The Best Tattoo Parlours in Toronto
The best tattoo parlours in Toronto are varied. Different clienteles, histories, techniques et al. But they all have one thing in common -- they're well revered by Toronto's tattooed community, which is to say, well, just about everyone, including the suits. I have tattoos, you have tattoos, we all have tattoos. And with a glut of shops popping up just about everywhere in the city -- every two steps along Queen St. for damned sure -- it's a good idea to make sure you're getting ink from a shop that has a bit of a reputation for, say, quality. Let's stay away from that guy's basement apartment (read: scratcher shop).
Like everyone says, it's going to be on you for a long time (read: life). And although sometimes it's fun to strike when the inspiration is hot, most people (read: those that aren't inebriated) like to put some thought into their pieces. Reasonable enough.
Here's a list of Toronto's best tattoo parlours in Toronto.
These guys do it right. They hold onto the traditions of tattooing, are respectful, have a drop-dead gorgeous shop in Kensington, and, what do you know, do really freakin’ good tattoos. They take pride in working directly with the client on each piece. It also helps that Toronto’s legendary Bill Baker runs the place with Daniel Innes. In summation - it’s a solid shop. More »
One of the city’s best (and most hidden) tattoo shops. Built over the years on a solid word-of-mouth reputation, Passage simply does brilliant custom work. As custom tattoos are beginning to become the norm for a lot of customers, these guys will take what you want and give you the best possible version. And they’re all nice as hell. More »
Having only officially been around since 2008, David Glantz’s shop has built up quite the hype. Doing 100% original tattoos, Archive strives to have a connection with the client. They want to feel you out and what you’re into before putting tattoo machine to skin. And for a lot of people, that’s good peace of mind. No matter, the tattoos that come out of this place are pretty damn impressive. More »
With a handful of artists, Imperial Tattoo has someone for just about every style – realism, illustration, Japanese, traditional, colour, Celtic. Holed up in a clean, open-concept loft space at Ossington and Queen, Imperial also houses Ronan Gibney, considered to be one of the city’s top tattoo artists. That never hurts your reputation. More »
Most people, me included, just straight up like co-owners Matthew Ellis and George Brown. They’re nice dudes with antiquated style when it comes to decor. Carving out their own terrain all alone up at Yonge and Eg, Seven Crowns is known for their custom work. And like most of the city’s top tattoo shops, they are pretty much hidden. They are sought out because of their work, like a good shop should be. More »
Here’s Toronto’s classic street shop with all the history. Found in Etobicoke (yeah, seriously, far west end), this little shop in a mini-mall has had some of the city’s most acclaimed tattoo artist put in at least a stint at Tat-A-Rama. Most got their start here. That says a lot about the shop’s owner, Eugene, who has been at the helm for the past 18 years. More »
Here’s a street shop that gets it right. With people constantly coming and going and an open atmosphere between tattoo stations, TCB is built on community. Splashed with art and colours everywhere you look, these guys service everyone from businessmen to college kids to day labourers. And with six artists and an apprentice, TCB has a lot of capacity. More »
Albeit a relatively new shop, Speakeasy is drenched in tradition. It’s a classic-styled tattoo shop that holds onto the respect that comes with tattoo culture. Lizzie Renaud, the shop’s owner, has tattooed around the world, which translates into bringing what she’s learned and seen overseas to the shop. They also have a fluffly Pomeranian named Wilma if that counts for anything. More »
With a prime location downtown (across from MuchMusic), New Tribe has a steady passerby clientele always popping in. Doing it all – tattoos, piercings and even haircuts – New Tribe is known for always putting out a solid tattoo. This monster of a shop (it rings in at 4,000 sq. ft.) is built for the masses. You want to get a solid piercing or tat after seeing Katy Perry at Much? No problem. More »