The words 'Glasgow' and 'tattoo' would once upon a time have left you with mental images of shirtless Rangers and Celtic fans with club crests marked on their upper arms and guys standing outside dodgy pubs with LOVE and HATE crudely self-inked on their knuckles.
But with the general uptick in hipster ink of recent years (got the beard, got the tats, got the look), and the wealth of stylish and reputable tattoo parlours opening in the city to service this surge in demand, there’s never been a better time to get a gnarly skull, some tribal art, a scantily clad femme or – if you’re old-fashioned – your other half’s name painfully and indelibly scorched into your flesh. To your probable regret one day, but that’s all part of the fun.
Here’s a by no means comprehensive round-up of some of the best-regarded tattoo parlours in Glasgow. Several of which, FYI, also offer removal and cover-up services. Remember kids: a tattoo’s not just for Christmas.
Have we missed out your preferred tat shop? Tell us your recommendations in the comments.
Keeping denizens of Partick and beyond inked up for many a year, Kaya is the studio of one of Glasgow’s most respected tattoo artists Paul Hamilton and his team of dedicated needle handlers. No design is too complicated, and their customer service and care is second to none. They also run an online store selling tattoo-inspired and related clothes, accessories and gift items.
Its name a helpful reminder that you should really be really, really sure before you go getting your favourite superhero inked on your you-know-what, Forevermore is a custom tattoos and piercings parlour with an Americana feel, opened by David 'El Gordo' Pozo and Simon 'The Pieman' Thursby in 2009 (they also have a shop in London). It’s been been doing a roaring trade ever since, thanks to the fine work of resident and international guests artists who’re available either by appointment or on a walk-up if you’re lucky.
Tattooing the good people of Glasgow since long before it became fashionable, Terry’s was started up by – you guessed it – Terry (Wrigley) in 1965, before passing on to his son Stuart and now Stuart’s daughters Nicola and Natalie. So you can be confident that you’re in good hands, whether you’re getting a house speciality or a custom design of your own choosing. Interesting fact: Terry established the International Tattoo Artist’s Association in the 1970s.
Opened in 2010, Lucky Cat counts at least one celeb among its loyal customers in the form of Biffy Clyro’s taps-aff-tastic frontman Simon Neil who, as a regular of resident self-styled 'gentleman tattooist' Kevin Younger for many years, has had a lot of his extensive array of body art done here. Your go-to for cutting edge, contemporary ink, they don’t do any standard designs, just custom stuff bespoke to each individual customer, world famous rock star or not.
'Good tattoos aren’t cheap, cheap tattoos aren’t good,' goes the mantra at Otzi Tattoos, one of the newest quality ink studios in Glasgow, opened 2012. Expect one of their speciality black and grey/colour realism or Japanese tattoos to sting your wallet as much as your skin. But likewise expect to be very satisfied with your experience, from the very cool vintage Victorian-style waiting area to your fine body art design inked by owner Martyn McMahon or one of his similarly skilled staff. If that’s not enough to remind you of the experience, they sell stylish T-shirts too.