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.
Nestled in the heart of San Francisco’s chic and vibrant Castro neighborhood, Thoroughbread and Pastry provides an eclectic atmosphere that’s all its own. Situated on the corner of Church and Market, the independently owned coffee shop offers a variety of artisan french pastries, sandwiches, and hand crafted coffee drinks. Their tarts and croissants, which range from an affordable 1.50 to 4.00 dollars, are just as hearty as they are sweet. Dedicated to providing quality goods and upholding the philosophy of artisan baking, which “involves taking the time to complete all of the processes, from scaling and mixing to baking and cooling and all of the steps in between, without taking shortcuts,” Thoroughbread’s team of amiable and eccentric bakers make each individual pastry directly behind the counter--proudly displaying their culinary skills and devotion to their craft. Aside from its selection of decadent and affordable baked goods, another inviting aspect of Thoroughbread is its backyard patio area, which is adorned with hand-painted murals and shrouded by lush, overgrown trees. Its rustic atmosphere attracts a variety of next door neighbors and first time visitors, who usually come through for a quick bite to eat or afternoon read. Since Thoroughbread is located directly across from Aardvark, the neighborhood’s new and used bookstore, patrons are often seen with a Cafe au Lait and a vintage crime novel in hand. Overall, the quality service and easy going atmosphere that Thoroughbread provides is what makes it such a popular neighborhood hangout--so whether you’re looking for a spot to read, relax, or recuperate from a long night spent at the local gay bars,Thoroughbread’s got you covered. For more information on Thoroughbread’s location and hours of operation, check them out at http://www.thoroughbreadpastry.com.