Second to only Abbey Road, the 1.7-mile stretch of Sunset Blvd. between Crescent Heights Blvd. and Doheny Drive might be one of the most iconic spots in history to fans of rock ‘n’ roll. Known around the world as the Sunset Strip, it’s home to the legendary Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room, Roxy Theater, Rainbow Bar and Grill and the long departed, but not forgotten, Starwood. As the undeniable epicenter of rock, dozens of legendary bands such as The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Mötley Crüe, Guns N' Roses and Van Halen have lived, played, partied, hung out and partied more on the Sunset Strip.
For those who want to walk a mile (and .7) in the leather pants and boots of their beloved music icons, here’s a rundown of some of the hotspots where you can drink, eat and possibly sit on the same barstools where rock stars enjoyed one of many, many wild nights.
Whisky a Go Go - 8901 Sunset Blvd.
At the heart of the strip is the mecca of rock music, the world famous Whisky a Go Go. The first venue to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Whisky has been the centerpiece of the Sunset Strip since it opened its doors in 1964. If this stage could sing, it would spill legends of some of the greatest bands in history including The Doors, who got their start as the house band on this stage, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Oasis, AC/DC, the Ramones, Janis Joplin, Linkin Park, No Doubt, Rush, Metallica and Van Halen, who’s “top secret” 1993 performance became part of Whisky-lore when 5,000 rabid fans tried to get into the intimate venue and ended up shutting down traffic up and down Sunset.
You don’t need to shut down traffic to get up close to former Van Halen frontman, Sammy Hagar, you can just order one of his award-winning Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co. sparkling rum cocktails in a can, and sip it like a rockstar while enjoying the Whisky’s happy hour, which takes place Monday through Friday starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. Additionally you can check out one of The Whisky’s top notch shows such as Ultimate Jam Night, a free immersive Rock ‘N Roll show that integrates over 50 of the world’s greatest musicians into a 4-hour live performance of unrehearsed cover tunes from a wide-range of popular music. See show dates here!
Rainbow Bar and Grill - 9015 Sunset Blvd.
The Rainbow Bar and Grill has been known as the ultimate hangout to hang out alongside famous regulars since 1972, from its early years with John Lennon and Elvis Presley to the rockstar royalty of the ‘80s and ‘90s with Vince Neil and Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe, Brett Michaels of Poison, David Lee Roth, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, comedian Sam Kineson, and Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Chad Smith of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Despite the fact that Axl Rose was thrown out of the club 11 times, Guns N' Roses, featured the Rainbow in their music videos for “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry.” For those wanting to live their best rockstar life, sidle up to the bar that once served the likes of Johnny Cash, Billy Idol and Lemmy from Motörhead and order a rockin’ cocktail featuring rock legend Sammy Hagar’s award-winning Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum.
Roxy Theatre - 9099 Sunset Blvd.
Next to the Rainbow is the Roxy Theater. One of the best known live music venues in the world, the stage at the Roxy has hosted performances by Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Ramones, Van Morrison, Adele, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Guns N' Roses, Genesis, Foo Fighters and Jane’s Addiction.
You don’t have to be on the guest list to try one of their signature 1920’s style cocktails, which have been a hit since they first introduced them, with massive names like Robert De Niro, John Lennon and Alice Cooper among many others sipping the libations in the exclusive VIP lounge located above the Roxy, “On The Rox.”
The Viper Room - 8852 Sunset Blvd.
Last but not least, make sure to check out the Viper Room while it's still in its original, gritty incarnation. Slated to be torn down and re-imagined as part of a sleek new development, you can still check out the intimate, darkened club that was once also known as “Johnny Depp’s joint” and the host of bands like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Green Day, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Weezer, Iggy Pop and many more. The Viper Room’s legendary underground poker games hosted top celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck and Leonardo Dicaprio, and inspired the film “Molly’s Game.” Check out one of the Viper Room’s upcoming shows while sipping a whiskey and trying your best to look celebrity-chic.
When you’re finished touring these notorious Sunset Strip hotspots and want to lay your head down like Leonardo DiCaprio, book a room at the Mondrian, home of the renowned SkyBar, or head down to the infamous Chateau Marmont which has been a second home to Hollywood royalty such as John Belushi, Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, Keanu Reeves and more.