24523 Sprague Road, Columbia Station, 440-235-6699, www.252tattoo.com
Anybody can punch a hole in your flesh and jam in a hunk of metal, but it takes a certain amount of class and professional expertise to make you relax for the process. And its that vibe that makes Columbia Stations 252 Tattoo a favorite not just with 18-year-olds celebrating their newfound independence, but also with housewives who have decided theyre never too old for a nose ring. Of course, the fact that the shop is clean helps too. Lined with vintage pinup art, 252 is decorated like an old-school tattoo parlor, but hygiene rules the modern shop. Needles are properly disposed of after one use, and all other implements are steam-sterilized in an autoclave and blasted with an ultrasonic cleanse for good measure. But best of all is the atmosphere. Despite spending their adult lives up to their elbows in navels and nipples, the staffers dont have the been there, done that, dont bother us attitude you find in some body-art emporiums. If youre excited, theyre excited. If youre nervous, theyre calming. And if youre not sure what youre looking for, theyll take the time to help you figure out exactly what you want and exactly where you want it. Even if you want it there.