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Best Tattoo Shops in San Francisco, California, United States

Best Tattoo Shops in San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, or the “Golden City,” is known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and liberal-minded community, accepting and promoting all forms of art and self-expression. 

Influential tattoo artists like Ed Hardy sensed the potential of starting a tattoo culture in San Francisco, opening the first custom-only tattoo shop known as Realistic Tattoo in 1974. Ed Hardy’s establishment proved that tattoos were not only for hippies, outcasts, motorcycle enthusiasts, and rebels. His custom tattoo designs made it easier for everyone to accept tattoos, helping tattoos become a part of San Francisco’s mainstream culture.

Related: 15 Amazing Motorcycle Tattoo Ideas for Men - Get the Badass Biker Look

The positive response of San Francisco’s residents led to an increase in tattoo shops in San Francisco, increasing the number of tattoo styles offered.

Today, San Francisco has become a center of state-of-the-art tattoo studios and top-rated tattoo artists. People from across the United States flock to San Francisco to get unique tattoos.

If you are also planning to get a tattoo in the “Golden Gate City,” Viking Bags has provided a list of San Francisco's best tattoo shops based on their reputation, licensing and qualification, customer satisfaction, and different tattoo styles.

Related: 10 Best Tattoo Shops & Parlors in America

1. Red Kestrel Tattoo

Red Kestrel Tattoo

Photo Credit: @authentictattoo

Formerly known as Authentic Tattoo, Red Kestrel Tattoo Shop was established in 2008 before being re-named in 2022. Red Kestrel is a private tattoo studio that provides an enjoyable tattooing experience.

The owner and main artist, Tex Buss, has been tattooing for 20 years, becoming famous for creating unique tattoo designs for each client. Over the years, Buss’s establishment has expanded in San Francisco, becoming one of the best tattoo studios that caters to the needs of tattoo enthusiasts.

Currently, Red Kestrel is run by Tex Buss and a junior tattoo artist, Claire Evans. Both artists excel in applying illustrative and figurative tattoos. Red Kestrel is an appointment-only tattoo shop, so book your spot as soon as possible.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 5⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4.1⭐
Red Kestrel Tattoo Shop
Call 415.821.9622
Address 1509 Church Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Sunday-Thursday: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Monday-Wednesday: Appointment Only
Official Website TEXTATTOO
Instagram ID AUTHENTIC TATTOO
Facebook ID AUTHENTIC-TATTOO-TEX-TATTOO
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoo style, design, and size
Shop Minimum Will be disclosed at the time of appointment
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Walk-Ins Not Accepted
By Appointment Only
Tattoo Styles Realism
Portraits
Custom Tattoos
Traditional
Black & Gray
Colored Tattoos
Other Services None

2. Black Serum Tattoo Shop

Black Serum Tattoo Shop

Photo Credit: @Black Serum

Are you looking for a cruelty-free tattoo shop? Black Serum Tattoo Shop uses cruelty-free vegan ink, equipment, and tattooing techniques.

Black Serum Tattoo Shop has new and unique tattoo styles that you will not find anywhere else. Besides common tattoo styles like Japanese, portraits, and black and gray realism, Black Serum Tattoo Shop also offers manga, oriental, free hand, hand-poke, woodcut, oriental, macabre surrealism, and hyper-realism tattoo styles.

The tattoo artists at Black Serum Tattoo Shop work on different subjects, including mammals, botanicals, insects, frogs, fruits, and humans.

The owner, Brucius, is an expert in the black and gray style and has earned many awards. His most notable achievement is winning first prize at the 2015 Biennale International Tattoo Convention.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 5⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4⭐
Black Serum Tattoo Shop
Call 415.909.9437
Address 310 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Everyday: 11 a.m - 7 p.m.
Official Website BLACKSERUM
Instagram ID BLKSERUM
Facebook ID BLK SERUM
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoo artist, style and design
Shop Minimum Will be disclosed at the time of appointment
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Credit Cards
Walk-Ins Not Accepted
By Appointment Only
Tattoo Styles Black Fine Lines
Custom Lines
Custom Tattoos
Oriental Tattoos
Japanese
Free Hand Tattoos
Colored Tattoos
Macabre Surrealism
MangaTattoos
Black Patterns
Micro Tattoos
Lettering
Hyper-Realism
Botanical Tattoos
Mammals Portraits
Illustrative
Handpoke
Wood-cut Style
Geometry
Anime
Other Services None

