West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip is famous for its legendary LA rock clubs, drawing fans of classic rock, heavy metal, 80s hair bands and rock history.
The mile and half stretch of road has helped pave the way to stardom for some of the biggest acts in music from Motley Crue (“Girls Girls Girls”) to disco queen Donna Summer (“Sunset People”) and Roger Waters (“Sunset Strip”). With clubs like the Roxy and Viper room still open almost every night, the Sunset Strip remains a proving ground for new talent. Here are six clubs of the most famous clubs on the strip:
The Rainbow Bar and Grill
The Rainbow Bar and Grill First opened in Spring 1972 with a party for Elton John. Affectionately known as The Rainbow Room, it is one of the most famous hangouts for rock stars on the Strip. The food is all homemade and delicious and the inside bar is dark and intimate and lined with museum-worthy rock memorabilia. Rainbow’s outdoor patio bar is loud and festive. Lemmy from Motorhead is regular and there’s an autographed picture on the wall next to his seat.
Up the steep staircase is a comfy bar space/dance floor, “Over the Rainbow.” This is where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had their first date and it was a favorite hangout for Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Motley Crue. It was also featured in the Guns n Roses “November Rain” music video.
The Roxy Theatre
Previously a strip club, The Roxy Theatre (aka The Roxy) was opened in 1973 and has been the home to many legends (Guns n Roses, Genesis with then frontman Peter Gabriel, Pee Wee Herman) who played here before they were famous. Steeped in Hollywood Babylon, this is the site of Heidi Fleiss’ 1980s parties and John Lennon’s “lost weekend” in 1975. A who’s who of rock records were recorded live here including Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s “Live 1975/1985” and Bob Marley & The Wailer’s “Live at The Roxy.” Today, Roxy fans can catch live music, stage productions, comedy shows, performance art and dancing. Located above The Roxy, is On The Rox, which features a full-service bar and DJs. Find tickets.
The Viper Room
With walls painted as black as black can be, this trendy rock club opened in 1993, and was partly owned by actor Johnny Depp until 2004. The club gained infamy in 1993 when actor River Phoenix died outside on the front sidewalk of a drug overdose. The Viper Room was used as a location in Oliver Stone’s film, The Doors, and has hosted some of the world’s most famous rockers: Iggy Pop, Pearl Jam, and Lenny Kravitz to name a few.
Lucky and unsuspecting Viper Room patrons are often treated to surprise performances and guest appearances. A casual night out for drinks here often turns into a great spot for star sightings.
Whisky A Go Go
A Hollywood landmark since it first opened its doors in 1964, The Whisky has seen it all on its stage: Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Ramones, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Oasis, and its one-time house band, The Doors. Still as popular as ever, Whisky A Go-Go is the birthplace of go-go dancers performing in cages. In 1966, The Miracles recorded a song titled, “Going to a Go-Go,” which helped officially brand the club Whisky A Go-Go. These days, hard rock is the genre of choice here, with rap acts and cover bands also making frequent appearances. Find tickets.
The House of Blues
Covered in metal, framed with a wooden fence, and a landmark chimney stack proudly declaring its name, this is arguably the most unique architecture on the Strip. The House Of Blues has something for everyone including a jam-packed concert calendar with some of the top national and international touring acts, a members-only club on the top floor, and space to host private events for 50 to 500 guests. A world famous Sunday gospel brunch features Southern inspired dishes created by Food Network Star Celebrity Chef Aaron Sanchez. Find tickets.
The Key Club
A venue to appease every nightlife need, The Key Club has three levels: the cozy Plush Lounge on the bottom floor, perfect for parties/private events; the (mostly) standing room only main level with a performance stage and the VIP third level. It also boasts a diverse dinner menu, views of the stage from every angle, today’s top spinning DJ’s, and every kind of rock band.
Find more options for live music and tickets on LosAngeles.com.