Janell Shirtcliff/Courtesy of Best Coast

Best Coast Celebrates Pappy & Harriet’s

Best Coast Celebrates Pappy & Harriet’s
The Los Angeles rock duo loves performing at this unique desert venue

Anyone who has ever attended a concert at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, or scarfed down a plate of its celebrated macaroni and cheese, knows it is a special place. The venue’s remote location—nestled between the San Bernardino National Forest and Joshua Tree National Park, some 30 miles north of Palm Springs—is central to its appeal. So is the desert dive’s colorful history: Pappy & Harriet’s stands on the site of a movie set from the 1940s and is still surrounded by old facades used in Hollywood westerns.

Nobody, it seems, is immune to its unique ambience—not even the artists who perform there. “It's such a cool vibe—unlike any venue I've ever played,” says Bethany Cosentino, the singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the indie rock duo Best Coast. “You feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, because you are. But it's such an awesome feeling, and you're really not far from L.A. at all.”

“We play a lot of venues these days where the stage is quite far from the crowd, but at Pappy & Harriet's the crowd was right there.” — Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino

Cosentino and her bandmate, Bobb Bruno, are best known for dreamy, psychedelic songs like “Boyfriend” and “The Only Place,” as well as their latest album, the acclaimed California Nights. The group performed at Pappy & Harriet’s in February 2015 and Cosentino’s memories of that particular California night remain vivid.

“I remember how intimate it was,” Cosentino says. “We play a lot of bigger venues these days, venues where the stage is quite far from the crowd, but at Pappy & Harriet's the crowd was right there. It felt like an old-school Best Coast show but in this crazy, unique environment. I remember all the people in the front row were dancing and singing along and just looked like they were having the best time—it was really special.”

For many, a big part of the thrill of attending a show at Pappy & Harriet’s is the journey itself. “People drive from all over to go to shows there,” Cosentino remarks, adding that the Los Angeles–based band stopped at a few rest stops on the way to its 2015 performance, enjoying the beautiful landscape along the way.

“I always just look out at the desert and think about what kind of plants and wildlife live out there, and think about how it's such a short distance from my city life,” she adds. “It's very peaceful and calming to leave the city and just be out in the dry desert with these huge skies and beautiful views. I adore it.”

“I love living in a place where you can go to the mountains, go to the beach, go to the desert, go to the heart of the city—all in one day.” — Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino

You can feel Cosentino’s love for the Golden State in the video for the song “California Nights,” which features footage of desert landscapes.

“I wrote the song right before we went into the studio to start recording the record. I had been listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California’ on repeat the night before, and when I woke up, I just felt really inspired to write something sort of psychedelic and dreamy. Nighttime in California is a very ethereal thing, and so for me it made a ton of sense to write this song that had a very woozy, heavy, and dreamy vibe that talked about California nights, love, and so many things that can make me feel out of this world.

“The weather here inspires me on so many levels,” she continues. “When it's warm and sunny and bright outside, I feel a lot more inspired to be creative than I would if it was gloomy and cold all the time. I love living in a place where you can go to the mountains, go to the beach, go to the desert, go to the heart of the city—all in one day. All of that stuff really just makes me who I am, and Best Coast is heavily inspired by the person California has made me.”

—John Godfrey

Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace
An 1870s frontier town–style movie set in the middle of the California desert that is not only a much loved, family-friendly destination, but also one of the most legendary indie music venues in the state. The story touches on Hollywood, California's music scene, the desert setting, family attractions and the Dreamers who made this an incredibly unique place.
Kodiak Greenwood

Discover the Deserts

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.

Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.

Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

David H. Carriere/Getty Images

California’s Spring 2017 Wildflower Forecast

Where to find this year’s extraordinary bounty of blooms, from poppies to lupine and chocolate lilies

The most abundant winter precipitation to hit California in a decade has flower aficionados budding with optimism about the...

Find beauty, wildlife, and solitude in three of America’s newest national preserves

You could call it a monumental achievement: In February 2016, three new national monuments were created, protecting a combined total of 1.8 million acres of California desert. The names of the...

California’s New Desert Monuments
Ann Marie Brown
In 1867, the U.S. Army established Fort Piute (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) along the Old Spanish Trail that crossed the Mojave Desert from the Colorado River to San Bernardino, California.
At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Greater Palm Springs

Hipster cool in the desert. Das Ledderhosen!

Fed by underground springs, the desert comes alive here, not only with signature palms, but also with a string of resort communities—Palm Desert,...

Luxury Resorts in the Desert
Lucas Himovitz

Luxury Resorts in the Desert

Relax at spoil-yourself spas under the desert sun

Pampering just comes with the territory in the California desert. Maybe in the old days, desert visitors had to pack in supplies and sleep on the...

Route 66 - Mother Road

Trip 3-4 days 10 stops

Route 66 - Mother Road

Legendary Highway, California Dream
Santa Monica

Start your trip in this idyllic oceanfront city, bounded by a 3.5-mi/5.6-km-long beach, and feeling more like a weekend getaway spot than a city just a few minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Car-free options, including a shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport (8 miles/13 km south) make...

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

On your way to this park, you’ll pass through the little community of Borrego Springs. Stop in at the town’s visitor center to get driving maps to an astounding collection of enormous prehistoric animals—metal sculptures made by artist Ricardo Breceda—that dot the surrounding desert landscape....

Spotlight: Joshua Tree National Park
Alex Farnum

Spotlight: Joshua Tree National Park

Rugged mountains, vibrant sunsets & uncountable stars

Boulders and buttresses, rugged mountains, gold mining ruins, desert plains dotted with the oddball trees—this is one weird place. Joshua Tree,...

This is the sense of the desert hills, that there is room enough and time enough.
Mary Austin
Laura Flippen

Desert Shopping

From boutiques to bargains, vintage to boho-chic, you’ll find it here

In-the-know visitors make sure to come to the Palm Springs area with room in their suitcases. Bargain hunters make a beeline for the town of...

Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

Shopping Hot Spots
Golf & tennis
Kodiak Greenwood

Golf & tennis

Swing clubs and racquets where the pros do in the Coachella Valley

With world-class golf courses set against dramatic desert landscapes and top-quality tennis courts beneath towering palms, two sports get classy...

Mid-Century Modern Design
Courtesy of Elvis Presley Estate

Mid-Century Modern Design

Swing into Sinatra cool in Palm Springs

Filled with distinctive post-World War II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s Mid-century Modern mecca...

The lowest golf course in the world is Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at 214 feet below sea level.
From edgy rock n’ roll to haute couture fashion, there’s a festival for you in the desert

For all of the desert’s natural splendour and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...

 Events in the Desert
Lucas Himovitz
Vast landscapes, spectacular desert vistas

Both vast and intimate, the California desert is a region that ranges from arid, barren expanses to oasis-like canyons with hidden waterfalls. Towering sand dunes rise above the desert floor,...

Alex Farnum
Amboy Crater
Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Amboy Crater

Hike into a 6,000-year-old volcanic remnant

Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973 and located just off historic Route 66, Amboy Crater is an example of geology creating geometry—it’...

Fossil Falls
Greater Southwestern Exploration Company/Flickr

Fossil Falls

Rushing river, sculpted black lava

The truth is that the name Fossil Falls is a bit of a misnomer. After all, there are neither fossils nor a waterfall here. But a walk through...