3. Eye of the Tiger Tattoo Shop

Eye of the Tiger Tattoo Shop

Photo Credit: @Eye of the Tiger Tattoo

Founded in 2013, Eye of the Tiger Tattoo Shop was founded by Salem, a renowned tattoo artist with more than 25 years of experience in body art.

Salem and three tattoo artists, named Marco, Dustin, and John, have been providing world-class tattoo services to San Francisco residents. The team specializes in Japanese traditional, script, fine lines, black and gray realism, and custom tattoos.

Eye of the Tiger Tattoo Shop accepts walk-ins but only accepts cash payments. Make sure you stop by an ATM machine before dropping by for a tattoo.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.5⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4.6⭐
Eye of the Tiger Tattoo Shop
Call 415.753.9648
415.521.2474 (Text)
Address 1309 20th Avenue, San Francisco, California
Hours Everyday: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Official Website EYEOFTHETIGERTATTOO
Instagram ID SALEMTATTOOS
Facebook ID EYEOFTHETIGERTATTOO
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depend on tattoo artist and tattoo design
Shop Minimum $100
$250 per hour
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Walk-Ins Accepted
Appointments Preferred
Tattoo Styles Custom Tattoos
Script
Fine Line Tattoos
Realism
Portraits
Black & Gray
Japanese
Other Services None

4. Old Crow Tattoo

Old Crow Tattoo

Photo Credit: @Old Crow Tattoo

Founded by Hannah Wolf, Old Crow Tattoo Shop has been catering to tattoo enthusiasts in Oakland since 2020. Old Crow Tattoo is located about 12.7 miles from San Francisco. You only need to travel for fifteen minutes on Interstate 80 before you arrive at the tattoo studio.

Wolf is an accomplished tattoo artist who has been applying beautiful tattoos for about 19 years. She wrote about tattooing techniques in her book, The Science of Tattooing. If you are getting a tattoo for the first time, you can buy Wolf’s book from Amazon and learn about all you need to know about tattoos.

Currently, six resident and three guest tattoo artists are available at Old Crow Tattoo Shop. Each artist has a distinct area of expertise, including dark themes, bold colors, fine lines, and blacked-out, ornamental, and hand-poke designs.

If you are looking for a well-equipped tattoo studio with high-quality designs, then make sure to visit Old Crow Tattoo Shop. Though a friendly establishment, Old Crow does not welcome any walk-ins. Don't forget to book your appointment before paying the shop a visit.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.7⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 4.5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4.6⭐
Old Crow Tattoo Shop
Call 510.834.2769
Address 5251 Broadway, Oakland, California
(12.7 miles from San Francisco)
Hours Everyday: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Official Website OLDCROWTATTOO
Instagram ID OLDCROWTATTOO
Facebook ID OLDCROWTATTOOSHOP
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoo artist and design
Shop Minimum $100
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Walk-Ins Not Accepted
Appointment Only
Tattoo Styles Botanical Tattoos
Custom Tattoos
Fine Lines
Black
Black-Out
Geometric
Neo-Traditional
Bold Colors
Handpoke
Ornamental
Lettering
Realism
Dark Themes
Anime
Illustrative
Mandala
Other Services None

5. Street Dreams Tattoo

Street Dreams Tattoo

Photo Credit: @Street Dreams Tattoo Studio

Mike Triggz and Anthony Ramos are the proud owners of the Street Dreams Tattoo Shop. This tattoo shop is famous for surreal tattoos, cover-ups, and custom designs.

Street Dreams Tattoo Shop has two more resident tattoo artists: Ramon Reyes and Jose Lecue. Both artists specialize in contemporary tattoo styles and techniques. Their best works are dark themes, traditional, black and gray portraits, and realism tattoos.

