Dear PoP – Where’s The Best Tattoo Parlor in DC?

DSCN1826, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“I have a question for the masses… where is the best tattoo studio in the greater DC area? You feature the tattoo of the week on occasion and there are a few in my circle considering new body art, we are ill-reputed transplants as a byproduct of being in the military, so we do not know the reputation of places in the area. Cost and location are not huge issues, we’d venture out to the ‘burbs if necessary. Of concern are cleanliness, reputation and good artists.”

Let me just say the tattoo of the week will resume as soon as the weather gets warmer! But also I know there are lots of folks on here who have strong opinions about tattoos. So for those who aren’t fans please skip this post. But for those out there who are fans and/or have visited a good reputable artist in the city please leave your suggestions in the comments.

29 Comment

  • Okay folks. I’ve been all over the block with tattoo studios, and I have the ultimate DC area recommendation:

    Go to Ms. Dee at Great Southern Tattoo Company, either in College Park or the Alexandria area. She (and her husband Mike… also fantastic, but I prefer Dee) owned and ran their own studio, Metro Ink, until last year. Dee’s parents are the owners of Great Southern.

    She’s fantastic. She fixed my bum old tattoo, and hand-drew me a full Deco cuff that came out to be simply amazing. It can be hard to pin her down, so you’ll need to make an appointment about 6 months beforehand, and you’ll likely need to do a pre-appointment visit.

    (In my experience… don’t go to Ambrotose in Silver Spring. They used to be a good clan, but in recent years they’ve lost many good artists, and now the kids running the place are the classic jerk hipsters who make you feel like an ass for inquiring about a tattoo.)

  • I just got some small work done at Jinx Proof in Georgetown. I went in on a whim during a week night and the place was pretty empty. I got to talk to the guy up front about what I wanted done, he gave me some good suggestions based on what he knows ink and skin do over time and then I talked to the tattoo artist who was very friendly and did a great job. I had my first tattoo touched up and then some additional work done to it as well-was very happy with the outcome of both. Healed up very nicely and pretty fast! The place looked clean and I was in and out pretty quickly. Like I said, the tattoo work I had done was pretty small and not really intricate or complicated so I don’t know how good they are in that sense but I would go back and I would recommend them to someone looking for a place in the area to go.

  • Rick’s in Arlington on Lee Highway. I got mine there and several friends have gone there too. Big fan.

  • I went to Fattys in Dupont to get my nose pierced and liked it. I’ve heard they’re good with tattoos as well.

  • I had a decent size piece done on my back at Bethesda Tattoo by Hansi Jessup in late 2005. From what I know, Hansi has hung up her tattoo shoes, which is really sad…she did a fantastic piece…Her husband is at Fatty’s and his work is top notch as well.

  • James at Bethesda Tattoo Company is absolutely phenomenal. He worked with me on a very complex piece that covers my entire left shoulder and a small part of my chest. He’s very passionate about his art, cares about his employees, and is a fascinating guy in general. This last part is essential for any artist, especially if you plan on spending a significant amount of time in their chair.

    Maybe PoP should consider a “Meet Your Local Tattoo Artist” feature.

  • saf

    Have you looked at British Ink, on H Street NE? I’ve been impressed by everything I’ve seen out of there.

  • Has anyone tried Bethesda Tattoo? I had a friend try and it and she said they do good work there, but I’d like to get some other opinions.

    Also, browse through the high-res photos… looks like they can do some quality work there:

  • My man has gotten two done at Fatty’s on Connecticut near Dupont and both turned out great!

  • I got my tattoo done at Fatty’s. I felt like it was a bit overpriced, and my tattoo came out differently than what I would have wanted. Its still cool, just different from my original design. Thumbs down to Fatty’s!

  • River City Tattoo or Salvation Gallery in RIchmond.

  • I met Paul and Cynthia from Britishink through work – didn’t get any work done by them, but they’re amazing and talented. Haven’t seen the studio, though. I got mine at Jinx Proof, I think Tim did it, very reputable space even if it’s in Georgetown.

  • I’ve gotten two some what intricate/complicated tattoos on my back at Curious Tattoos in College Park. Both are by John. I think he did an amazing job. It was a super clean environment, pretty relaxing, and a most enjoyable experience. Plus all the guys that work there are really friendly. Back when I use to live in CP they would stop me on the street and ask how my tattoos were doing and check them to see if they needed to be touched up. I think that’s pretty good service if you ask me.
    They also are reasonably priced.

