City: Los Angeles
Address: 9081 Santa Monica Blvd.
Coolest Feature: Home to the debut performances of an endless list of legends
Since its 1957 founding, this West Hollywood nightclub has created a storied history that includes the debut performances of artists including Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Metallica. Landmark moments include Richard Pryor recording his debut album Richard Pryor in 1968 and Pearl Jam performing their very first show under the name Pearl Jam.
This is also the very place where an impressed David Geffen went out on a limb and signed Guns N' Roses after witnessing their first show, where Neil Diamond introduced Elton John for his very first show in the U.S., and where Fiona Apple's first performed. Hell, even the original blunt brothers Cheech and Chong were discovered here. It's served as the launch pad for countless legends, and to this day remains one of the go-to live music venues for acts passing through L.A. Not bad for a place that began as a coffee shop.