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.


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).

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 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.


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.


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.