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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The historic Hotel Congress

    File Photo / The Daily Wildcat

    A look at the neon sign on top of Hotel Congress located on Congress street in downtown Tucson. The iconic sign serves as a centerpiece of the downtown skyline.

    If you have ever found yourself in downtown Tucson, you may have noticed a bright neon red sign atop a building that reads, “Hotel Congress.” The sign gleams brightly, inviting whoever sees it to explore what lies inside.

    Walking in, the hotel’s distinctive décor immediately evokes nostalgia of its long and colorful history.

    “The ambiance [of the hotel] adds to the overall experience—it’s unique,” said Hotel Congress General Manager Todd Hanley. “With the penny floor, chandelier and a 100-year-old building, it makes for a one-of-a-kind setting.”

    The site of the capture of notorious bank robber John Dillinger in 1934, Congress—built in 1919—stands as one of Tucson’s most historic buildings.

    The hotel has worn many hats throughout its years.

    Not only is it a place to sleep, but there are five bars (yes, five), a club with live music almost every night of the week and a café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    If you want breakfast from the Cup Café on the weekends though, plan in advance. It is one of the most popular eateries in town and was recently featured on USA Today, among other news outlets.

    “I recommend baked eggs for breakfast, especially because it was ranked as the best breakfast dish in all of Arizona in 2015 by the Arizona Foodist,” Hanley said.

    In order to have the complete bar experience, head over to the Tap Room, order a bloody Mary and ask for bartender Thomas Ziegler, a.k.a. Tiger, who has been working at Congress since 1952 and is as iconic as the hotel itself.

    “It’s the best place ever in the world to work for,” Ziegler said. “I have the best bosses and customers, I love every minute of it.”

    He has no plans to retire anytime soon, because even at 83 years old, he still loves his job. The Tap Room was renamed “Tiger’s Tap Room” in order to honor Ziegler’s 80th birthday and commemorate his dedication to Congress.

    The history of this hotel runs deep. Even the hotel rooms themselves are reminiscent of Tucson’s past, contributing to Congress’ early twentieth-century style even more.

    “It was a unique experience to stay at the hotel because it is really cool to stay at a place with that much history and to be able to see that reflected in the rooms,” said business junior Raven Raines.

    Raines also said Cup Café’s cuisine was notable, and Club Congress’s DJ sets were lively.

    Hotel Congress attracts an eclectic group of individuals from all over for its distinct style, decor and live music.

    Jam packed with history, Hotel Congress is one of a kind hotel and quintessential part of the Tucson experience. 

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    Follow Natasha Castanedo on Twitter.

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