Famous (And Infamous) Clubs in Hollywood
The Los Angeles nightlife scene is not only a lively and entertaining experience, there are also a few clubs in Hollywood that are steeped in a rich history. The names of such clubs register immediately with those even vaguely familiar with L.A. clubbing and are often cited as pop culture references. So if you want to experience a bit of history while also having a fun night on the town, one of these venues just might fill your appetite as a partying history buff.
THE VIPER ROOM
8852 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
A club with a seemingly nondescript exterior, the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip has a history that deems it more infamous than famous. The Hollywood club has A-list musicians, actors and celebrities among its list of regulars (an A-list musician even worked as a bartender in the late ‘90s – Adam Duritz, of the Counting Crows), and commonly hosts well-known metal, rock and punk bands in its live venue. The establishment was originally The Central before 1993 when, on the brink of shutting down, a regular musician recommended Johnny Depp revive it and rename it into the Viper Room we know today. The Viper Room’s history – a big draw for many patrons – is also marred with death, lawsuits and unfortunate circumstance; within its first year of opening its doors, actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose just outside the club. The Viper Room continued its business despite the tragedy and is still going strong.
The Viper Room is still a popular hang-out for A-list and the common folk alike. The interior, adorned with black-painted walls and dark, gothic stylings, is composed of a small lounge and bar area by the entrance and an upstairs room for larger live venues. Despite some intimidating bouncers guarding the velvet ropes and a cover charge ranging from $8-$10 (varies depending on the show. See The Viper website for details, or call), attending shows inside is relatively inexpensive, and the mixed drinks are strong.
1735 N Vine St
Hollywood, CA 90028
Few current clubs in Hollywood have a history as deep as the Avalon Hollywood, near the corner of Hollywood and Vine. The ownership of this venue has shuffled hands several times since its establishment in the 1930’s (back under its first name, The Hollywood Playhouse). CBS bought the establishment in the 1950’s and renamed it The El Capitan Theatre, where it hosted a wide-range of radio and television broadcasts, including “The Lawrence Welk Show,” “This is Your Life,” and other shows that brought Bob Hope, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby to public awareness. Ownership changed once again was renamed The Hollywood Palace, where it hosted acts such as Merv Griffin, The Beatles and Fred Astaire. The establishment underwent restorations, changed owners in 2002 and became known by its current name, Avalon Hollywood. It is currently the venue for Rolling Stones’ Grammy parties, movie premiers and frequent live shows.
The interior has a large dance floor, with architecture as a blend of classic baroque with modern touches. Getting on the guest list for the night of your arrival is advisable, as the cover charge increases for those not on the list. Fridays, known here as “Control Fridays,” are 18+ , whereas most other nights are 21+.
THE ROXY THEATER
9009 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
The Roxy Theater has been a landmark nightclub on the Sunset Strip since the 1970’s, when it was owned by Lou Adler. The establishment has been host to some of the most notorious rock musical acts of the 1980s, including the Beatles, Neil Young, Genesis, and even Peewee Herman, just to name a few. The Roxy still occasionally hosts some of the biggest acts in music today.
The venue is a small yet intimate one, especially if you’re lucky to get yourself a spot on one of the couches and enjoy the live acts. The small space may also be a disadvantage during more popular music sets, when the place could get crowded with as many as 200 people or more. Unlike other nightclubs on the Sunset Strip, Roxy adopts a cool, drama-free vibe.