The 6 Best Tattoo Shops in NYC

Where can I get a tattoo in NYC?

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Sabrina
30. April 2020
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Many people that come to New York City come here looking for a life-long memory. One great way to get that is to get a tattoo. Obviously you want to go to the best tattoo shops in NYC. For a long time, the art of tattooing was completely forbidden in New York. So, where’s the best place to get a tattoo in New York today? How much does it actually cost? Will I need to make an appointment? These are just some of the questions that this article will answer.

Contents

I have had some tattoos done now since I live in NYC. For my tattoos, I went to one of the world’s best-known tattoo studios in the city. Bang Bang Tattoo was especially known for its celebrity customers like Justin Bieber, Rihanna, several athletes, and actors. However, Bang Bang in New York City is of course not the only tattoo studio in New York that I can recommend. The city is home to the best tattoo studios in the world and there are plenty of them. There are my favorites.

How do I find the best tattoo studio in New York?

Dez at Bang Bang NYC
Dez at Bang Bang NYC

Getting a tattoo in New York is, of course, a pretty big deal and is a great lifetime souvenir. Nevertheless, I recommend that you do enough research beforehand whether the tattoo studio in New York City is right for you. Hopefully, this article gives you a better insight into the different tattoo shops in the city. However, at the end of the day, make sure you decide based on the style that suits you the most.

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE TATTOO STUDIOS’ SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS BEFOREHAND.

In this guide to your perfect tattoo in New York, you will only find tattoo studios that I have either tried myself or where my friends get tattoos. But inform yourself beforehand whether your desired tattoo can also be implemented in the same way. Check out the tattoo studios’ social media channels and find out which tattoo studio in New York is the most suitable for you.

The 6 best tattoo shops in New York

Tattoo created at Bang Bang Tattoo in NYC
Part of my sleeve from Bang Bang Tattoos

Bang Bang tattoo

@bangbangnyc

So let’s start with the studio where I get all my tattoos done. Bang Bang in New York is by far the most famous studio in the city and employs a large number of very talented artists from around the world. They are personally selected by Keith “ Bang Bang ” McCurdy to work for him in the city. With a studio in Chinatown and one in SoHo, a team of around 30 artists works daily to create the best tattoos in New York City for their customers.

Personally, I can highly recommend the artist Dez from Bang Bang. He is currently one of the hottest and best tattoo artists in New York City. Their social media following is strong with around 2 million fans following the studio on the Bang Bang NYC Instagram account.

The advantage of Bang Bang tattoos is that each artist has their own style. While some only do realistic tattoos, others only work on lettering. Then, you have others that only do Sting portraits. With Bang Bang Tattoos you are safe. The studio is the cleanest and most hygienic studio in New York I’ve seen.

In terms of price, however, it is also the most expensive. The prices depend on the tattoo artist. However, no one at Bang Bang works on your desired tattoo under $450 an hour. Even though with the high price-point, you can be guaranteed the quality of their work is top-notch. The best of the world work here, which can also be seen from the results of the work. Walk-ins are welcome. Otherwise, if you’re looking to book an appointment with a certain artist, the waiting time is about 4-8 months. Appointments can best be made by email, or directly on their site. (Address: 328 Broome Street & 62 Grand Street)

Daredevil tattoo

@Daredeviltattoo

Daredevil Tattoo is right on the border of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The tattoo studio in Manhattan opened in 1997 and has been an integral part of the New York tattoo scene ever since. Part of the tattoo studio in New York City is a tattoo museum, which can be visited for free.

Here, you can also choose from different artists, whose specialties are as different as their tattoos themselves. The price of Daredevil Tattoo is around $200 an hour. Walk-ins are welcome. We suggest booking in advance. The waiting times for Daredevil tattoos are always relatively long. (Address: 141 Division Street)

East River Tattoo

@eastrivertattoo

East River Tattoo was founded in Brooklyn’s hip Greenpoint neighborhood by Duke Riley in 2000. With a team of six highly talented artists, East River Tattoo specializes in historical tattoos of American history and maritime styles. Be sure to check out the Instagram account. They have about 90,000 followers and you can get a good impression of what exactly awaits you at this tattoo shop.

