For when the skin you were born in could use an upgrade, call on tattoo artist Tim Dennis, one of the owners of Charleston’s first tattoo parlor. Founded with Alyx Baranow, Blu Gorilla opened its doors in January 2007, but Dennis had been honing his craft well before he came to South Carolina to set up shop. With more than 20 years of experience, the artist is comfortable with all types of tattoo styles, but traditional Japanese work remains his favorite. Open seven days a week with locations on King Street and in Goose Creek, Blu Gorilla is proof that sometimes it pays to be first.
Runner-up: Margo Venomous, Holy City Tattoo Collective