly confident in the caliber of the artists here,which range from Eric Rignall’s mesmerizing grand-scale scenes (think war battles and ships at sea) and Eddie Carrero’s pin-ups to Jose Soto’s Japanese pieces and Ronen Bichacho’s dreamscapes and iconography. The shop has a minimum of $70, and charges $180 per hour for larger works.
Keep it simple at this shop that's become an East Village fixture. Not one to bend to trends, the parlor keeps things classic and true to the original edgy spirit of tattooing with a bare-bones interior, modest prices, and an emphasis on quality work. This is your go-to if you’re seeking something traditional: Anna Melo is your girl for flowers, animals, and global prints like Sanskrit; Rodrigo Melo does portraits and Japanese artwork; Dana Helmuth does incredible detailed, large-scale scenes; and Leandro Nascimbene shows an imaginative side with colorful characters and pin-ups.
Lori Leven also opened her shop before tattooing was legal, and New York Adorned has been on the rise ever since with a consistent cast of incredibly talented artists. Yoni Zilber’s unbelievably detailed exotic tattoos, Jase’s bold black art pieces, Kris Magnotti’s vibrant traditional works, and Dan Bythewood’s classic, colorful stunners are among the ink attracting the downtown set and earning the allegiance of fashion industry folks, all at a shop minimum of $100 and an hourly rate of $200. Bonus: you’ll be under the same roof as the shop’s popular piercing operation helmed by J. Colby Smith, as well as the jewelry line Love, Adorned.
Kings Avenue Tattoo is noted for is incredibly clean presentation and patient, attentive staff. Previous patrons assure that after an extensive consultation, it's impossible to walk away with anything less than perfection. Brian Paul is recommended for tattoos that require small detail, and Kat Von D does stints a guest artist.
Hypnotizing black and white landscapes, dreamy mythical motifs, stupefyingly realistic portraits, innovative fine art pieces. Whatever kind of tattoo you want, you can get it done (and amazingly so) at Three Kings. Since its 2008 opening, the shop has been a go-to for everyone from rockers to fashion VIPs, and its artists are often called upon to work at events and openings. Between its two locations, the shop has an impressive stable of 15 artists in addition to a rotation of the some of the world’s most respected tattooers. They take walk-ins seven days a week, but you might have to wait for star artists like Matt Marcus, Matt Bivetto, Myles Karr, Adam Machin, or Amy Shapiro. Rates are between $80 and $175 per hour.
Tattoo Culture is where to go to get the kinds of things you never dreamed could be permanently inked onto your skin. Joining resident artists Gene Coffey, Brian Wren, and George Bardadim is a constant rotation of visiting artists from around the world. Insanely detailed geometric motifs, museum-worthy watercolors, surrealist portraits — whether color or black-and-white, this shop serves up pieces that turn your body into a walking gallery. Keep an eye on the website to see who’s tattooing there at any given time and go from there with a consultation. Hourly rates range from $150 to $300.
You'll find Scott Campbell at Saved, who's responsible for some of Marc Jacobs' ink. Among the rest of its talented artists are Chris O'Donnell, who's mastered vibrant color, and Seth Wood, who's your go-to-guy for a killer animal tat.
This newcomer helmed by BAZ opened in August after his successful run things at New York Hardcore. BAZ has tattooed everyone from tourists to Tyson Beckford and is known for pitch-perfect work on traditional tats like pin-ups, skulls, and Americana (not to mention an Elvis specialty). Until a permanent team is established, the 16-year ink vet is keeping a rotation of standout guest artists, so it’s worth stopping in to see who’s there at the moment.