Downtown San Franciscoʼs Tenderloin district is a multifaceted creature. A glittering sprawl of strip clubs, dive bars, and late night donut shops, itʼs certainly not everyoneʼs cup of tea. Nicknamed the Scorpio neighborhood by The Bold Italic for its unpredictable atmosphere, the Tenderloin is an inner city paradise that has much to offer if you look in the right places.
In our ultimate quest for the life of leisure, me and my blue haired accomplice decided to check in to the Phoenix hotel, a retro-mod retreat located on Eddy and Larkin. Upon arrival, itʼs easy to fall in love with the Phoenixʼs funky, 1950s architecture and mix-matched decor. A wild cacophony of kitsch and color, the rooms are an acid dream come to life. Along with psychedelic tapestries and retro-mod furniture, the rooms have travel guides listing local events and upcoming concerts. Since the Phoenix is close to historic music venues such as the Great American Music Hall, it serves as a popular destination for the performers who play there. Whether itʼs by accommodating the tour buses parked out front or transforming the hotel into a gallery location overnight, the Phoenix proves to be an epicenter for musicians, artists, and eccentrics alike.
What makes the TL unique compared to most neighborhoods in SF is that itʼs teeming with life well until daybreak. Living true to its title as the entertainment district, people are often seen shuffling in and out of cabernets or crawling out of impromptu basement shows. Jam packed with notorious drag clubs and dim-lit dive bars, the Tenderloin is a cornucopia of sleaze and splendor. Weekends tend to be the busiest as leather jacket-clad locals smoke, drink, and dance in the street to attend gallery openings or record release parties. Nearby Gallery/Venue locations such as Vacation and RS94109 frequently host these events, where the wine flows free and the party is open to the public. Whether itʼs late night record shopping or attending a last minute DJ set, the possibilities are endless--and all within a five block radius.
So pack your favorite pilled band t-shirt and call the Phoenix in advance; itʼs gonna be a long night ahead. Donʼt worry though, the Phoenix has everything you need to recuperate from your post-punk show shenanigans. Along with a continental breakfast served until 10:30 AM, they also provide free access to communal baths at the Kabuki Spa. So as youʼre contemplating why you drank that whole bottle of Honey Jack Daniels to yourself, or wondering if those bruises have always been there, allow yourself to get treated to a massage or unwind with a long bath. In addition to access to communal baths, the Kabuki offers facials, massages, and acupuncture treatments. Massages and facials cost between 75 to 150 dollars, but access to the communal baths is a complimentary feature as long as youʼre a guest at the Phoenix. Or, if you would prefer to stay within the hotel grounds, you can lounge in a cabana during one of their annual sunday poolside parties.
For more information on booking, summer packages, and upcoming events, contact the Phoenix here.