Rock it Like a VIP: The Viper Room

The Viper Room is a rock nightclub located at Sunset Strip, and was previously owned by renowned Hollywood actor Johnny Depp. The club was opened in 1993 with a performance by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and is frequented by a lot of Hollywood personalities like Jennifer Aniston, Sean Penn, Christina Applegate, Juliette Lewis, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

A lot of people also know The Viper Room as the place where actor River Phoenix died due to drug overdose on the night of October 31st in 1993. Phoenix collapsed and died on the sidewalk just outside the Viper Room. This event was seen by some as some sort of a parallelism to what happened at the Roxy Theatre’s On the Rox, which also made headlines as the place where actor John Belushi last partied before he died of speedball (combination of heroin and cocaine) overdose.

Considered as a rock hotspot in Hollywood, The Viper Room has played host to performances by various musical acts like Billy Idol, Run-D.M.C., Sheryl Crow, Matchbox 20, Oasis, Green Day, The Knack, Iggy Pop, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz, and tons more. Further adding to the coolness of the club is that performances by famous acts aren’t even advertised, they just show up on the club and jam on stage, like when Bruce Springsteen had an impromptu concert.

When classic rock legend Johnny Cash played at the club, celebrities like Juliette Lewis, Johnny Depp, Dwight Yokum, Tom Petty, and Sean Penn were among the lucky few who got to watch the performance. The Viper Room closed temporarily in 1999 for renovation and to give the club a new look. The re-opening was graced with the presence of Hollywood A-listers like Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, and Rosanna Arquette.

The Viper Room is now currently owned by Harry Morton of Pink Taco, and Peter Morton, the son of one of Hard Rock Cafe’s founders. It can be quite hard to get in, so make sure you show up at 9pm when the club opens. Only clubbers aged 21 and up are allowed.

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