Ever since the release of the non-fiction Hollywood expose, Hollywood Babylon, Los Angeles is known for its nightlife debauchery. After the critically acclaimed book became available for public consumption, no actor or actress was above suspicion for strange sexual conduct, overindulgence, hissy fits, and tax evasion. While some who read the book were shocked by the scandalous tales, an equal amount longed to be at the scenes of the crimes, many of which occurred under the starry sky of the Los Angeles night. From the legendary Sunset Strip to Melrose Place, the Hollywood nightlife scene is one of the most mysterious and intriguing in the country. If you are looking to be a part of it, read on, for the hippest places on the Los Angeles Nightlife scene.
1. Thirty Minute Helicopter Flight
Want to sweep someone off of his or her feet? A thirty-minute helicopter flight around Los Angeles might just do the trick. Climb in at Bob Hope Airport and get a birds-eye view of downtown LA at dusk and then zip over to the breathtaking Hollywood Hills to take in the iconic Hollywood sign. Next stop: Staples Center where you can get an overhead view of LA’s premier sports complex, and then onto the glamorous lights of Universal Studios, to get a behind the scenes look at where Hollywood magic is made. Grab a flight departing from Burbank and see LA as its meant to be seen, above the lights and the Hills, and into the starry skies.
2. The Comedy Store
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and mix that with some great food and drinks, and you’re going to be feeling no pain. The Comedy Store is so iconic it even has its own page on Wikipedia, and its prestigious Sunset Boulevard address is only part of it.
The Store was founded in 1972 by comedian Sammy Shore who was looking for a place to work when he wasn’t on tour opening for Elvis Presley. It took off when Sammy recruited comedian friends like Tim Conway, Redd Foxx and Buddy Hackett as coworkers. Since then it has become the launching pad for such comedians as David Letterman, Andy Kauffman, Robin Williams and Jay Leno, and so many more. If you’re shopping for comedy, the Comedy Store is the place to find it.
3. The Viper Room
Anything Johnny Depp touches turns to gold in Hollywood, so it’s no surprise that when Johnny opened the world famous Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in 1993, it was bound for success. Not long after Johnny put his name in cement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he felt his vampire blood returning. His passion for music called, and he answered. Depp opened the Viper Room as a world-class venue where all his boyhood heroes could perform for the upscale Hollywood crowd.
Since its opening, the intimate club has hosted such performers as Queens of the Stone Age, Bruce Springsteen, Courtney Love, and Iggy Pop, to name a paltry few, and you may even catch a rare glimpse of Johnny himself, checking up on things.
4. The Frolic Room
If you’re looking for the seedier side of Hollywood, the Frolic Room is arguably the quintessential Los Angeles dive bar. Located next door to the legendary Pantages Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, some may argue that the Frolic Room deserves its own star on the Walk.
It’s been used as the set for numerous films, including LA Confidential and Black Dahlia, and has probably popped up in many incarnations in the writing of Charles Bukowski, the author known as much for his drinking as his writing. You’ll find his portrait above the register, along with an Al Hirshfield mural featuring caricatures of Hollywood royalty including everyone from Albert Einstein to Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe flanking the eastern wall behind the red vinyl seats and dim lighting, and frolicking galore.
5. Canter’s Deli
If you get a late night hankering for bagels and lox, Canter’s on Fairfax is the 24- hour Jewish deli restaurant in a city in which great delis are a rarity, but Jews are not. First brought to Los Angeles from Jersey boy siblings, the Canter brothers, Canter’s is an authentic taste of the east coast among the pine trees and smog tinted sunlight of Los Angeles.
Voted #1 Best Pastrami by the Los Angeles Times, the Canter’s pastrami sandwiches are always piled high, and served on rye bread, unless you ask for a substitution, but don’t! Mama Canter won’t approve. Inexpensive though the menu is, that does not seem to keep the celebrities away. In the 1950’s, Arthur Miller and Marilyn could be seen here eating matzo ball soup, and other celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Bill Cosby, Rodney Dangerfield, Prince, The Cars, and Olivia Newton-John, and John Travolta (Sandy and Danny – separately but nonetheless…) have all been seem noshing on corn beef and pickles or simply drinking some of the incredible cocktail and kibitzing in the Kibitz Room (the restaurants acoustic performance room).
6. Jumbo’s Clown Room
If you like your women hot, your music heavy, and your drinks stiff, Jumbo’s Clown Room is an old school style exotic bar in East Hollywood. The little bar with the big drinks celebrates the heavy metal heyday of the Sunset Strip, so turn on the Warrant, get your hair high, and get ready for a little “Cherry Pie,” and forget the late night DJs, at Jumbo’s, its ladies’ choice. The dancers from the jukebox, and if they’re into it, chances are, you will be too. No nudity – as the club puts it,”Why no nudity? Cause you can get a real drink.” Lap dances are available, tipping is appreciated, and fun is a must at Jumbo’s. Come down and clown around.
Updated: March 6, 2018