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Best of Tacoma 2016: Flaming Dragon

Best Tattoo Shop

Tattoo artist David Wach works on a shy customer at Flaming Dragon Tattoo’s 6th Avenue location. Photo credit: Jared Lovrak

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For the be-inked among us, Flaming Dragon needs no introduction. This South Sound fixture will celebrate 20 years of tattooing Tacoma next month. Don't let the taxidermy tarantulas, oni masks or the cell phone impaled to the wall with a butcher knife scare you away; these are two of the friendliest spots in the City of Destiny. (Just remember to turn off your phone.)

No matter what kind of tattoo, you can count on the gang at Flaming Dragon to provide top-notch service with a smile. Want an octopus fighting a unicorn? Dave's your guy. A fast food mascot dressed as the Virgin Mary, complete with tomato slice halo? Jason G's got you covered. Did you lose your legs, but not your sense of humor? Want "Stub" and "Nub" on your stub and nub? Sara just needs to know what font you want.

It's this passion for their craft coupled with both shops' welcoming atmospheres that makes Flaming Dragon the Best of Tacoma. It's not business strategy, it's just the way they are.

"Everyone here is really dedicated to tattooing, and all of us enjoy it and we enjoy the people that come in and, if anything, it just gets around that people like to come in here and have a good time and get a tattoo," says Jason G, a 13-year veteran at Flaming Dragon.

And while to the uninitiated, getting ink done seems like little more than a painful and permanent way to show one's dedication to your significant other, political ideology or mom, chatting with these stylists of the skin revealed that it just might hold the key to world peace.

"The beautiful thing is that tattoos are an equalizer ( ... ) You can have two opposing elements, but the thing they have in common is tattoos," said Jason G. Flaming Dragon is neutral ground where people of all creeds, codes and colors put aside their differences for a little while to revel in the common bond of their love of tattoos. Jason even cited one instance when a known drug dealer and a narcotics officer sat side-by-side getting work done.

These days especially, if that prospect doesn't motivate you to go under the gun at least a little bit more than usual, I doubt anything will. But either way, you'll be hard-pressed to pick a better place with a friendlier and more talented crew than the artists at Flaming Dragon.

Flaming Dragon Tattoo, 3912 6th Ave., Tacoma, Tues-Sat, noon-9 p.m., 253.756.8041,

Flaming Dragon Tattoo, 3514 Pacific Ave., Tacoma,  Tues-Sat, noon-9 p.m., 253.474.7738,

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