Monday, March 14, 2011

The Rainbow Bar & Grill- Sunset Strip, Hollywood, CA.

I had my very first legal drink ever here in April of 1982. I am pretty sure it was a Pina Colada.  That was before 'West' Hollywood was a city.

The Rainbow Bar and Grill is a bar and restaurant on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, United States adjacent to the border of Beverly Hills, California. Its address is 9015 Sunset Boulevard.

The bottom level of the Rainbow is the restaurant, The Rainbow Bar and Grill. Upstairs is an exclusive club called "Over the Rainbow". The Over the Rainbow consists of a full bar, dance floor, and a DJ booth. The restaurant is next to The Roxy Theatre and The Key Club.

The restaurant was founded in early 1972 by Elmer Valentine, Lou Adler, Mario Maglieri and others, opening on April 16, 1972 with a party for Elton John. At the time, the word "rainbow" signified peace and freedom. It quickly became known as a hangout for celebrities of all types. John Belushi ate his last meal(lentil soup) at table #16. For many years, the owner was Mario Maglieri.

Before becoming the Rainbow, the restaurant was the Villa Nova restaurant, which was originally owned by film director Vincente Minnelli, at the time married to Judy Garland. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe met at the restaurant on a blind date in 1952.

The Rainbow became known as a hangout for rock musicians and their groupies. Notable regulars at the Rainbow in this period include Lemmy, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Grace Slick, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Lizzy Valentine and many others. Elvis Presley was known to have occasionally visited the Rainbow. Los Angeles songwriter Warren Zevon referenced the scene at the Rainbow in the last verse of his 1976 song "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." The musical group Rainbow was named after this club.

Producer Kim Fowley used to hangout at the Rainbow, especially in 1975, when he formed the all-girl group The Runaways.

As musical trends on the Strip changed towards heavy metal in the 1980s, the Rainbow followed suit. Members of Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Guns N' Roses frequented the bar. It was mentioned in a number of songs, such as "Sunset and Babylon" by W.A.S.P. and "Peach Kelli Pop" by Redd Kross, and featured in the videos of "November Rain", "Estranged" and "Don't Cry" by Guns N' Roses.

Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers noted in his book Scar Tissue that he often sat with his father, Blackie Dammett, at the club along with various members of bands such as Led Zeppelin. Often the waitresses and bartenders were groupies as well as those who frequented the establishment. In Pamela Des Barres' book, Let's Spend the Night Together, Patti Johnson commented that as an employee in the early 1980s she met a number of celebrities including Billy Idol.
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