Compared to other tattoo studios in New York, the East River Tattoo is also in the same price range of $200 to $400 for normal-sized tattoos. Here you should really be aware of their style and the style that you want. If your desired tattoo does not meet the ideas of the tattoo artist, there is a clear, but very friendly no. Walk-ins are also welcome here. (Address: 1047 Manhattan Ave)

Fineline tattoo

@finelinetattoonyc

Mike Bakaty, a veteran of the New York tattoo scene, who has unfortunately passed away, was already tattooing in his loft on the Lower East Side after retiring from the art scene. He was also one of the first to acquire his tattoo license in 1997. In fact, tattooing was banned in New York for 20 years. From 1961 to 1997 there were no official tattoo studios in New York.

Today his son, Mehai, is tattooing on the Lower East Side and has taken over his father’s shop with five other tattoo artists. As the name Fineline Tattoo already suggests, his aesthetic is fine lines and first-class engraved tattoos. Fineline is one of the oldest tattoo studios in New York and you can get a tattoo here for around $100- $160 an hour. (Address: 21 1st Ave)

Kings Avenue tattoo

@kingsavetattoo

Mike Rubendall founded Kings Avenue Tattoo in Long Island in 2005. Since then, this tattoo shop in New York has developed into one of the most famous and respected tattoo studios in NYC. Since 2011, Mike Rubendall opened a location in SoHo and the team continues to grow and grow. Similar to Bang Bang, tattoo artists from all over the world are flown in regularly to help out in the shop for a short time.

Due to the size, the Kings Avenue Tattoo Studio in Manhattan gives you the opportunity to get exactly the tattoo you want. You are not stuck with a certain style, such as East River Tattoo Studio. The price in Kings Avenue is around $ 400-500 for a small tattoo. Walk-ins are significantly cheaper and are possible for $100. (Address: 188 Bowery)

Three Kings tattoo

@threekingstattoo

If you are looking for a tattoo studio in New York, you will most likely see the name Three Kings Tattoo. With locations in the East Village, Long Island, Greenpoint, and even Los Angeles, Three Kings Tattoo is a great spot for high quality and really meaningful tattoos.

Many of my friends got their tattoos at Three Kings in New York. They are known to be a little more expensive than other NYC tattoo studios, but definitely worth it. You get detailed advice and a really personal tattoo at Three Kings. They make their tattoos unique and isn’t copied from some template.

Each tattoo is a work of art and a unique piece. Per hour you can expect to pay around  $100- $200 depending on the tattoo artist. Make sure to make your appointment here well in advance, as Three Kings is always very popular and is often fully booked. (Address: 343 E 10th Street – Manhattan Studio)

Tattoo studios in New York: Q&A

Sabrina's Tattoo
Tattoo by my sister and me. Also from Bang Bang Tattoo.

Are tattoo shops in NYC open during coronavirus?

As of right now, the coronavirus in NYC has shut down most businesses unless they are deemed essential. Those include hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, and eateries that allow take-out or to-go. Tattoo shops in NYC, just like most stores are closed until the government says it’s OK to open them back up. As of right now, there are talks of opening the state on June 1st, but we’re not exactly sure what that will entail.

How much does a tattoo cost in New York?

The prices for a tattoo in New York City are very different. Cheap tattoo studios in New York start at around $100 an hour, while big names like Bang Bang charge five times as much. Don’t fall for the cheap tattoo studios. A tattoo for under $100 cannot and will not be of good quality unless you don’t mind.

How do I make an appointment at a tattoo studio in New York?

It makes sense to make an appointment before your trip to New York and do enough research to find out which tattoo studio in New York works for you. Make sure to do your due diligence and research. Remember, this tattoo stays with you forever. Don’t let prices dictate where you go. With that being said, all studios require a deposit. This can be done over the phone with the credit card. The large studios in particular, whose customers come from all over the world, are tailored to these processes.

It is best to send an email with a picture of your desired tattoo. If you already have a special tattoo in mind, please send it through email. From there, expect a questionnaire and a contract from the tattoo studio with an appointment and payment options.

How old do you have to be to get a tattoo?

You have to at least 18 years old to get a tattoo in New York. No exceptions are made at any reputable tattoo studio in NYC.

Do you tip if you get a tattoo in New York?

Yes, you should tip the artist. This is around 20% of the total amount (before tax) of the tattoo.

About the author
Sabrina

Calling New York City home is still pretty surreal. After moving here 5 years ago, I still see it as my dream life. Ever since I’ve been exploring this amazing city for Loving New York I’ve grown to love it even more. I love hooking all of you up with the inside scoop, top attractions, events and everything in between. I'm your go-to person for the hidden gems, best restaurants and the absolute best things to do in the city that never sleeps.

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