The Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset Strip also belongs in our discussions of legendary music venues, though in a different way. It was more of a hangout for the heavyweights in rock after they played neighboring venues such as the Roxy next door, or the nearby Viper Room, Troubadour, or Whisky’s.
Before becoming the Rainbow, it was a restaurant called the Villa Nova. It was then owned by Vincente Minnelli who was married to Judy Garland. In 1972 it opened as the Rainbow Bar and Grill with a party for Elton John.
The lower level is a restaurant and the upstairs is a club called Over the Rainbow (you can see Judy Garland’s presence here) that has a full bar, dance floor and DJ booth.
Though it is located in West Hollywood, the name Rainbow has nothing to do with gay pride. At the time the name was adopted it stood for peace and freedom. The Rainbow Room, as it is commonly known, became a hangout for celebrities. Regulars included Keith Moon, Alice Cooper, Micky Dolenz, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Neil Diamond.
It’s also known as the place where John Belushi ate his last meal. And the place where Marilyn Monroe met Joe DiMaggio on a blind date in 1952.
During the Eighties, the clientele shifted to the heavy metal crowd. Members of Motley Crue, Poison, W.A.S.P., LA Guns, and Guns N’ Roses were known to hang out there.
It wasn’t until 2016 that the Rainbow Room began having live music. Despite its late start, it was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History for introducing the world to new Heavy Metal acts in 2017.
The Rainbow Bar and Grill is located at 9015 Sunset Blvd.