CelebrityEXCLUSIVE: DEEP INSIDE THE VIPER ROOM | Beyond the Doors of Hollywood’s...

EXCLUSIVE: DEEP INSIDE THE VIPER ROOM | Beyond the Doors of Hollywood’s Haunted Sunset Strip Club

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The Viper Room is a nightclub and live music venue located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, United States. It was established as The Viper Room in 1993 and was partly owned by actor Johnny Depp. The other part owner was Sal Jenco who starred in 21 Jump Street with Depp.The club became known for being a hangout of the young Hollywood elite, and was the site where actor River Phoenix had a fatal drug overdose on the night before Halloween in 1993. In early 1995, Australian singer and actor Jason Donovan suffered a drug-induced seizure at the club, but survived, as well as singer Courtney Love, who was given CPR by Depp after an overdose. In November 1997, Australian rock star Michael Hutchence played his last public performance in the Viper Room, a week before his suicide.

The Viper Room has undergone several changes in ownership, and continues to host music of multiple genres, including metal, 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 to 1969, the location was a bar called “The Melody Lounge”. In 1969, it became “Filthy McNasty’s”. and in the 1980s, a jazz club called “The Central”. This nightclub was close to shutting down before Chuck E. Weiss, who had performed there for years, suggested to Depp that he should revitalize the spot and rename it “The Viper Room”. Tom Waits also had a hand in redeveloping the spot.

Despite the death of River Phoenix the year the venue opened, the club became and remained a hangout for Hollywood’s most popular young actors and musicians. Adam Duritz, the lead singer of Counting Crows, worked as a Viper Room bartender in late 1994 and early 1995 to escape his newfound fame.


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