  • Vonstallin

    I’ve been trying to find an Artist who can work with Dark skin. I’ve seen too many tattos come out looking like Mud. I met this one Artist at Black Dragon on 7896 GEORGIA AVE Silver Spring MD, back in the 90’s.

    She work at a few spots and left BD and I couldnt find her. She works with alot of dark skin and her clients tats look very good.

  • I’ve seen work from British Ink that i thought was amazing, but could never get them to respond to the half dozen emails and voicemails i left them, so i thought they were out of business. maybe they get so much walk-in work they don’t need to communicate with people, but it kinda pissed me off that they just ignored me (i even sent photos of the design i wanted done attached to the emails).

    Fatty does good work as well, but he’s usually booked a couple of months ahead, and you have to pay up front for an appointment for custom work.

    I wouldn’t go to Rick’s; i took a Celtic design there a few years and the artist told me he could only do it if i blew it up twice the size, because otherwise he couldn’t do the detail. i got it done elsewhere (in NC) at the size i wanted, and it turned out beautiful.

    i’ve heard and seen too many bad things about Jinxproof to consider them.

  • The tattoo in the picture is my friend’s and it was done by Imani at Pinz n’ Needlez on U St. It’s a really great piece and I love how wispy and light it looks. I have a sketch for my next one, and after seeing this one, I’m definitely planning to have it done by the same woman.

  • Vonstallin

    Nichole Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 12:14 pm
    The tattoo in the picture is my friend’s and it was done by Imani at Pinz n’ Needlez on U St.


    I’m glad you posted that.
    I saw the flyer they sent out durring there grand opening.

    This is where I was seriously considering going to (still am)

  • “…very reputable space even if it’s in Georgetown.” lol, you people are too much.

  • I had a bad experience at Pinz N Needlez, they called the cops on me as I waited outside for them to open. I was a little early, did the cops need to be called? seriously? The artists, owner, and hangers on were all rude to me even after the incident with the cops was cleared up.

    I took my business to Jinx Proof where they are friendly and knowledgeable. I love the ink I got at Jinx. I will got back for more and take my friends.

    I will avoid Pinz N Needlez like the plague and tell every one I meet how awful they are.

  • I LOVE Cynthia from BritishInk… I’ve gotten a touch-up from her on another artist’s work and one original piece and several of my friends have gotten pieces from her as well. I haven’t had any trouble with her writing back or returning calls, but who knows, that could just be my experience. I’m planning on getting several more pieces from her as time goes on.

  • As the original requester of this info, I want to thank you all very much for your input! The entire PoP community rocks!

  • Vonstallin

    NOLA Says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 1:26 pm
    I had a bad experience at Pinz N Needlez,

    What happend?
    did they get nervous just because you showed up early? I know it couldn’t have been too early.

    Well I might draw out my pictures and check a few of them out. Jinx Proof Have to be DC’s oldest standing Tatto shop. (within DC itself). I wanted to go to them every since I happend uppon them in the mid 90’s….

  • yay! My hairy dandelion neck on PoP again…and clothing tag…jeez can’t photoshop that out 🙂 !

    NOLA – sorry you had a bad experiece at Pinz N Needlez…but they were really great when I went in there. And for what they charged and how well it came out, it was totally worth it. I walked in there with a few pics from and they were able to piece together a great tattoo for me. They are number one on my list to go to for my next one!

    I’ve heard great things about all the ones mentioned JinxProof, Fatty’s, Rick’s. I’ve known several people who have gotten tattoos done at one or all of them. Great work all around. I think one of the most helpful things to do is just go and check out the places before you decide. Get a feel to see which artists tattoo in the style that you are looking for.

  • Jinx is the best place, with Fatty’s a close second. All of Jinx’s artists are phenomenal. There are good artists at Bethesda Tattoo, but avoid booking with Rachel as she flaked on me three times, my friend twice and another friend one time. It’s unfortunate because she does amazing work, but for some reason she is an absolute flake.

    I will be sending my DC related tattoo that I got at Jinx shortly…

  • Pinz & Needles is kewl. Chris and Imani have done some of my tatts…the staff keeps the conversation and music interesting

  • TATTOO PARADISE located in Adams Morgan! best shop hands down in DC!

  • Bethesda Tattoo is conveniently located right outside the Bethesda REDLINE Metro Stop and Bethesda Tattoo got voted “Best in DC” by last years City Paper Readers Poll. You can read up on them at as well. They do excellent body piercing too.

  • Curious Tattoo inc has some good artist and there very friendly. If you want the best service talk to Stray. Got myself a tribal dragon somewhat intricate and it came out awesome

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