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Tips For Tats – The best parlours & ink in Sydney

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Jayne Gorman

Thinking about getting inked? From celebs favourite salons to Japanese master tattooists, we’ve rounded up the best places to get a tattoo in Sydney, plus share our tips for first-timers getting tats.

Sydney’s Best Tattoo Parlours

Kaleidoscope Tattoo

Established in 1995, Kaleidoscope Tattoo Studio is Bondi’s original tattoo parlour and pretty easy to spot due to their position next to street-art strewn Fat Rupert on Bondi Beach. Known for providing consistent quality and customer service, their team of 9 artists specialise in a range of styles including Neo

Traditional, Japanese, Oriental, Realism and Watercolour. Walk-ins are welcome for smaller pieces but you’ll need an appointment for a custom artwork.

Find it: 255 Bondi Road, Bondi

Bondi Ink 

The most famous tattoo parlour in Sydney also resides in Bondi. Bondi Ink and its artists Giorgia Mae, Moses Savea, Shaun Bones, and Ellie Thompson are the starts of reality TV show Bondi Ink Tattoo Crew, which just wrapped filming its second season. Their realistic etchings are popular with celebrities including Zayn Malik, Ronan Keating and Iggy Azalea. They recently closed for renovations and rumours hit the news about their license being revoked due to dubious bikie associations. So if you like the look of their work on Insta call or drop in store to get an appointment ASAP!

Find it: 2/72-76 Campbell Parade, Bondi

Authentink Studio

If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese tattoo or maybe even a Japanese bodysuit then Authentink Studio is the place to go. Kian Forrel (or Horisumi as he was named by a legendary Japanese Tattoo Master) has 23 years experience of Traditional Japanese Tattooing and only works with hand ground, high-grade sumi ink from Japan. Kian is supported by a team of 9 artists, whose skills include Tribal, Islander and Ethnographic Tattooing, Dotwork and Geometric Style Tattoos, Script lettering and everything in between! You can request a free of charge 30-minute consultation with any of the artists via the website.

Address: Suite 306 / 4 -14 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills

LDF Tattoo

LDF Tattoo is a long standing stalwart of the Sydney tattoo scene. Owner Les Bowen begun tattooing in the 1960s and collectively his team of artists have over 50 years of experience between them. LDF Tattoo operates two parlours in Sydney – 1 in eclectic Newtown and the other in Marrickville – and both are open 7 days a week. Different artists work on select days per week though, so check out their Facebook page to find out who is in and when.

Find it: 26 King Street, Newtown and 443 Illawarra Road, Marrickville 

First-Timer Tat Tips

  • Just like advice, tattoos closest to the bone hurt the most. Areas including the spine, hips, feet, knees are elbows require extra bravery.
  • When you find an artist whose work you like stalk them on social media before arranging a consultation. Many tattoo artists use Instagram as a portfolio for their work and you can also search for their name in hashtags to see examples of their most recent inkings.
  • Ask a friend. Speak to a well-tatted friend for a parlour recommendation and read reviews on social media for further background.
  • Bring sweets. It’s a good idea to being a sugary drink or some lollies to your tattoo appointment to help with the endorphins that might start fluctuating during your tattooing.
  • Avoid the sun. It’s not wise to turn up sun burnt for your appointment and definitely don’t go in drunk.
  • Aftercare is key. Check out this great advice from Kaleidoscope Tattoo Studio on how to care for your tat once you leave the salon.
  • Think long, long, long term. This goes without saying really, but a tattoo is for life (excluding painful and costly removal). Don’t get tatted on a whim. Make sure you have thought long and hard about the design you want before going near the needle.

Ellie Kate

Jayne Gorman is a freelance travel writer and award-winning travel blogger who blogged her way around 40 countries before her 30th birthday. Now Sydney-based you’ll often find her sniffing out the latest street art and sweet treats around the city.