The “Big Apple” might be as hectic as an ant farm, but it’s jam-packed, fast-paced environment lends to the massive creative output of the storied tattoo city. Thom deVita helped revolutionize east coast tattooing, but modern New York tattoo shops and tattoo artists have continued to thrive and pave the way for innovative tattooing. Other than California, the New York tattoo scene is arguably one of the largest in the world, aiming to satisfy the demand of enthusiasts wanting only the best tattoos from the best tattoo artists.
Below you’ll find a short list of New York tattoo shops that we consider to be in a league of their own. To list all of New York’s best tattoo shops would take ages, but hopefully these few will open your eyes to the wide array of extreme tattoo talent on the east coast.
1. Paul Booth’s Last Rites Tattoo Theatre: 511 W 33rd St, New York City , New York
If you love tattoos and love dark art, then you should have a pretty good idea of who Paul Booth is. Opened in 2008, Last Rites is a mysterious, ominous and eccentric haven for some of the best tattoo artists in New York, let alone the world. Booth seeks out a specific type of tattoo artist to join his elite tattoo theatre; Stefano Alcantara is a current resident tattoo artist at Last Rites, and in the past, big names like Oly Anger have made their way through the thought-provoking studio’s doors. Dark, twisted, horrific and abstract, Paul Booth’s Last Rites Tattoo Theatre is a premier destination for any and all dark art enthusiasts.
Artist Paul Booth
2. World Famous Tattoo Lou’s: Five locations throughout New York.
Established all the way back in 1958, Tattoo Lou’s is an award winning tattoo powerhouse, and voted best tattoo shop in New York on multiple occasions. With the experience and industry expertise, Tattoo Lou’s is known for a comprehensive tattoo service, having patented “Virtual Tattoo”, a program that allows the clientele to browse through a massive database of tattoo designs and flash that can be customized to their liking. Aside from being one of New York’s best tattoo shops, Tattoo Lous has branched out into widespread merchandizing and tattoo supplies with their own clothing line, aftercare products, inks and everything in between.
Artist Ray Alfano
3. Wooster St. Social Club: 43 Wooster St, New York City, New York
Internationally recognized from the popular TLC series “NY Ink”, Wooster St. Social Club is home to some of the tattoo industry’s biggest tattoo artists; Ami James (of Miami Ink fame), the award winning Tim Hendricks, and alt model/talented artist Megan Massacre among others. Specializing in first rate, high end, sophisticated tattoo work, Wooster St. truly stands out in the New York Tattoo scene. Located in the iconic Soho district, all of the tattoo artists at Wooster aim to foster a well rounded, creative environment, ensuring their clientele leaves with a true work of art. Multi-dimensional, Wooster often doubles as a custom art gallery which provides a rotating, dynamic backdrop, fostering the most creative environment in all of New York.
Artist Tim Hendricks
4. Tattoo Afterlife: 400 West Jericho Turnpike – Huntington, New York
Striving to bring industry leading innovation, top of the line tattoo work, and tattoo products that really work, Tattoo Afterlife believes in giving back to their tattoo peers and community. With Bili Vegas and Timmy B on board, Tattoo Afterlife is one of the most diverse and professional New York tattoo shops with wide range of tattoo styles, executed to precision. One of their most popular products, Redemption Aftercare, is an organic, petroleum based, chemical free aftercare lotion that helps prevent infection and soothes redness and swelling, has become an industry standard.
Artist Bili Vegas
5. White Rabbit Tattoo Studio: 121 Essex Street, New York City, New York
A calm alternative to the striking visuals offered by most New York tattoo shops, White Rabbit offers a clean and serene atmosphere that features exclusively vegan products and ink and requires their talented tattoo artists to have the same values and use the same supplies. Professional and elite, White Rabbit is one of the most respected New York tattoo shops for a reason; their diverse array of tattoo artists from all over the world run an ethical and welcoming business that keeps clients walking in, and superb tattoos walking out.
Artist Petra Hlavackova
If you are looking for some of the best tattoo work around, New York is the place to be. Check out these other New York tattoo shops and absorb the incredible eye candy by the worlds best tattoo artists.