The Top 3 Tattoo Parlors in St. Louis

Since the dawn of human existence on the planet, people have modified their bodies with tattoos, piercings, and ritual scarification. These rituals marked a person as a member of a certain tribe or group, or were used to express religious, magical, or spiritual beliefs. Sometimes they were used as a rite of passage. Young males were scarred when they reached puberty to show that they were able to withstand pain.

The oldest tattooed body found so far was that of a Bronze Age man who died over 5000 years ago in Italy. His arms, legs, and torso were covered with tattoos of mythical creatures. Ice Age rock carvings from 15,000 years ago show tattooed figures. Even Egyptian mummies carried some of the skin ink.

Cheap TRX is at 3211 South Grand in the Grand Arts Theatre District in Midtown St. Louis, Missouri. Interestingly enough, the front entrance is graced by two statues of Egyptian cats with a statue of a winged Isis in the middle. Cheap TRX specializes in tattooing, body piercing, body jewelry, leather and fetish accessories, adult toys and gifts. They also specialize in the hard to find and unusual. They say that if they don’t have it, they will find it for you.

They have “commitment ceremony cards,” multi-colored wigs, costumes and hats (they really stock up at Halloween) necklaces and bracelets from puka shells to sterling silver. They also carry a full line of leather collars and bracelets (we’re not talking for the dog here) and custom made lingerie. A large rack of incense sits near the front counter. Most of it is the less expensive Wicks and Sticks variety. They also stock essential oils and scented candles. One thing that is kind of neat about this store is their large collection of masks. These might come in handy if you have a costumed ball or Mardi Gras to attend.
They have 6 tattoo artists and 3 body piercing specialists on staff. Portfolios of their work are on hand for viewing. One of them, Luke, has his tongue split all of the way up the middle. Just ask him how much THAT hurt. Piercings start at 10 bucks for an ear lobe and the price increases the further down the body you go. At times the owners sit behind the counter and offer the curious and the customers a glass of wine. I think this is to relax you while you think about it.

Iron Age Tattoo has been in business in the Loop area since 1994. They expanded into their current location at 6309 Delmar in 2002. They consistently are ranked #1 in the Riverfront Times newspaper poll of the top tattoo parlors in the St. Louis area. They have 7 artists on staff who are known for their aesthetic sense. Even their website is an explosion of movement and color ala Andy Warhol. The only problem is you need a pretty high resolution and a flash player to view the inside. Speaking of Andy Warhol, if you want a reproduction of his can of Campbell’s Soup tattooed onto your back, no problem. How about some Krazy Kat characters? Or how about an armband of vegetables (carrots, celery stalks and greens). Got you covered. One customer has a very ornate clipper ship bursting through a bright ocean of blue ink all across his back.

Trader Bob’s is the oldest tattoo parlor in St. Louis. It sits right near the corner of Jefferson and Gravois Streets in a rundown area of South St. Louis that’s just starting to show some signs of life. This might have been the place where your uncle got his tattoo when he was home on leave from the Navy. There’s a sign on the shop that says they also do canvas awnings? Right next door is a Harly repair shop. Just drop off the bike while you are getting inked. The shop is small, crowded, and a little dingy, but if you like your tattoo parlors the way they used to be, without the frills, this is the place to go. They also do very good work.

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