Laurels
Best Tattoo Artists
in San Francisco
2017

Why These Tattoo Artists?

Our goal is to connect people with the best local experts. We scored tattoo artists on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analysed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best tattoo artists in San Francisco, CA.

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Our Selection Criteria:

  • 1. Reputation

    A history of delighted customers and outstanding service.

  • 2. Credibility

    Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditations, and awards.

  • 3. Experience

    Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.

  • 4. Availability

    Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.

  • 5. Professionalism

    Providing service with honesty, reliability, and respect.

2Spirit Tattoo

2Spirit Tattoo is a San Francisco tattoo shop. The studio is known for custom creating artwork on clients using their body as canvas and employs artists who work in a variety of styles. 2Spirit's tattooers include one known for geometric work and sacred patterns, one utilizes Victorian and Elizabethan textile design, and another designed Nirvana's logo. Appointments are mandatory, and it may take two weeks for the shop to reply to emails. Clients must be 18 years of age and bring valid ID.

San Francisco, CA(415) 701-8288

Website

Authentic Tattoo

Authentic Tattoo brings over two decades of global experience in tattoo artwork to the San Francisco area. Clients must come in for a consultation, and owner Tex can execute designs in various styles and techniques. Photos of Tex' work can be seen online as well as some of her paintings which she has exhibited at various galleries.

San Francisco, CA(415) 525-1484

Website

Black & Blue Tattoo

Black & Blue Tattoo provides tattooing in the San Francisco area. The shop is woman-owned, and information on the various artists can be viewed online. Clients are asked to not wear any perfume or cologne, and family and friends must remain in the waiting room during a procedure. Out-of-towners should call ahead of their arrival to make an appointment, and required deposits for all appointments are non-refundable.

San Francisco, CA(415) 626-0770

Website

Blue Dragon Tatto

Blue Dragon Tattoo is a San Francisco tattoo studio. The shop is known for its care given to each client and community atmosphere, and a variety of styles are available for custom designs. Sample work from each of the shop's five resident artists are shown online, and artists can be emailed directly for appointments and questions. Blue Dragon is open seven days a week, and walk-ins are allowed though appointments are recommended.

San Francisco, CA(415) 742-4467

Website

Castro Tattoo

Castro Tattoo has been offering San Francisco residents tattoo artwork for almost 15 years. Owner Hannah Wolf has traveled the world with her art and been recognized both in the media and with numerous awards. Hannah's and various other artists' work can be seen at the studio's website, and each tattooer specializes in different styles for clients to choose from.

San Francisco, CA(415) 701-1970

Website

Cold Steel America

Cold Steel America has been a San Francisco tattoo shop for over 15 years. The studio is known to be safe, clean, and friendly and is open seven days a week. Appointments are not required, and all design styles as well as custom work, large and small, can be accommodated. The shop's piercers are licensed and have a combined 50 years of experience, and a full line of jewelry is also for sale.

San Francisco, CA(415) 933-7233

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Diamond Club Tattoo

Diamond Club Tattoo has been a San Francisco tattoo studio for 25 years. The shop is known for high quality work and professionalism and hosts artists from all over the world. Diamond Club is open seven days a week, and appointments can be made but are not necessary. All styles of ink from traditional to new school can be accommodated.

San Francisco, CA(415) 776-0539

Website

Dream Masters Custom Tattoos

Dream Masters Custom Tattoos is a San Francisco ink shop. Artists work personally with clients to make sure each design is rendered per request and will go well on the client's anatomy. All tattooers are licensed and certified by the San Francisco Health Department, have current vaccinations, have completed bloodborne pathogen training, and have been tested for Hepatitis and HIV. Dream Masters has won numerous awards including Best Tattoo Shop in San Francisco from 2013 to 2016.

San Francisco, CA(415) 277-7204

Website

Eye of the Tiger Tattoo

Eye of the Tiger Tattoo has been tattooing in the San Francisco area since 2013. Owner Salem has some 25 years of experience in the field and has traveled the globe perfecting his skills. Artists at the studio can render most any custom design in various styles such as traditional, portrait realism, Asian, color, and sacred geometry. Salem won the award for Best Color Tattoo at Inked Hearts Tattoo Convention.

San Francisco, CA(415) 753-9648

Website

Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing

Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing has been serving the San Francisco area since 1992. A gallery of designs from the studio's four resident artists can be found online as well as bio and photos from the guest artist. The shop also sells unique jewelry, accessories, books, clothing, and homewares collected both locally and from around the world. Walk-ins are welcome seven days a week, but clients must be 18 years-old or above, and student/school IDs will not be accepted.