Street Dreams Tattoo Shop accepts walk-ins, but they are subject to artist availability. If you want to be attended by a specific tattoo artist, it is recommended you book your spot by making an appointment.

Even if you are not getting a tattoo from Street Dreams Tattoo Shop, you should visit their website to learn about comprehensive tattoo aftercare.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.9⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
Street Dreams Tattoo Shop
Call 415.825.5318
Address 1796 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco, California
Hours Monday-Saturday:12 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday: Closed
Official Website STREETDREAMSTATTOO
Instagram ID STREETDREAMSTATTOO
Facebook ID STREETDREAMSSF
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depend on tattoo design, style, size, and artist
Shop Minimum Will be disclosed at the time of appointment
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Walk-Ins Accepted
Appointments Preferred
Tattoo Styles Portraits
Black & Gray
Realism
Script
Traditional
Colored Tattoos
Custom Tattoos
Dark Themes
Surrealism
Cover-Ups
Other Services None

6. One Shot Tattoo

One Shot Tattoo

Photo Credit: @One Shot Tattoo San Francisco

Established in 2003 by Dave Bobrick, One Shot Studio is a modern tattoo studio equipped with advanced tattoo amenities. One Shot Studio’s tattoo artists are the reason for the tattoo shop’s stellar repute.

One Shot Tattoo Shop is a fun place where you can meet some of San Francisco's elite tattoo artists.

At One Shot Tattoo Shop you can get custom tattoos from Rhianna Helfman depicting mythological characters, monsters, fruits, bones, animals, and flowers. Helfman is also immensely skilled in scar cover-up tattoos.

Other tattoo artists are skilled in neo-traditional, organic and geometric patterns, fantastical figures, black tattoos, and surrealist tattoos.

All of One Shot Tattoo Shop’s tattoo artists are careful to avoid cross-contamination by using sterilization techniques to kill bloodborne pathogens. They also are qualified to apply CPR in case of an emergency.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.8⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 4.5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4.6⭐
One Shot Tattoo Shop
Call 415.731.7468
Address 555 Irving Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Everyday: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Official Website ONESHOTTATTOO
Instagram ID ONE SHOT TATTOO
Facebook ID ONESHOTTATTOOSF
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoo artist and tattoo design
Shop Minimum $150
$300 per hour
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Credit Cards
Walk-Ins Accepted
Appointments Preferred
Tattoo Styles Realism
Surrealism
Geometric Patterns
Fantasy 
Organic Textures
Custom Tattoos
Black & Gray
Cover-Ups
Black
Neo-Traditional
Japanese
Other Services None

7. Moth & Dagger Tattoo Studio

Moth & Dagger Tattoo Studio

Photo Credit: @mothanddagger

Since 2009, Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio has been a leading tattoo shop in San Francisco. The tattoo studio has a team of four tattoo artists who work closely with clients to create tattoos that have individuality, depth, and character.

The senior tattoo artist, Mario Delgado, has a portfolio showing off his cover-ups, portraits, realism, and illustrative tattoos. Rigers Hamza’s portfolio includes gothic tattoos and medieval themes. Sheena Wood and April Delgado are best known for their illustrative tattoo flash art and pre-drawn custom tattoos.

If you don’t like your tattoo and want a fresh one over the same spot, then you make use of Moth & Dagger Tattoo Studio’s permanent tattoo removal services

Moth and Dagger is also an appointment-only tattoo shop. Before you book your appointment, check out the portfolios of each tattoo artist to see which one specializes in the style you want.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.9⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4.6⭐
Moth & Dagger Tattoo Shop
Call 415.834.5127
Address 610 Bush Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Tuesday-Saturday: 1 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Sunday-Monday: Closed
Official Website MOTHANDDAGGERTATTOO
Instagram ID MOTHANDDAGGER
Facebook ID MOTHANDDAGGER
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoo size, placement, style, and design
Shop Minimum $200
$300 per hour
Deposit Required
$200
Non-Refundable
Payment Method Cash
Walk-Ins Not Accepted
Appointment Only
Tattoo Styles Neo-Traditional
Black & Gray
Gothic Tattoos
Realism
Colored Tattoos
Medieval & Victorian Themes
Colored Tattoos
Custom Tattoos
Other Services Laser Tattoo Removal

