Chasing the Sunset in West Hollywood

August 16, 2005

Chasing the Sunset in West Hollywood

In the heart of West Hollywood lies Sunset Strip. One of the most famous live music strips in the world; the sounds from decades past can almost be heard from every street corner. It’s where bands from big cities, small towns and everything in between go to get discovered. It is their goal to play ‘the circuit’ – the Whiskey, Roxy, Viper Room and Troubadour.

So what’s so special about these venues? The likes of The Doors, Janis Joplin, No Doubt and Guns’n’Roses all did their time as the house band at the Whiskey and Jimi Hendrix would often cruise in and jam with whoever was on stage. The Viper Room (part owned by Johnny Depp) plays host to ‘surprise nights’ where bands including The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots and Billy Idol just rock up on any given night and play a show to the 100 or so unsuspecting guests. And of course this is where River Pheonix died.

The Roxy may be the most legendary of them all. Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and David Bowie have introduced the audience to their versions of rock here and Australia’s The Living End packed the place at the end of a lucrative US tour. Next door to the Roxy is the Rainbow Bar. Whilst not a live club as such, it still warrants a mention. This rocker hangout provides great celebrity spotting and a good chuckle at the expense of those still sporting 80’s glam-rock outfits and hairdos. Marilyn Manson, Fred Durst, Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson and Drew Barrymore were all regulars at this bar where Anthony Keidis grew up in while his Dad was the resident drug dealer.

Just off Sunset along Santa Monica Boulevard is the Troubadour. Opened in 1957, the Troubadour is the oldest live rock venue in West Hollywood. Pearl Jam, Henry Rollins and The Offspring all received their ‘leg-up’ here. If you’ve spent too many nights seeing too many bands, it’s time you visited Barney’s Beanery. Possibly the best bar in the world, Barney’s is home to an eclectic mix. Actors, screenwriters, authors, artists, Los Angeles residents and visitors from across the globe converge on this West Hollywood hangout. Barney’s is an esoteric and inclusionary delight in an increasingly exclusive tinsel town. And did I mention that the menu is over 16-pages and they serve over 200 varieties of beer! Sundays would be the most entertaining day at Barney’s. The bar houses 60 televisions and every football game across the States is aired between 10am and 7pm. Redskins fans here, Giants fans there. Even if you don’t like the game, you will be caught up in the excitement and emotion.

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