Walking in to the dimly lit wood paneled entryway of Chambers Eat + Drink, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Nestled in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district among the diviest of bars, soup kitchens and run down liquor stores, the Phoenix Hotel is somewhat of an oasis. With a legit history, housing high profile guests like David Bowie, Johnny Depp and Linda Ronstadt, The Phoenix knows it’s cool. I was greeted by the aroma of grilled eggs and potatoes as I admired the restored 1950’s era dark wood paneling and shelves stocked with an impressive collection of old records.
Among all of these well-played gimmicks, I spied the mixologist. A typical SF hipster in a plaid button down and black-rimmed glasses - I knew he was sure of his mixes. But as he shook his potions nonchalantly in front of the “BE AMAZING” sign, I wondered if he could deliver a Bloody Mary as impressive as the ambiance. I gazed out at the hotel patrons swimming laps in the heated pool of the vibrantly colored retro, U-shaped motel as the waitress presented my Bloody.
I could have opted for a Bloody Maria (served with tequila) or Mabel (served with gin) but I opted for the traditional vodka variety, and what I found was a refreshing delight. Garnished with two olives, a slice of lemon, and a stick of jicama, I was less than thrilled at the lack of pickled veggies. Typically, the more my bloody resembles a hearty salad, the happier I am. However, the mix was refreshingly simple and tangy. With a light consistency of fresh, organic tomato juice made in-house, a splash of Worcester sauce, lemon juice and pepper complimenting the Stoli vodka I was definitely impressed.
The concoction was just salty enough but lacked any serious spice. The fresh juice would have been made perfect with a more generous helping of Worcester, more pepper and pickled green beans. I appreciate fresh and healthy but let’s be honest, when I order my Bloody, I’m not seeking cold-pressed juice of the cleanse variety. I want to indulge. Let’s just say I wouldn’t have argued with something more hearty. Still, the hipster mixologist had lived up to the sign. It was indeed pretty amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I had to order a second to go with my equally delightful order of Eggs Royale. I should mention that in my opinion, a bold enough Bloody should stand alone, never leave you wanting more. This one felt like a teaser. Its subtlety may have actually been a clever ploy to entice me to order a second. After two I was satisfied. Well played, Phoenix Bloody, we shall meet again.