The Viper Room is a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, United States located on the Sunset Strip. It opened in 1993, and was owned in part by actor Johnny Depp. The other owner of the role was Sal Jenco who appeared with Depp in 21 Jump Street. The club was known as a Hollywood elite hangout, and was the location where actor River Phoenix died in 1993 from a drug overdose on the morning of Halloween. Australian singer Jason Donovan had a drug-induced seizure at the club in early 1995, and survived. The Viper Room has undergone many ownership changes, and it continues to feature multi-genre music from industrial, punk rock, and alternative rock.
While predominantly known as a music venue, the Viper Room also hosts a lower level below the stage and audience area, which is home to a large whiskey bar.
The location was originally a grocery store, from 1921 into the 1940s. In the 1940s it was converted into a nightclub called the “Cotton Club”, entirely unrelated to the Harlem original. This was soon replaced by “The Greenwich Village Inn”, the “Rue Angel” and finally “The Last Call” during the 1940s. From 1951–1969, the location was a bar called “The Melody Lounge”. In 1969 (or 1973), it became “Filthy McNasty’s”. It became a jazz club named “The Central” in the 1980s This nightclub was close to being shut down before Chuck E. Weiss, who had been playing there for years, suggested that Depp revitalize the spot and rename it “The Viper Room.” Tom Waits had a hand to redevelop the spot, too.
Despite River Phoenix’s death the venue opened the year the club became and remained a hangout for the most popular young actors and musicians in Hollywood. Regulars included Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Marie Presley, Jared Leto, Christina Applegate, Angelina Jolie, Rosario Dawson, Tobey Maguire, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Adam Duritz, Counting Crows ‘ lead singer, served as a Viper Room bartender at the end of 1994–the beginning of 1995 to avoid his new fame. Johnny Cash appeared at the venue, debuting material that would later appear on American Recordings, his 1994 album. Throughout 1997, at the time of his ill physical condition caused by drug abuse, the Viper Room was also a venue of some early solo live performances by John Frusciante. Since 1995 until 2001 the Pussycat Dolls played there.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed on the opening night of the club, at Depp’s request. The Viper Room continues to host Metal and punk rock bands frequently.
This interesting landmark is located near the following amazing site in West Hollywood, California:
- The Sunset Strip
- Andaz West Hollywood
- The Pacific Design Center
- The Roxy Theatre
- Plummer Park
- Comedy Store
- Sierra Towers
- Saint Victor Catholic Church
All of these wonderful locations are located just a short distance from our location located at 8654 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood! Stop by for a visit anytime!