Tattooing has been a form of expression since the Stone Age, but did you know that tattoos were taboo in South Carolina until 2004? Since the ban was lifted a little over a decade ago, an impressive number of artists have opened up shop all over the Palmetto State. With over 100 parlours to choose from, deciding where to go might be just as hard as deciding what to get.
Pro tip: check out one of these fine establishments; and caution against getting someone’s name, unless it’s your mom.
- Main Street Tattoo, Greenville and Maudlin
If you’re in the upstate area and looking for the best, look no further. Main Street Tattoo was voted 2018’s Best Tattoo Shop in the Upstate. Their specialities include color bomb, black and grey, portraits, neo traditional, traditional and cover ups. You can also check out their website for artist portfolios to see whose creativity best fits your needs.
- Purple Lotus, Columbia
Not only does this shop bring your stories to life in the form of body art, it has a story of its own. Purple Lotus in owned and operated by Shavon, who established the shop in Tokyo, Japan in 1992 and moved it to Columbia in 2005. She was the first licensed tattoo artist in South Carolina and was instrumental in its legalization. Keep in mind that Purple Lotus is only open Thursday through Sunday and was deemed a “place you can take your Grandmother to get tattooed,” so bad attitudes aren’t allowed through the door.
- Blu Gorilla, Charleston
Charleston’s first tattoo parlour and Charleston City Paper’s Best of Charleston winner 8 years strong, Blu Gorilla has every reason to claim its title as one of the premier shops in the state. The sterile environment compliments the talent and friendliness of the staff. Blu Gorilla is fully licensed, inspected and approved by the DHEC.
- Elite Ink, Myrtle Beach
South Carolina’s oldest tattoo parlour, Elite Ink provides its clients with a luxurious tattoo experience with their eight-room studio, complete with private rooms, massage chairs and complimentary coffee, water, and wifi. Their masterful artists ensure comfort and safety before, during and after. Schedule an appointment or walk in seven days a week to see why they’ve been voted Best of the Beach time and time again.
5. Imperial Ink, Florence
If the stellar reviews aren’t enough to convince you, the artists’ work speaks for itself. Imperial Ink was one of the first spots for South Carolinians to get tatted and it won’t be the last. The staff ensure quality and cleanliness as they bring your memories to life with their meaningful handiwork.