Arts & Culture

Jim Morrison’s Favorite Hangouts in West Hollywood

The lead singer of The Doors knew this neighborhood well


If Jim Morrison were alive today, there’s no doubt the Lizard King would still be hanging around West Hollywood. Some of the most memorable music moments of Morrison’s life happened in local establishments—and a few of them are still around. Below, we share several of his favorite haunts.

The Extension (former site)

8500 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, California

Today’s it’s an Al & Ed’s Autosound but back in the 1960s it was called The Extension and it was a regular hangout for Jim Morrison. This is where he’d often meet with journalists to give interviews and in fact, the now famous Rolling Stone magazine interview with Jerry Hopkins was conducted at this site.

Themis (former site)

947 La Cienega Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

Themis was the boutique run by Morrison’s girlfriend Pamela Courson. It was basically financed by Morrison and was in business for about three years starting in the late 1960s. Back then, it would not be uncommon to find the singer hanging out here.

The Palms (former site)

8572 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

Between band rehearsals, Jim Morrison would frequent this bar to drink beer and whiskey during the breaks in the action.

Monaco Liquor

8513 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

This liquor store is where The Doors would often buy booze during rehearsal breaks. Its close proximity to the band’s studio, offices, and other haunts made it the perfect spot to stock up—and it remains virtually unchanged today.

Kaleidoscope (former site)

8433 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

Today it’s the world famous Comedy Store, but back in the 1960s, after first starting out as Ciro’s restaurant and nightclub, it was known as The Kaleidoscope. Many bands played here during that time, including The Doors who appeared here April 21-23, 1967.

Cinematheque 16 (former site)

8818 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

Today it’s the wonderful store Book Soup but back in the 1960s it was a small movie theater called Cinematheque 16. It was here that Jim Morrison read his poetry during a Norman Mailer Benefit on May 30-31, 1969. He was accompanied by former Doors member Robby Krieger on guitar, and the song Far Arden Blues was recorded during this stint and later appeared on the album An American Prayer.

Photo courtesy of Mid-Century Modern Los Angeles Facebook page.

Gil Turner’s Liquor Store

9101 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

This is sometimes called the “Liquor store to the stars,” and Morrison would often walk over here from the nearby Whisky a Go Go in between sets to buy booze (the Whisky did not yet have a liquor license).

The Cock’n’Bull (former site)

9170 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

This was at one time a prime rock ’n’ roll hangout in L.A. and also a place where you could often find Jim Morrison eating. Infamously, back in 1970, he supposedly left here drunk and began acting like a matador out on Sunset Boulevard in front of the restaurant, waving his jacket at passing cars.

Photo courtesy of Vintage Los Angeles.

Barney’s Beanery

8447 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, California

On the night she died, Janis Joplin (a regular at this classic L.A. haunt) sat at her favorite booth, #34, and downed two screwdrivers before heading up to the Landmark Hotel where she died later that evening, on October 4, 1970. But this was also a favorite spot of Jim Morrison’s, who hung out here with Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, among many others. A plaque at the bar commemorates the former Doors singer.

Chris Epting
About Chris Epting
Chris Epting is the author of 30 travel/history books, including James Dean Died Here (Santa Monica Press), Roadside Baseball (McGraw Hill), Hello It's Me, Dispatches From a Pop Culture Junkie (Santa Monica Press) and many others. He is also an award-winning travel writer and has contributed articles for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Westways and Travel + Lesiure magazine, among other publications. In addition, Chris is a veteran music journalist and recently co-wrote Def Leppard's Phil Collen's memoir, Adrenalized, and the John Oates Memoir Change of Seasons. Originally from New York, Chris now lives in Huntington Beach, California with his wife and their two children.

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