Tattoos are forever. At least, this is the first thought when considering the inked body art. As such, once you want to plunk down your money on some serious inked designs, the very last thing you want is to regret it afterward.
Tattoos’ designs can look excellent on paper, but things can change once getting into your skin—no wonder why artists’ talent is decisive when it comes to body art success.
Down below, I have brought together lots of the top tattoo parlors in the Bay Area. The offer is generous, so you are very likely to find the most remarkable yet most talented tattoo artists after reading this article. Ready to get inked? Learn everything about the top artists in the Bay Area.
Top Tattoo Artists To Look For Around Bay Area
After a good research, here is what I found about the top tattoo artists in the Bay Area, great tattoo designers you can put all your trust in. Take some notes and make the bookings:
Black & Blue Tattoo(@blackandbluetattoo)
When you look at these tattoos, you can say that Idexa is a legend for tattoos and more. Step into Black & Blue Tattoo, a female-owned, gender-inclusive tattoo studio that has been open since 1995.
The tattoo shop has excellent reviews regarding amiability, kindness, and the artists’ fantastic skills here.
Now, keep in mind that this tattoo shop is a fragrance-free zone, so be sure that you are not wearing any perfume when coming to get tattooed.
381 GUERRERO AT 16TH ST
Diving Swallow Tattoo(@divingswallowtattoo)
If you are looking for a unique space in East Bay, you cannot miss the Diving Swallow Tattoo. This studio has impressive artists with lots of experience that will create custom ink for you or any black or full-colored tattoo you dream about.
One of the most appreciated artists here is Marie Brennan, due to her realistic tattoos. She is specialized in flora and fauna tattoos, and people wait to book her work for months. Each artist has their personal information, so find the one that suits you best.
264 14th Street Oakland between Harrison and Alice Streets
Lampblack Tattoo Studio(@iggyvanstattoos)
If you want a place full of skilled artists, go to Lampblack Tattoo Studio and talk with the owner, Iggy Vans. This guy is a professional tattoo artist with experience of more than 20 years before opening his studio.
He is the Mission District character, but his colleagues are also trustful in terms of tattoo art. For instance, you can also go to Tonya Vyeda, a thoughtful artist, very dedicated to her work, and a lovely presence to share this fantastic experience of getting tattooed.
Lampblack was named for the traditional pigment that these artists are using.
Website: http://www.lampblacktattoo.com/ (Not Available right now)
2063 Mission Street between 16th and 17th Streets
Lyle Tuttle Tattoo & Museum/ Blue Bird Tattoo(@lyletuttletattooshop)
Lyle Tuttle is the legend of the San Francisco tattoo world. He has been tattooing on all the world’s continents and inked celebrities such as Cher, the Allman Brothers, and Joan Baez.
Although he is not with us anymore, he left a great legacy of his work: the Lyle Tuttle Tattoo & Museum, a place you want to come back to. Here you can admire some of Lyle’s work and visit one of San Francisco history’s unique places.
The best part? You can also have a traditional tattoo here, made by Madeline Bluebird or any talented artist.
841 Columbus Avenue between Lombard and Greenwich Streets
Old Crow Tattoo(@oldcrowtattoo)
Old Crow tattoo shop is a unique place in the Bay Area, and the shop is fantastic due to its owner, Philip Milic. The tattoo artist has a unique vision and works in perfect fine lines.
You can book your spot and enjoy the work of Hannah Wolf and Natasha Tsozik as well. However, once coming to the Old Crow Tattoo, you can have other services, such as henna work, different art types, and jewelry.
The Old Crow Tattoo looks like a gallery. It’s a pity not to come here and show your friends this unique neighborhood business.
362 Grand Avenue, Oakland, between Ellita Ave and Perkins Street
2Spirit Tattoo Studio is one of the top ones in the Bay Area. This studio is known for its custom-creating artwork, especially for the all-black ones. Roxx is one of the most talented tattoo artists in the area and uses her clients as canvas pieces to show her fantastic work.
At 2Spirit, you will find other tattooers who work in various styles, from sacred patterns to geometric work. Whether you look for the Nirvana logo or some tattoos with Elizabethan or Victorian textile designs, this tattoo shop is the one you should go to.
Don’t forget to make an appointment before. You better call them; otherwise, you might get a reply in two weeks only if you just email the tattoo shop.
San Francisco, CA 94103
The Authentic Tattoo Shop is a unique place to visit and get a particular tattoo. This place has been working for over two decades in the tattoo industry, and it is located in the San Francisco area. Tex, the tattoo artist here, will talk with you first while you will explain the design and style you are looking for.
Just have a look at Tex’s work and be ready to admire various techniques of tattooing. Get to know the fantastic painting work of this artist, as well as the pictures that have been exhibited at lots of galleries. Finally, have your tattoo, and enjoy Tex’s work for a lifetime.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Black Serum Tattoo (@blkserum)
This shop is owned by Brücius T. and it is specialized in many techniques such as Dotwork, Crosshatching, Blackwork and many more. Technically, they offer something for any taste.
Furthermore, they use vegan ink, so you won’t have to worry about this aspect since getting a tattoo there is cruelty free.
However, I do recommend making an appointment some time ahead as they tend to be very busy.