8. Let It Bleed Tattoo

Let It Bleed Tattoo

Photo Credit: @Let It Bleed Tattoo SF

Let It Bleed Tattoo Shop is one of the few studios that accommodate walk-ins. Providing high-quality tattoos to clients, this tattoo shop has six resident artists and one guest tattoo artist. The tattoo artists at Let It Bleed Tattoo Shop specialize in various tattoo styles, including floral, tribal, and caricature tattoos. For reference, check out each tattoo artist’s portfolio to get a preview of their art and skill levels.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.8⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 4.5⭐
  • Facebook Rating: 4.6⭐
Let It Bleed Tattoo Shop
Call 415.932.6215
Address 1124 Polk Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Everyday: 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Official Website LETITBLEEDTATTOO
Instagram ID LETITBLEEDSF
Facebook ID LETITBLEEDTATTOO
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoos and artists
Shop Minimum $80
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Credit Cards
Apple Pay
Walk-Ins Accepted
Appointments Recommended
Tattoo Styles Cover-Ups
Colored Tattoos
Black & Gray
Traditional
Floral
Tribal
Cartoons
Other Services None

9. Golden Star Tattoo Company

Golden Star Tattoo Company

Photo Credit: @goldenstartattoocompany

Established in 2018, Golden Star Tattoo Company has a team of creative tattoo artists who specialize in Asian artistic concepts, Chinese-style tattoos, and custom tattoos.

Walk-ins are accepted at Golden Star Company. You can also request multiple consultations to get the best possible design for your tattoo. All the tattoos are applied in hygienic conditions, with the artists using sterile, single-use needles and ink.

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 5⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
Golden Star Tattoo Shop
Call 415.872.9242
Address 850 Clay Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Tuesday-Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Monday: Closed
Official Website GOLDENSTARTATTOOSF
Instagram ID GOLDENSTARTATTOOCOMPANY
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on tattoo artist
Shop Minimum $200
$200-$300 per hour
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Walk-Ins Not Accepted
Appointment Only
Tattoo Styles Japanese
Black & Gray
Realism
Traditional
Colored Tattoos
Custom Tattoos
Asian
Other Services None

10. Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City

Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City

Photo Credit: @tattoo_city

Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City is an appointment-only tattoo studio with a team of four active tattoo artists. They specialize in black and gray realism, American traditional, Japanese, and custom tattoos. The owner, Don Ed Hardy, is no longer an active tattoo artist and has shifted his focus to printmaking, painting for art galleries, and publishing books on alternate art forms.

All of the tattoo artists at Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City only accept appointments. If you are visiting San Francisco, make sure to book your appointment ahead of time. 

Ratings

  • Google Rating: 4.7⭐
  • Yelp Rating: 5⭐
Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City 
Call 415.345.9437
Address 700 Lombard Street, San Francisco, California
Hours Everyday: 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Official Website TATTOOCITYSF
Instagram ID TATTOO CITY
Tattoo Costs/Rates Depends on artist and tattoo design
Shop Minimum Will be disclosed at the time of appointment
Deposit Required
Payment Method Cash
Credit Cards
Walk-Ins Not Accepted
Appointment Only
Tattoo Styles Black & Gray Realism
Cartoons
Custom Tattoos 
Traditional
Japanese
Vintage Imagery
American Traditional
Other Services None

2. Takeaway

San Francisco, California is one of the biggest art centers in America. But unlike other cities, San Francisco's art is not confined to museums and art galleries. People in San Francisco love to show off their tattoos, expressing their artistic freedom.

To meet the growing demand for tattoos, San Francisco has a large number of tattoo shops. These shops are famous for their skilled artists, special tattooing techniques, aftercare instructions, and relaxing settings.

Hopefully this guide will help you find the best tattoo shop in San Francisco that provides the stylish tattoo design you want.

Related: Best Tattoo Shops in Los Angeles, California

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