Shopping & Style

San Francisco’s Best Tattoo Parlors

November 14, 2011 7:14 AM

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Selecting a shop to ink up for the first time can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are a ton of reputable and talented tattoo artists in the Bay Area to help you bring your design to life. There are always risks when getting a tattoo, but here are some shops who have a earned loyal following.


Lyle Tuttle Tattooing

841 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-4991

Just steps from the North Beach cable cars sits the studio of renowned artist Lyle Tuttle. The Northern California native has been tattooing for more than 60 years, and has been one of the main figures in the growth of tattooing in America. His reputed clients include Cher, Henry Fonda and Janis Joplin, as well as other notable friends. The shop is part parlor and part museum. Most of the tattoos are now done by his staff, who draw rave reviews from customers (including a fellow CBS SF staffer).


Painted Lady Tattoo

491-A Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 552-5778

In the shadows of Mission Dolores, this five-year-old parlor has a reputation for creating designs that are outside of the box. Yelpers say the energetic staff also makes it a place worth considering for your ink job.


Body Manipulations

3234 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 621-0408

Body Manipulations is the most commonly rated SF tattoo parlor on yelp, and also one of the highest rated. The shop has a reputation for outstanding customers service (including after-care) on piercings and tattoos.


Black & Blue Tattoo

381 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-0770

This woman-owned studio turns out some spectacular body art (check the website). It’s no surprise that Bay Guardian readers have named them the best Bay Area tattoo artists for two years running. If you go, be sure to schedule an appointment with your artist of choice.



1324 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 621-6169

Where better to get your first tattoo than the Lower Haight? Braindrops is a very professional shop that also has a reputation for great piercing work and an array of custom jewelry.

View Comments
  • R.

    Thank you for promoting the further dumbing down fo the culture.

    • Sarah

      This is the definition of ignorance.

    • Justen Mahaffey

      Plenty of intellectual people with ink/ piercings out there. Body modification has been part of every culture we venerate and adds flavor and self expression to the mix. Keep your judgements to yourself, they are far less welcome than a bit of ink ;)

    • Gripe

      Ha ha! Your comment about “dumbing down” includes a spelling error. I work in engineering, have tats and will challenge you to a test of wits any day, tool.

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