Phoenix: True to Its Name

Posted by: Florica

Chip Conley, the iconoclastic entrepreneur whose first foray into the hotel business began at the tender age of 26 with the purchase of the old Phoenix Hotel, a 1950’s no tell-motel which he subsequently converted into a popular rock ‘n’ roll destination, says he has an editorial approach to modeling the look and feel of his hotel collection. It helps to market to an established clientele that already associates with a certain type of lifestyle. Thus, the Phoenix Hotel is the physical manifestation of Rolling Stone Magazine.

One would never suspect much from the hotel exterior. On a grimy corner of Eddy and Larkin where shoes and shit and cardboard boxes are in constant abundance — the pea-green tiled facade does not betray the jaw-dropping interior wonder replete with pool and garden that is Miami circa 1970 come to life. In fact, this Tenderloin oasis would not be an oasis, where it not a respite from the filth that lies just beyond its entrance…

The rooms are small (it is still a motel after all) but its central garden, peppered with grass and concrete and sculptures, and warmed by a long, decorative gas fire pit, is a marvel. For years, guests like David Bowie, Linda Ronstadt and Little Richard, have made the Phoenix a tour destination….and the music guests continue to come.

The mystique must continuously reinvent itself…For a long time, the Bambuddha lounge, housed in the Phoenix hotel was a great-kept secret, boasting a cheap happy hour of tropical cocktails and Asian finger foods. But when the Bambuddha lounge was retired, a great vacuum needed to be filled – the hotel needed a happening restaurant and lounge!

Enter Chambers Eat + Drink. Even by the name alone, you can envision a downtown New York hotspot, a happening place for a late night bites and libations. On that front, Chambers Eat + Drink does not disappoint. The food program is operated by Chef Trevor Ogden, formerly of Mission Beach CafĂ©, while the decor – red, gold and dark – builds an exiting atmosphere. Vinyl records line the walls and repurposed wood features prominently. It is a beautifully realized space and one that can usher in the Phoenix Hotel to a new era…the rock ‘n’ roll past is not dead, it has just evolved!

The bar is open from 5pm to 2am Tuesday through Sunday, and dinner is served from 6pm to 11pm.
601 Eddy Street, at Larkin, in the Phoenix Hotel; (415) 829-2316

phoenix hotelbambuddha loungechambers eat + drinkchip conleyrock 'n' rollrolling stone