5 Local Tattoo Shops That Are Anything But Scary

With celebs like Rihanna and Kelly Osbourne leading the charge, tattoos are becoming increasingly popular in the world of high fashion. But, the prospect of getting inked can be downright daunting (hello, permanence!), so we've got the scoop on the best talent the Windy City has to offer — straight from local gals who went under the needle themselves. Ready to commit?
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Name: Agga B
Occupation: Designer, AGGA B.
Tattoo Artist: Nick Colella, Chicago Tattooing & Piercing Co.
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Chicago Tattoo & Piercing Co.

Hailed as the city’s first and oldest tattoo studio, Chicago Tattooing & Piercing Co. is a venerable body-art staple. Opened in the mid-1960s as Cliff Raven Tattooing by artist Cliff Raven, the shop has undergone a few moniker, owner, and locale changes throughout the years, but it still maintains its original basic principles of safe and high-quality tattooing. Current owner Dale Grande learned the tricks of the trade from Raven himself and has been creating his own ink works at the shop for more than three decades. Talk about a seasoned professional!

Chicago Tattoo & Piercing Co., 1017 West Belmont Avenue (at Sheffield Avenue); 773-528-6969.
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"I got my first tattoo at Chicago Tattooing Company about seven years ago at their original location," says Agga B. "I docked this big ship on the back of my arm. Nick made it look so good that some people believed a story that this is the boat that brought me here from Poland! This is the oldest tattoo shop in town, and in my opinion, Chicago should be proud of it!”
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Name: Tiffany Trezzo
Occupation: National artistry trainer for Calvin Klein Cosmetics
Tattoo Artist: Jake Kearney, Metamorph Tattoo Studios
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Metamorph Tattoo Studios

Metamorph wasn’t the most cited parlor on our list for nothing! This quirky-cool space in Wicker Park fits right in with the rest of the ‘hood with its artsy and eclectic atmosphere, and one artist in particular seems to have won the hearts of tattooed ladies the city over: Jake Kearney’s name came up multiple times for his attention to detail and his super-soft touch. Hey, if we’re braving needles, we want some finesse!

Metamorph Tattoo Studios, 1456 North Milwaukee Avenue (near Honore Street); 773-384-9788.
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“When something happens in my life, the memory becomes immortalized on my skin," says Trezzo. "Jake has the lightest and fastest hand and perfect precision.”
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Name: Kirsten Miccoli
Occupation: Owner/photographer, Kirsten Miccoli Photography
Tattoo Artist: Jaime Navarro, Code of Conduct
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Code of Conduct Tattoo & Clothing

This South Loop tattoo shop and boutique offers more than just body art. You’ll find everything from clothing to art to like-minded individuals shooting the breeze. You might even find a celebrity or two: David Arquette and Hayden Panettiere have both been branded with Code of Conduct’s work, and Conan O’Brien has even endorsed the shop on his show. Come for some clothes; leave with some ink? You only live once!

Code of Conduct, 14 East 11th Street (between South Holden Court and State Street); 312-929-2073.
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“Jaime is amazing, and I highly recommend him,” Miccoli testifies.
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Name: Kali Saari
Occupation: Hairstylist, Salon 1800
Tattoo Artist: Rodney Taylor, guest artist for Speakeasy Custom Tattoo
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Speakeasy Custom Tattoo

As you might have guessed from the name, these guys and gals specialize in custom tattoos — unique, original works of art. If you’ve got an amazing idea but don’t have the chops to draw it yourself, this is your spot. Speakeasy will work with you every step of the way to bring your concept to life. Its open and airy space makes it more akin to a cool loft than a tattoo shop, and out-of-town guest artists add to the parlor’s already impressive lineup of ink gurus. One word of advice? Make your appointments well in advance — most artists are booked for up to three months.

Speakeasy Custom Tattoo, 1935 West North Avenue (at Winchester Avenue); 773-645-1703.
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“All the tattoo artists are creative, extremely talented, and can make your ideas come to life," says Saari. "Speakeasy is amazing at creating a custom tattoo for each individual. No clip art on the wall. No flash. Just amazing, talented artists.”
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Name: Nicole Pritzker
Occupation: Jewelry designer, In Reverie
Tattoo Artist: Tim Bierdron, Pioneer Tattoo
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Pioneer Tattoo Studio

You won’t find ear-deafening rock music playing in the background here — think more along the lines of Bon Iver and Iron & Wine. With mostly natural wood decor and minimal noise machines, patron Nicole Pritzker described this ink haven as more of a “tattoo spa.” Sounds like our kind of place!

Pioneer Tattoo Studio, 3513 North Lincoln Avenue (near Cornelia Avenue); 773-883-8807.
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"I like this shop because it is quiet and by appointment only," says Pritzker. "The soft music and Earth tones create a relaxing environment in a place not usually associated with relaxation. I almost fall asleep every time!"
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