The Viper Room rose to Hollywood infamy after River Phoenix tragically overdosed there on Halloween night in 1993, and his brother's harrowing 911 call was broadcast on news channels around the world. Since then, the club famously owned by Johnny Depp has been known as a hotbed for unsavory activity. It was a place that epitomized sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, even after the club's ownership changed hands.
Though tragic, River Phoenix's Viper Room death was just one mark on the property's sordid history, which includes cash-embezzling mobsters, mysterious disappearances, numerous drug overdoses, and an illegal, multi-million dollar gambling ring. Even today, the property is plagued by rumors of ghosts and missing bodies hidden within the bar's black exterior.
The night club's reputation has calmed in recent years after shifting ownership and focusing on breaking underground talent rather than housing well-known rock stars like John Frusciante, who performed a bizarre, drug-fueled set in the '90s, and Queens of the Stone Age, who played for free after they already hit it big. Despite its cleaned-up image, the Viper Room remains haunted with memories of rampant cocaine abuse and lives cut too short.
- Photo: My Own Private Idaho / Fine Line Features
The Viper Room Was Part Of An Illegal, $100 Million-High Stakes Poker Ring For Hollywood Celebrities Like Ben Affleck And Leonardo DiCaprioPhoto: Rounders / Miramax Films
Days Before He Was Supposed To Testify Against Depp, Anthony Fox, A Co-Owner Of The Club, Disappeared