Best Hand-Poke Tattoo Artist 2016 | Rachel Paton | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
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Dot by dot, Rachel Paton's tattoo art is a lesson in the beauty of patience. The hand-poke tattooer adheres her work to clients' bodies using the no-machine-necessary stick-and-poke process. Paton's black-ink-only illustrations are sharp and imbued with a sense of magic — celestial imagery, witchy symbolism and gothic and Western themes are prominent in her handiwork. The hand-poke artist's tattoos are 100 percent original: She collaborates with clients to build an idea, then goes to work creating a one-of-a-kind design in her style. Getting a tattoo from Rachel Paton means owning a piece of the Denver artist's work that will never be replicated. Fair warning: The shop is moving later this year, to an as-yet-undetermined location.

Even before a client sits down in a chair, a tattoo shop can make an impression with its name. Kitchen's Ink, a friendly shop on Santa Fe Drive, not only does excellent tattooing and piercing, but also displays art and offers other shopping opportunities. In fact, you'll find just about everything here but the kitchen sink.

Readers' choice: Think Tank

A classic name for a classy place: Perms may have gone out with the '80s, but Permanent Basis remains a fixture in this rapidly changing central Denver neighborhood.

700 E. 1st Ave.
Readers' choice: Big Hairy Monster

The new wave of beauty products is toxin-free, and former beauty-industry exec Kathryn Murray of the beauty boutique Aillea rode it right to 14th and Larimer in 2015, bringing a curated selection of all-natural, chemical-free cosmetics, cleansers, fragrances and creams that smell just as nice — if not nicer — than the old-fashioned, non-natural kind. The result of Murray's personal search for safer, kinder products in an industry overrun by unregulated and unhealthy secret formulas, Aillea gathers the best of her next-generation finds in one place to share with Denver faces.

1408 Larimer St.

Soapmaking is an art of beautiful alchemy in the hands of the Spinster Sisters — in reality not a pair of siblings, but just one woman, Kelly Perkins, who was determined to school herself in the basics of the craft in search of a better, more natural bar of soap. Over the years, her line has expanded to include dozens of variations on the basic tool of cleanliness, as well as lotions, shaving products, scrubs and other products — all made from simple, raw ingredients and conscientiously packaged — that have been available for years at selected shops across the nation and locally at artisan markets. Since last spring, the faithful also have been able to flock to the brick-and-mortar flagship, Spinster Sisters Microsoapery, in downtown Golden. Make the pilgrimage, and clean up your act.

Seven Sins Salon has made a name for itself in the metro area by offering free and discounted services to any bands playing here. Since it opened last October, Gwar, Velvet Acid Christ and Birthday Massacre have stopped at the Lakewood shop to have their hair and makeup done before their Denver shows, and the lineup continues to grow. Bands can sign autographs and take photos with fans, and the salon's owners have a bar full of Jägermeister and other spirits ready in case a party starts. Get your own 'do did at Seven Sins, and while the toner's setting, you just might end up throwing back a few with the boys in the band. The motto here says it all: "Beauty is only sin deep," which strikes a chord with anyone looking for a hard-core color job or cut that will turn heads on the stage or the dance floor. But anyone who dances to a different drum is welcome to take advantage of the salon's rock decor and friendly service. Rock on. 0x000A

Life is too short to drive from place to place all day just to get 1,001 things done — and to try to add a little enrichment and social consciousness to your schedule, to boot. Save some gas and head to Sol Shine, where you can shop for trendy, eco-friendly, fair-trade garb made in the USA, then practice your poses and asanas in the in-store yoga studio, all without leaving the building. Daily classes are only $15 a shot, with packages available. Need to relax after perfecting your upward-facing dog? Sol Shine is also a gallery, serving up cocktails and local art monthly at third-Saturday receptions.

Lovebirds and co-owners Becca Miller and Taylor Romero opened their one-stop shop last summer as a way to simplify the shopping experience for men. The Tennyson Street menswear boutique and style consultancy has good taste — and an in-store barbershop — already built into the concept. Much more than a standard retail space, Spruce offers haircuts, grooming, styling help, modern apparel and upscale leather accessories like shoes and bags, all with a lumbersexual edge. Guys are invited to make an appointment for services and fill out a style profile. Welcome to the grown-up world of manshopping.

Its comes as little surprise that Denver's best beard trim is in RiNo, where anyone without cuffed-up jeans and well-manicured facial hair is liable to be looked at funny — but maybe the furry neighborhood just needed a woman's touch. Whether you get Ali, Bridget, Katie or Niki at the Usual, you're going to walk away looking flyer than ever, with a fresh cut above (no matter the hairline) and a precisely trimmed coat of manliness that's sure to make the females fawn. Afterward, head next door to Our Mutual Friend Brewing on 28th and Larimer for a pint and check out your hipster approval rating.

2828 Larimer St.

You don't have to be a burner (a Burning Man enthusiast) or even have plans to visit the windblown playa at Black Rock City, Nevada, to walk in the door at Burners Boutique — but if you are, you'll never again have to wonder how to outdo yourself at next year's high-desert DIY arts-and-culture fest. Run by burners with a flair for out-there costuming, the store is a year-round go-to for everything from tutus and tights to vintage garb and desert-strength goggles, perfect for intergalactic land travel and/or Halloween, whichever appeals most. Looking for something better than a sheet with two holes for a costume this October — or anytime? Visit Burners Boutique, a costume shop like no other — because, really, what is life but a never-ending masquerade?

127 Kalamath St.

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