PITTSBURGH (HOODLINE) — In search of a new favorite tattoo shop?
Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top tattoo spots around Pittsburgh, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to venture for everything from black-and-white portraits to Japanese-style tattoos.
1. Empire Tattoo
Topping the list is Empire Tattoo. Located at 230 Meyran Ave. in Oakland, it’s the highest-rated tattoo shop in Pittsburgh, boasting five stars out of 21 reviews on Yelp. It has three other locations, one in New Jersey and two in Massachusetts.
It offers tattoos, piercings and permanent cosmetics. The studio has four featured artists, who you can learn about here. You can also see its gallery here, including examples of black-and-white portraits, landscapes, pop art and more.
Yelp reviewer Meaza S. said, “These guys are great. Super professional, clean and prompt. Did I mention they have a good sense of humor? Would come back again for another piercing/tattoo!”
2. Gypsy Tattoo Parlor
Next up is Central Lawrenceville’s Gypsy Tattoo Parlor, situated at 4061 Penn Ave. With 4.5 stars out of 47 reviews on Yelp, the tattoo shop has proven to be a local favorite.
The tattoo parlor has four featured artists, plus an apprentice, whose work you can view here. Tattoo styles at the shop include American traditional, black and white, minimalist and more. According to its site, the shop prides itself on being an LGBT-friendly space.
Yelper Mary C. said, “Amazing. This is my second time working with Michelle, and I can’t praise her and her work more highly. She was empathetic, personable and, of course, extremely talented. She and I worked together to create my perfect design, and she executed it perfectly while making me feel comfortable and more like a friend than a client.”
3. Black Cat Tattoos
Lower Lawrenceville’s Black Cat Tattoos, located at 3419 Butler St., is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the tattoo spot five stars out of 16 reviews.
The shop features three artists, including the founding husband-and-wife duo, whose styles include Japanese, American traditional, portraits and more. The shop puts extra care into boldly applied tattoos that will stand up over the years.
Yelper Brendan K. wrote, “Came here for my first tattoo, and I could not be happier with the experience. Everyone was welcoming, which really helped put me at ease. I talked my ideas over with Matt, and gave him some space to exercise his creativity. He was able to come up with something gorgeous, far better than I could have imagined.”
Finally, over in Garfield, check out Artisan, which has earned 4.5 stars out of 28 reviews on Yelp. You can find the art gallery, cafe and tattoo spot at 5001 Penn Ave.
On the first floor, there’s a reception area, cafe, art gallery and boutique. The second floor is where the actual tattoo parlor is, which has five resident artists, plus occasional guest artists. Styles include biological, geometric, portraits, photo-realism, script and more. (Check out artist portfolios here.)
Erin W., who reviewed it on July 26, said, “This odd combo of tattoo parlor and coffee joint is a combo I didn’t know I needed, but I am so glad it exists. The vibe is super interesting as the cafe doubles as the tattoo reception, so on one hand you have someone working on their next novel while someone else is waiting to go under the needle.”