The Shop: Bang Bang
If you’re looking for a tattoo shop that has a celeb-approved reputation (thanks to founder Bang Bang himself), but isn’t too intimidating, then pay a visit to Bang Bang. Not only is the team of artists massive, but it’s your one stop shop for everything minimal. Think: fine line script, illustrative realism, and ornamental designs. Yes, they do and have it all — including the kind of chill vibe that will have you hanging around long after your ink is done.
Where: 62 Grand St.; 646-918-7021. 328 Broome St.; 212-219-2799.
The shop: Sacred Tattoo
Filled with tattoo veterans and a revolving door of featured guest artists, this is one traditional tattoo shop you can’t miss when passing through New York. Nestled in Soho, and hidden between a storefront and the subway, Sacred Tattoo isn’t here to brag — it’s here to get the job done (and done well.) It’s just an added bonus that everyone is really nice, welcoming, and talented in a variety of styles, including traditional, neo traditional, and photorealism.
Where: 424 Broadway #2; 212-226-4286.
The shop: Nice Tattoo
A female-led tattoo shop, Nice Tattoo’s tiny spot in Brooklyn is worth the trip on the G train. Yes, all four of the current artists create flawless and gentle work, but they’ve also nurtured the kind of safe space ladies looking for their first ink will be eager to visit.
Where: 493 Court St.; 646-883-6417.
The shop: Fun City Tattoo
The only thing better than Fun City’s backstory (it started as an underground tattoo studio situated in a basement) is the one-of-a-kind art that comes out of its red brick walls. Now at its second home in the East Village (where it’s lived since the ’80s), this unofficial New York landmark is where you go for a mix of the old punk rock roots Fun City was birthed from and modern, innovative styles from its new team of artists.
Where: 94 St Marks Pl.; 212-353-8282.
The shop: Welcome Home Studio
Modern, queer- and POC-friendly, and aesthetically-pleasing, this community space/tattoo studio is loaded with light and talent. With like-minded artists who specialize in both hand-poke and machine-style techniques, this is the outer-borough place to come when you want a tattoo you’ll cherish forever — and literally no one else will ever have. Booking an appointment is a bit tougher than most spots (this will require planning in advance) purely due to the fact that you have to keep your eyes peeled for the artists’ books to open via Instagram. Once they do, you’ll book an appointment, put down a deposit to hold your place in the books, and then will pay the remaining balance for the work in studio with cash. In other words, walk-ins are not allowed.
Where: Greenpoint, Brooklyn (the specific address is only disclosed if you have an upcoming appointment).