Because Sunset Strip's most iconic venue that does NOT have a memorial to River Phoenix on the outside is now also the first live music spot in the US with its own, only-available-there craft beer -- a toasted malt number brewed with the aid of Karl Strauss and featuring citrus tones and a hoppy kick called "No. 1" on tap -- it seems like the appropriate time to inform you of some of the crazy-historical ish that's gone down there in the 40yrs it's been serving other people's toasted malt beverages.
Among the reasons to care:
- Before it was a music venue, it was a strip club called the Largo, the place where infamous mobster Mickey Cohen met and started his relationship with legendary stripper/sweet tooth Candy Barr, who also dated Jack Ruby, the guy who shot Lee Harvey Oswald. So basically, according to Oliver Stone, the Roxy, as played by Gary Oldman, killed JFK.
- The first American run of The Rocky Horror Show started at the Roxy, before it was made into the cult film that became synonymous with high school kids that worked at Blockbuster, then eventually worked in the video section at Best Buy, once they shut down their Blockbuster location.
- The power went out on the first show ever in 1973, so Neil Young bought the whole crowd rounds of tequila -- clearly not a pee-wee move.
- Although this is: Pee-Wee's Playhouse debuted here as well, which led to a weekly residency, which led to a TV show, which led to millions of kids believing disembodied genie heads actually lived in their mom's jewelry boxes.
- Amy Grant never played here.
- The sometime-VIP upstairs room On The Rox is where infamous madam Heidi Fleiss used to throw parties, John Belushi hung out before fatally overdosing, and John Lennon frequented during his notorious, drug-fueled "Lost Weekend", in which he became so enamored of J.J. Abrams' pilot episode that he watched all five seasons in 48hrs.
Tonight, they're launching the beer with a private (but winnable-to-you) holiday party featuring all-you-can-drink brews, food from the Grilled Cheese Truck, and a show from Santa Barbara's Whiskey Piss, even though this time hard booze actually isn't the reason you'll be going No. 1.
Photo by Jason Speth