The Sunset Strip is in a sexy and sophisticated phase. The famous boulevard has gone through many different musical guises over the past several decades, from the riotous go-go hotspots and legendary stage debuts of the ‘60s and ‘70s, to the metal mayhem of the ‘80s, to the velvet-roped DJ ragers of the ‘90s and early 2000s. Post-COVID restrictions, this part of West Hollywood seems to have bounced back, but in a more glam, grown-up way, with intimate rooms like The Sun Rose providing superstar-driven music moments that harken back to the area’s illustrious Old Hollywood heyday and inception.

You can still cruise up the Strip to rock out at the Roxy and Whisky or dance the night away at Hyde or Bootsy Bellows, but those of us who’ve been there/done that, seek a more curated kind of nightlife these days. The 150-capacity Sun Rose has blossomed into a hot spot thanks to its sleek, color-saturated yet warmly lit surroundings, interactive spirit, and focus on elevating the shared crowd experience and sound quality. Located in the Pendry Hotel and sister space to its members-only Britely Social Club, the room has been a best-kept secret for music this past year, but clearly the word has gotten out.

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T-Pain’s ‘Covers’ show. (Michelle Shiers)

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Justin Timberlake at Adam Blackstone’s Legacy series (Michelle Shiers)

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Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra (Michelle Shiers)

A little background on the Pendry – it stands where the House of Blues used to be, which is sacred ground to anyone who went there and saw shows there over the years. The 1,500 capacity HOB Sunset Strip closed in 2015 to make room for the current development, and while it is missed by many, the new properties here are equally atmospheric, just in a different way. The complex is gorgeous, with maximalist art deco touches throughout, especially in the Britely Social Club’s pink-hued meeting space, which has a restaurant, bar and bowling alley.

Wolfgang Puck oversees two restaurants in the building, the luxe rooftop space called Merois, offering city views, with a raw bar and sushi menu; and Ospero, a relaxed, airy and open street-level eaterie with views of the Comedy Store that features a wood-burning oven and fun signature cocktails. Both places provide perfect bites and sights before a performance at Sun Rose, though the club offers a limited menu itself as well.

At the recently sold-out Jeff Goldblum show, the seating arrangements and extra-participatory room made it feel like a soiree among friends. The actor starts each set with some conversation, questions and answers, and even trivia, including a Six Degrees of Jeff Goldblum-style game. When he finally sits at the piano, he lets the keys, complemented by the sensual sounds of his full jazz band – the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – do the communicating.

“We inaugurated this joint,” Goldblum tells LA Weekly before his set. “I love this room. (It’s) intimate, of course, and it’s laid out in a way so a fellow like me can make spontaneous contact with the audience.”

“As they say, it’s a ‘listening room,’” the quirkily verbose actor continues. ”It’s for serious listening. It’s got great acoustics and the professional system is tippity-top notch; the instruments are, too – I mean that’s a heck of a nice piano.”

The piano is a gleaming C7 Grand, and Goldblum was one of the the first to play it before the room was officially opened and named in spring of 2022. The three-month secret residency helped set the tone for the place, which kept its bookings consistently stellar ever since. Mike Garson (David Bowie’s pianist, probably best known for this iconic work on Aladdin Sane) alongside Director of Talent Sharyn Goldyn, conceived the “Bowie’s Piano Man” series, billed as an evening of storytelling and guests interpreting the departed Starman’s catalog with Garson. The sold-out shows featured the likes of Luke Spiller of The Struts, Evan Rachel Wood, Jake Wesley Rogers, Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Beck to name a few.

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Mike Garson and Evan Rachel Wood (Michelle Shiers)

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Joy Downer, Beck and Luke Spiller with Mike Garson (Michelle Shiers)

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Chloe Bailey with Adam Blackstone (Michelle Shiers)

Goldyn says the venue strays from the standard live show format of “headliner/opening act” and instead has a focus on building out unique “evenings with” residencies featuring new soul, jazz and down-tempo musicians and legacy artists. She cites Adam Blackstone (musical director for the last five Super Bowl halftime shows) and his Legacy series as another example of the superlative stratum of musical guests. The pop-up shows included surprise performances from Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, BJ the Chicago Kid and Anthony Hamilton.

“T-Pain, who released his “Covers” album last March, did a three-night residency at The Sun Rose that sold out in seconds.” she adds. “These were the only shows in the country he hosted, trading in his infamous auto tune and rapping for an evening of cover songs highlighting his unexpected, stunning vocal range that crowned him the first winner of The Masked Singer. Nicole Scherzinger, a judge on the show and former Pussycat Doll, showed another side of her vocal talent at The Sun Rose with three nights of Jazz and Broadway standards accompanied by a 10-piece band.”

Another special show took place in June when Christian James Hand’s “Session” experience offered a chat with DEVO”s Mark Mothersbaugh, breaking down recorded tracks from the original studio session of  “Girl You Want” off of their seminal Freedom of Choice album. Previously, the pair discussed the band’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.”

While The Britely is members only, the restaurants and The Sun Rose are open to the public. Nothing here is exactly budget-friendly and that includes the drink menu, but the talent offerings so far have been priceless. That said, in addition to ticketed shows, the venue hosts a free weekly night of funk and jazz with a rotating cast of musicians led by Brazilian guitarist Carlinhos Rocha. Goldyn says it’s “quickly become the best night of live music on the Sunset Strip.”

Next up at The Sun Rose, Lady Blackbird, dubbed by some as the “Grace Jones of Jazz” starts a three-week residency in August, her first major headline shows in the United States.

The Sun Rose, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.
















































































































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