If you’re already the type to think about getting inked, Fatty’s Custom Tattooz won’t faze you one bit. Hidden away on the second floor of a dusty building off Connecticut Avenue NW, this long-running tattoo parlor – which sits above a dry cleaning facility and tarot card reader – pulls few punches, but delivers great ink. Consistently considered one of the city’s top tattoo destination since it opened two decades ago, Fatty’s is actually a fairly friendly environment, staffed with knowledgeable artists who are willing to walk the nervous through every stop of the process. Much of the artwork by those same creative types can be found hanging on the walls, including psychedelic pieces by Fatty himself, who primarily handles large-scale custom tattoos. The shop does piercings as well.
Walls bedecked with vivid artwork make known the heart of Pride & Glory, an artist-formed tattoo and piercing studio, as dedicated to the history and tradition of tattooing as it is to the future of the form. The skilled staffers bring with them artistic backgrounds in painting, sculpting, and invisible-ink portraiture, and pair their well-practiced trades with an impressive stock of body jewelry and after-care products. Free consultations encourage guests to thoughtfully plan their ink, and hundreds of flash-art designs cater to patrons in search of inspiration.
The Studio at Painful Pleasures isn’t your standard piercing parlor. The 5,000-square-foot showroom has five fully furnished studios, each with their own TV and comfortable TatSoul chairs, as well as an educational center where they hold classes on piercing techniques. Hyperrealistic, ethereal, and vibrantly colored artwork designed by the in-house artists covers the walls—a testament to the detailed work they do. The team is also complemented by two resident tattoo-removal specialists who have mastered the art of buffing off unwanted images, such as the tally marks on your arm that remind you how old you are.
Zapatat's team of doctors and licensed aestheticians employs laser technology to effectively remove unwanted ink from clients of all skin types. Tattoos are measured and examined during initial consultations to determine the number of treatments needed for removal. During the procedure, a high-powered RevLite SI laser produces nanosecond pulses of light in multiple wavelengths, effectively breaking down ink particles of any color without heating up the surrounding skin. The Zimmer Cryo 6 chiller and a topical numbing cream applied before the treatment also work to reduce discomfort. Guests can enjoy a complimentary beverage and take advantage of Zapatat's free WiFi.
Working in the medium of ink and skin, the artists at Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery create custom works of art in a squeaky clean shop. Led by owner Halo, whose portrait-style and freehand work can be viewed here, this crew sends clients home with indelible, one-of-a-kind designs and expertly inserted body jewelry. For those sporting outdated or botched ink, the studio offers Tatt2Away tattoo-removal procedures, which diminish old tats without the use of lasers or giant pink erasers.