The Tenderloin neighborhood and the rock ‘n’ roll Phoenix Hotel attract a paparazzi.
The Phoenix Hotel has history—not of the Al Capone or George Washington variety. But midcentury-to-now rock ‘n’ roll. Crooner Brenda Lee started the trend. Since then, it’s been a steady stream of music-playing good times: David Bowie, R.E.M., Nirvana, and Norah Jones.
That said, they aren’t the most photographed. The paparazzi aren’t those skulking, stalking professionals. They are Instagramming overnighters and those locals who are lounging at poolside Chambers Eat + Drink . Their target? The psychedelic-Zen life-sized frog statue near the pool.
Like the Eros of London’s Piccadilly or Hachiko (the dog) statue in Tokyo’s Shibuya—or even the Hollywood sign—it’s a part of local lore. It used to get all the attention until local artist Zio Ziegler tattooed the exterior of the Tenderloin-located motor lodge that was at once point a former flophouse. The neighborhood is gritty—and musicians like that.
Everyone flocks here for the anonymity, the history, and the comfort of the rooms. The management knows their guest. The in-room book has no less than a dozen places to buy guitars or get them fixed, as well as a long list of the art galleries that are popping up in the area.
The attached Chambers has a vinyl collection that numbers in the thousands and a very delicious cocktail list that includes a nectarine-infused Rye concoction. The biggest deal around? Free parking. In downtown San Francisco, where daily garage rates can claim half a Benjamin, this is a small luxury. Rockstar parking, indeed.