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NYC’s 5 Best Tattoo Parlors

January 10, 2013 12:00 PM

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Of all the mediums through which artists express themselves, tattoo art may be the most personal. If a tat is in your future, make sure the establishment you choose is safe, clean and has autoclave sterilization, and that the artist is responsive to your questions. It also wouldn’t hurt if they were legendary. The five shops below are known for creativity, artistic flair, custom-design work and safety; possibly the perfect combination of edgy and mainstream.

Update: We’ve created an updated list with our new favorite tattoo shops. Find our new picks here.

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Saved Tattoo

426 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 486-0850

Hours: Daily – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., appointments preferred

The wait time for an appointment with fabled Scott Campbell can be epic. If you must get inked by Campbell, whose clients include Marc Jacobs and Helena Christensen, then you’re in for a wait. If waiting is not your style, don’t overlook Saved’s stable of astonishing artists including Chris O’Donnell, whose brash-masculine designs are staggering, and the whimsically-light touch of Michelle Tarantelli.

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(File/Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Three Kings Tattoo

572 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 349-7755

Hours: Daily – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.Beloved-neighborhood icon and Three Kings owner Matty No Times refuses to succumb to the appointment-only system. Walk-ins are welcome at this busy parlor, where 14 resident artists plus a revolving group of guest artists are typically on site 7 days a week. This is the tattoo parlor of choice for Brooklyn indie-rock bands like Hold Steady, Lucero, None More Black and Kill Your Idols, but Kings is not for rockers only. New Jersey Nets’ forward Boštjan Nachbar, crossed the bridge to get his tat here.

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(File photo/credit: REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Sacred Tattoo

424 Broadway
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-4286

Hours: Daily – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This is not your typical run-of-the-mill, pick-it-and-stick-it tattoo parlor. Straddling the art world and tattoo culture, Sacred’s premises include an art gallery featuring paintings and sculpture evocative of both current trends and sub-culture art. The 19 resident tattoo artists at Sacred have varying styles, but be warned: if you want an appointment with hottie Jon Mesa you should probably make that call today. Once he joins the cast of Oxygen Network’s’ “Best Ink” it may be harder to get that date.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Rising Dragon Tattoos

51 W 14th St
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-8288

Hours: Mon to Thurs – 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fri – 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat 1 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

It’s hard to say what owner Darren the Dude is more passionate about: dragons or marathon running. A tattoo artist for more than 25 years, the Dude is one of seven resident artists at Rising Dragon. Emma Stone came here with Mom in tow to get matching Paul McCartney designed tats.

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(File photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Best Events)

Hand of Glory Tattoo

429 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 832-5020

Hours: Daily – 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., appointments preferred

Locals love the intimate, cozy vibe of this Park Slope tattoo parlor, which specializes in flash art, traditional Americana and Japanese-inspired designs.The Hand team recently expanded their vision and opened a gallery space specializing in custom-tattoo work right down the block. Owner Craig Rodriquez believes in showcasing the talents of both established and emerging artists.

Love underground art and culture?  See also New York’s Best Indie Book Shops and  The 8 Best Art Galleries in NYC.

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Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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