“I can picture the neon sign on the Sunset Strip in my mind right now,” says Rolling Stone contributor Frank Schruers of the famous Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood. The iconic red striped letters spelling out “R-O-X-Y” have been synonymous with the Los Angeles club scene since the early 1970s. Schruers, who named the club one of the top five L.A. music venues on the California Now Podcast, says, “You can’t beat the Roxy for immersion in rock ‘n’ roll L.A. culture.”
The Roxy was founded by Grammy-award-winning record producer Lou Adler along with Elmer Valentine, owner of Whisky a Go Go. On September 20, 1973, the venue celebrated its opening with a famous three-day, six-set concert by Neil Young. Fans can experience the magic of this inaugural concert with the 1975 live album Roxy—Tonight’s the Night Live.
The “tiny bit claustrophobic” club, as Schruers calls it, has served as the stage for a handful of other famous live albums as well. Bob Marley & The Wailers and Warren Zevon recorded Live at the Roxy and Stand In The Fire here, respectively. The upstairs bar, On the Rox, is now open to the public (over age 21), but it was once a secret members-only clubhouse, which required a physical key for entry. On the Rox helped fuel the John Lennon and May Pang’s infamous “Lost Weekend.”
The venue is now run by Alder’s son, Nic, and hosts shows nearly every night. Cypress Hill, Hello Seahorse!, and Local H are all recent performers. Those looking for a laugh can get tickets to a comedy night. The club, which regularly hosted Cheech & Chong in the 1970s, also has a strong stand-up tradition. Whatever sort of performance strikes your fancy, Schruers says, “It’s not to be missed if you find yourself on Sunset Strip.”