It may be a nostalgia pit, but the Rainbow Bar & Grill’s colorful history goes beyond the hairsprayed metal hordes that cover its walls in photos and memorabilia. In the ’70s (it opened in ’72 with an Elton John party) it was the hangout for everyone from Led Zeppelin to John Lennon, and even the King himself, Elvis, who frequented the Rainbow after nights at the nearby Whisky and Roxy. Still, the place’s profile was heightened most in the ’80s when Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” video was filmed here. Besides GNR, Motley Crue, Poison and all the biggest bands of the era haunted this cozy restaurant and bar, which in many ways embodied the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle that fueled their music. The Strip isn’t nearly as debauched as it was back then, but walk into this mahogany-covered, red-booth-lined boîte and you almost feel like it is. Comfort food (the pizza is still the best thing on the menu), extremely stiff drinks, riff-heavy tunes on the sound system, the raucous bar upstairs (karaoke and occasional live bands) and the plastic-tarped outdoor bar area’s view of the strip keep the Rainbow vibrant, despite its cheesy retro ambience. 9015 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (310) 278-4232. —Lina Lecaro
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