What do we remember about the famous The Viper Room?
by Ana Walia | Sat, 05 Mar 2022 19:15:14 GMT
The Viper Room was partly owned by actor Johnny Depp until 2004. Image Source: People 

The Viper Room is being demolished and reconstructed into luxury condominiums, stores, and restaurants.

Actor Johnny Depp, along with his 21st Jump Street co-star Sal Jenco, opened the Viper Room in 1993 in the heart of Hollywood at 8852 West Sunset Boulevard. The Viper Room was a historic hotspot that was publicized as a music venue that had a whisky bar and was a place of a hangout for various celebrities.

Some of the performers at the Viper Room include Tom Petty, The Stokes, Johnny Cash, Dogstar, Juliette, and the Licks. A lot of other elite celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Pamela Anderson, Sean Penn, Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Drew Barrymore, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and Charlize Theron, have been spotted at the place.

According to reports by Deadline, the iconic Viper Room is being turned into a residential building with luxury condominiums, cafes, stores, a recording studio, a music venue, and restaurants with original Viper Room memorabilia featured throughout the building. Silver Creek Development, an LA-based firm, is doing the transition of the building.

The name "Viper Room" was given after a group of pot-smoking musicians and was quite famous back in the days as it had been a hotspot for celebrities' parties and, according to sources, poker games. The Viper Room was caught in a controversy in 2001 when actor Johnny Depp’s business partner, Anthony Fox, reportedly accused the actor of fraud but never appeared to testify in court.

Kate Moss and Johnny Depp at The Viper Club. Image Source: Showbiz Cheat Sheet 

In 1993, actor River Phoenix, who had appeared in movies like Stand By Me, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho, passed away on the sidewalk right outside the Viper Room due to a drug overdose. The actor was 23 when he passed away and was at the Viper Room to attend a performance along with his girlfriend, Samantha Mathis, brother Joaquin, and sister Rain. The actor

River's girlfriend later said in a statement that she knew something was wrong that night. She said that she did not see anyone doing drugs but the way River was high in a way that made her uncomfortable. According to reports, the actor was escorted outside by a bouncer after he got in a fight with someone and it was then when he had the cardiac arrest and passed away. Samantha said it was the heroin that killed him and that he was fine until he was inside the Viper Room. The autopsy revealed that it was an overdose of cocaine and heroin. There were also some traces of Valium, marijuana, and ephedrine found in his system. The Viper Room was shut down for a week after River’s death and was closed every year from October 31st until 2004.

After River’s tragic passing away, The Viper Room drew more attention from the people around, the celebrities, and everybody just popped in to have a good time. In 1997, Australian rockstar Michael Hutchence performed for the last time on-stage at The Viper Room before he decided to take his own life.

River Phoenix passed away due to drug overdose on the sidewalk just outside The Viper Room. Image Source: Daily Star 

The Viper Room was not only a hangout for celebrities, but it had also appeared in films such as Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Valley Girl in 1983, and Oliver Stone's The Doors. It was reportedly an inspiration for 2017’s Molly’s Game.

Johnny Depp owned The Viper Room until he decided to give away control to Amanda Fox, daughter of Anthony Fox, in 2004. CEO James Cooper and Silver Creek Development currently own the Viper Room and are certain to transition it into something more memorable while keeping the iconic Viper Room’s memory alive. The construction of the new project is set to begin next year.