San Francisco, CA(415) 431-2218

Website

Mermaids Tattoo Studio & Gallery

Mermaids Tattoo Studio & Gallery is a woman-owned, all-girl tattoo shop in San Francisco. The studio is known for its clean and friendly environment and for exhibiting the artwork of new as well as already-known visual artists. Owner Anne Williams has been tattooing since 1998 and apprenticed with legendary Erno’s Tattoo. Her work is sought after by bankers to neighbors for its beautiful use of color and precision, and Anne has been featured in 7x7.

San Francisco, CA(415) 550-1400

Website

Micah Riot Tattoo

Micah Riot Tattoo offers tattooing services to residents throughout San Francisco. Potential clients need to email Micah with answers to a series of questions found online and will then have to come in for a consultation. During the tattooing, clients are recommended to bring various items for their comfort. Micah is normally booked three months out, and deposits are required.

San Francisco, CA(415) 570-9540

Website

Mission Ink Tattoo & Piercing Studio

Mission Ink Tattoo & Piercing Studio is located in San Francisco and offers tattoos as well as body piercing services. The studio is known for being clean, professional, and friendly, and potential clients can view artist bios and a gallery of past design work online. Aftercare instructions as well as minor piercing rules can be found on the studio's site as well.

San Francisco, CA(415) 400-5785

Website

Mom's Body Shop

Mom's Body Shop is located in San Francisco and has been serving the Haight Ashbury district with tattoo designs for 18 years. The studio is licensed by the Health Department, and artists can ink a variety of styles including traditional, Japanese, tribal, Celtic, new school, black and gray, and full color. Piercing services, body jewelry, and tooth gems are also available, and walk-ins are welcome.

San Francisco, CA(415) 864-6667

Website

One Shot Tattoo

One Shot Tattoo has been offering tattoo artwork in the San Francisco area for 13 years. The shop is frequented by locals as well as out-of-towners, appointments are required, and deposits will be requested for any artwork drawn or appointments made. One Shot is open seven days a week and offers various styles via its seven resident artists.

San Francisco, CA(415) 731-7468

Website

Picture Machine Tattoo

Picture Machine Tattoo is a famous San Francisco tattoo studio with a history dating back to its founding in 1976 by Pat Martynuik. The store has been home to some of tattooing's biggest names and today employs four resident artists whose work and bios are shown on the studio's site. Picture Machine is open seven days a week, and all artists can be contacted directly.

San Francisco, CA(415) 668-7377

Website

Royalty Tattoo Collective

Royalty Tattoo Collective is the only tattoo studio in downtown Burlingame. Clients come to the shop for its customer service, quality, and safety. The studio only utilizes single-use needles and is licensed through the San Mateo County Health Department. A private room is available for tattooing, and clients can come in seven days a week. Royalty Tattoo designers are influenced by low-brow art, music, graffiti, skateboards, motorcycles, and kawaii culture.

Burlingame, CA(650) 393-5217

Website

Seventh Son Tattoo

Seventh Son Tattoo provides tattoo artwork to the San Francisco community. Each artist has a gallery online, and the shop asks potential clients to look through them in order to pick the right tattooer to work with. Consultations are necessary, and payments are made in cash. Laser tattoo removal is also available, and the studio's work has been featured on an American Apparel t-shirt and in Tattoo Magazine.

San Francisco, CA(415) 551-7766

Website

Shannon Archuleta Tattoo

Shannon Archuleta Tattoo is a San Francisco tattoo studio. Artist Shannon is especially known for custom designs and large tattoos but also does smaller pieces. Clients must not wear any perfume or cologne, must refrain from drug and alcohol use, and need to restrict friends who come along due to the small size of the shop. A full gallery of designs as well as aftercare instructions can be found on the studio's site.

San Francisco, CA(415) 336-9406

Website

Skull & Sword

Skull & Sword is a San Francisco tattoo shop. Potential clients can visit the studio's website to see completed designs by the shop's four in-house artists, and guest tattooers also make their way to the studio on a regular basis. Resident artist Grime has authored two books on his life and his art, Two Year Autopsy and Iron Will, and was also invited to tattoo a fake leg displayed at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

San Francisco, CA(415) 552-4297

Website

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