Shirley Leung Hotel near Fenway Park a nod to rock club past Meet The Verb, located at the site of former Howard Johnson ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Take a peek inside the soon-to-open Verb hotel near Fenway Park, which pays homage to the rock-club past of the area. Bill Greene/Globe Staff The Howard Johnson on Boylston Street, built as the Fenway Motor Lodge in 1959, is seen here in 1999. Amid a sea of new towers, including some he built, developer Steve Samuels decided to preseve the old 94-room motel and add some character to one of Boston’s hottest new neighborhoods. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Samuels and partners have spent the past seven months and well over $10 million overhauling the Boylston Street HoJo. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Hotelier Robin Brown (right) and developer Steve Samuels are the team behind the renovation. It seemed like a radical idea at first. “Let’s not tear down the Howard Johnson,” Samuels texted Brown. To which Brown responded, as calmly as he could: “What?” Lane Turner/Globe Staff The anti-establishment hotel pays homage to Fenway and Kenmore Square’s raucous rock club scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s with a cheeky and unique theme. JJ Gonson The band Nervous Eaters performed at the Rat cira 1977. The club was known for its malfunctioning bathrooms, graffiti-covered walls, beer-soaked floors, and yes, live rats. The Verb pays homage to the days of clubs like The Rathskeller (the Rat’s formal name) when salty punks and Red Sox fans sometimes brawled on the sidewalks. Lane Turner/Globe Staff The Verb wasn’t going to be a Hard Rock, so Samuels reached out to friend Stephen Mindich, ex-publisher of the Boston Phoneix, to help him unpack the history of Fenway’s music scene. The hotel features reproduction of Phoenix front pages as artwork on the walls. Lane Turner/Globe Staff The Verb is full of vintage and funky objects that pay tribute to the neighborhood’s past. Slide the door shut behind you in a bathroom and you might see this vintage shot of a photographer. Lane Turner/Globe Staff A zebra print bathrobe is backed by a photograph of an old hi-fi music system in one of the rooms at The Verb. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Guests can write friends about the experience at the Verb on this manual typewriter, included on the desk of every room. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Even the ironing boards at The Verb seem to have a unique sense of style. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Fenway Park , as seen through the colored window of one of The Verb’s guest rooms, still looms over the neighborhood as it did when the area was home to such joints as the Boston Tea Party, where concert-goers could see the biggest acts before they got too big. Lane Turner/Globe Staff Unique numbers announce each of The Verb’s 94 rooms. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, J. Geils Band and The Who were among the acts that played in the neighborhood before stardom struck. The soon-to-be-famous Police took to the rickety stage of the Rat, along with homegrown bands that included the Cars. Lane Turner/Globe Staff The easy thing to do for Brown (right) and Samuels would have been to give the motel a baseball theme. But they wanted to play off the kitschiness of a mid-century motel. Reactivating the pool in the courtyard is part of that plan.