310 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Castro Tattoo is one of the oldest tattoo shops in the Bay Area, offering San Francisco residents and tourists anybody artworks for almost 15 years.
The famous tattoo artist Hannah Wolf has traveled the world showing her art, and now you can enjoy her work by going to this studio.
You can admire Hannah’s Wolf work by checking the studio’s website and each tattooer’s work. The artists are specialized in different styles, so it is impossible not to find the one that suits you best.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Cold Steel America(@coldsteelpiercing)
If you want to do your first tattoo without needing an appointment, then go to the Cold Steel America studio. This tattoo shop has talented artists with lots of experience and different inking styles.
This studio is open seven days a week and offers a clean, friendly environment, where you can talk with the artist first and then get a large or minimalist tattoo.
Furthermore, the shop has piercers’ services, which are all licensed and have combined 50 years of experience. If you want to get a piece, you have a full line of jewelry to choose from.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Diamond Club Tattoo(@diamondclubtattoo)
Since 1991, Diamond Club Tattoo has been offering tattoo enthusiasts some of the most stunning body art pieces. The shop is already famous for the high-quality work and the professionalism and experience of its host.
Look for Brian, Junko, Feo, or Campbell and make your appointment here. All styles of ink are available here, from minimalistic tattoos to traditional and new-school designs.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dream Masters Custom Tattoos(@dreammasterstattoo)
One of the main things to look for when choosing the tattoo shop is the cleanliness part, the experience of artists, and their portfolio. Dream Masters Custom Tattoos is a tattoo shop based in the Bay Area, and its artists work personally with the clients to make sure everyone will get the results they want.
Tattoos should work according to your anatomy, as well as your lifestyle or hobbies.
The tattoo artists here are licensed and certified by the San Francisco Health Department, which means you will get your body art in a spotless environment, only with professionals. Furthermore, the artists have been tested for HIV and Hepatitis.
Dream Masters is one of the most appreciated studios in the Bay Area and has won numerous awards during the time.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Eye of the Tiger Tattoo(@salemtattoos)
Eye Of The Tiger Tattoo studio has been bringing the art of tattooing since 2013. The owner himself has worked in the industry for more than 25 years.
Salem and his team are making custom design tattoos, in various styles, from Asian to sacred geometry, traditional, portrait realism, and colorful tattoos. He is an artist that won the Best Color Tattoo at Inked Hearts Tattoo Convention.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing(@haightashburytattooandpiercing)
Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing has been in the tattoo area since 1992, and it is one of the most appreciated studios in the Bay Area.
Here you will find four resident artists, whose work you can find online, with lots of photos to inspire you. Trust them, make an appointment to get your first tattoo, cover an old one, or add another to your collection.
The shop also sells some accessories, clothing, books, jewelry, and homewares that have been collected from around the world. Walk-ins are welcome anytime during the week, but clients need to be at least 18 years old and have an available ID.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Mermaids Tattoo Studio & Gallery(@mermaidstattoo)
What about going to an all-girl tattoo shop in the Bay Area? The Mermaid Tattoo Studio & Gallery is a woman-owned tattoo shop, famous for the friendly staff and the clean environment here.
Moreover, there are lots of artwork exhibited here to choose the favorite artist based on their works. Her art is impressive, as it brings a lot of color and precision.
The owner herself, Anne Williams, has been in this industry since 1998 and has been one of the Erno Tattoo legend apprentices.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Micah Riot Tattoo(@micahriot)
Micah is one of the most talented tattoo artists in the Bay Area and offers top services in terms of body art.
All the clients who come to Micah Riot Tattoo studio will have a series of questions and answers first, then a consultation with the artist. This is a simple sign of professionalism.
The best part? During the tattooing process, clients can bring their comfort items, so they feel at home. However, make sure that you book your spot some months out, as Micah is one of the best artists in the area. Additional deposits might be required.
San Francisco, CA 94110
How To Choose The Best Tattoo Artist?
Here are the most important things to know before going to the tattooing artist and choose some of the top ones. Many people do not consider the following aspects, and such, they do not end up on professional hands.
Take Your Time
Getting your first tattoo is exciting. However, this is an important decision, so do not rush. So, if you want a tattoo, which is kind of for life, take your time, do some research and relax.
Visit Some Studios
Imagine this scenario: when you are making a significant purchase, such as buying a new car or a house, you want to visit some dealerships first, right? It happens the same with tattoos too.
Ask the artists some questions first, visit some studios, and see how friendly their staff is. Wander around the tattoo shops, and do not hesitate to ask the artists your main wanders.
Check The Artists’ Work
You don’t need to be an artist to tell the quality of someone’s work. Check the pictures of the tattoo artists’ you are following and their portfolio, and then see which style would suit you best.
Look closely at their work, and when I say closely, I mean it. See the lines, how fine they are, how smooth and sharp. Also, colors should be bold, without any blank areas. Circles should also be perfect, not ovals, not squares. Be objective; a tattoo is a kind of forever.
Listen to Reviews
Friends, ex-clients, online reviews, and recommendations are all a good start point. Ask these people about their experience, so if they had a bad experience, they would warn you.
Also Read: 30 Best Tattoo Artists You Should Follow In 2021
There are many professional artists in the Bay Area, but only a few of them are the top ones. Choose one of the studios I mentioned above and enjoy a unique tattoo.