Featured hotels and famous clubs along the Sunset Strip; a trail of famous visitors. Forgive us for name dropping.
It all starts with the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel (8401 Sunset Blvd.)
Nicknamed “The Riot House,” this was the rocker hotel of the 1960s and 70s. Touring rock groups like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and The Doors all stayed here. Imagine a trashed room and wild parties on the balconies. Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is rumored to have ridden his motorcycle through the halls, while frontman Robert Plant once proclaimed himself a “golden god” while standing on a balcony of room 905, from which he could see the billboard for their 1975 album, “Physical Graffiti”. Keith Richards once dropped a TV off the balcony of room 1015, while Jim Morrison got evicted for precariously hanging out a window by his fingertips. A glass panel in one of the rooms once read, “Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire.” – The Doors, 1967.
The Comedy Store (8433 Sunset Blvd.)
Back in the 1940s, nightclub Ciro’s was a celebrity hotspot and the preferred haunt of actor Humphrey Bogart’s favorite hangout in the 1940s. The 1960s gave way to It’s Boss, a rock venue known for launching rock band The Byrds. Since 1972, however, it’s been The Comedy Store. Comics who have graced its legendary stage include Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, Whoopie Goldberg and many more.
Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel (8440 Sunset Blvd.)
A present-day rooftop pool bar and celebrity hangout for rock bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, Guns N’ Roses, The Cranberries, The Who, and many others.
Mel’s Diner (8585 Sunset Blvd.)
You MUST eat at least one meal here, any hour of the day. Once known as Ben Frank’s, rockers in the ‘60s and ‘70s would chill here after gigs. It was also headquarters for protesting teens in 1966 during the Sunset Strip curfew riots; mass arrests took place in the adjacent parking lot. Today, this 24-hour retro diner is a great place to stop for a burger, milkshake, slice of pie, or just a coffee. Keen eyes may recognize the restaurant from the 1973 coming-of-age film American Graffiti.
The Viper Room (8852 Sunset Blvd.)
Johnny Depp and others opened this famous rock club in 1993. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers headlined the opening party. Actor River Phoenix collapsed in front of the club and later died from a drug overdose early Halloween morning that same year. Today, the venue hosts much famous rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock acts. Developers purchased the property in July 2018, with the intention of redesigning the site. Preliminary plans include a live music venue, but for now, the Viper Room’s future is uncertain.
Whisky a Go Go (8901 Sunset Blvd.)
Opened in January 1964, the Whisky a Go-Go was an instant sensation with mini-skirted dancers elevated over the floor in cages. The Whisky made Johnny Rivers an immediate star in 1963. Jim Morrison and The Doors played as the house band in 1966. Other legends who’ve rocked this stage include The Who, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Jimi Hendrix. The Whisky remains a popular club for both established and up-and-coming acts.
The Roxy Theatre (9009 Sunset Blvd.)
Bruce Springsteen gave a breakthrough concert at this long-standing venue in 1975. David Bowie, Neil Young, and Prince played here, too. Cult musical The Rocky Horror Show made its U.S. debut here in 1974, before being adapted into the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show the following year. Today, The Roxy hosts emerging talents like Roy Wood$, Royal Machines, Leon, and Parachute.
The Rainbow Bar and Grill (9015 Sunset Blvd.)
Rainbow was a hangout for countless music icons including John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, and even Elvis Presley. A little non-rocker trivia—Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe came here on their first date in the ‘50s, and Vincent Minnelli, the owner of Villa Nova, asked Judy Garland to marry him here. Today, guests can enjoy a pizza in the main dining room, an intimate music show in the upstairs venue, or drinks on the outdoor patio.