Shamrock Social Club’s motto has always been “Where the elite and the underworld meet,” referencing the tattoo shop’s popularity with both the rich and famous and the rough and raucous. But there’s a reason the likes of Johnny Depp, Angelina and Brad, and one-word starlets like Britney and Lindsay choose Shamrock to get inked. Two words: Mark Mahoney. Reality TV may be exposing the tattoo world to a whole new audience these days, but it’s the dapper Boston-born, L.A.-bred master of black-and-gray work who’s managed to bridge the gap between gangsta street style and glamour-girl self-expression in real life. With “words and fonts” the current trend, who better than the guy who learned and perfected the style with other masters in East L.A.? Making his art for more than 30 years now, Mahoney is known for being collaborative as well as chill and discreet — surely appreciated by his high-profile clients. The current location opened in 2001 in a space that belonged to Bing Crosby back in the ’30s and is, in fact, the least intimidating, most welcoming studio in town. Kids can mill about, artists play pool in the front area, stools invite patrons to hang out for a while. It really is a social club. There may be a several-months-long waiting list for the proprietor, but he’s worth it. And if you need a quick fix, walk-ins with his equally formidable crew are always available. 9026 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd. (310) 271-9664. —Lina Lecaro

LA Weekly