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HISTORY

AVALON is one of Hollywood’s most historic landmarks. From The Beatles first West Coast performance in 1964 to ABC’s hit television variety show The Hollywood Palace to Sasha’s first West Coast DJ residency, the theater at Hollywood & Vine has been a show business epicenter since opening in 1927.

1735 Vine St. opened its doors for the very first time on January 24, 1927, known then as The Hollywood Playhouse. The venue featured traveling shows, bringing in some of the biggest stars from Broadway to perform at the newly-opened theater. After a successful run of shows in the 1920s, the building was renamed to The WPA Federal Theatre and was used for government-sponsored programs throughout the Great Depression. Following this, the building was renamed once again to The El Capitan Theatre in the 1940s and used by CBS to broadcast their network radio shows, as well as hosting a burlesque variety show called Ken Murray’s Blackouts.

In the 1950s, The El Capitan Theatre was converted from a live playhouse into a television studio. Over the course of the decade, the theatre brought icons like Bob Hope, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby to the stage, as well as playing home to television programs The Colgate Comedy Hour and This Is Your Life. On September 23, 1952, Richard Nixon delivered his famous “Checkers Speech”. The theatre was briefly renamed to The Jerry Lewis Theatre while Jerry hosted his weekly Saturday night television program there.

Proceeding the termination of Jerry Lewis’ weekly program, the historic building at 1735 was renamed once again to The Hollywood Palace. ABC created a new variety show at the theatre and featured notable guest hosts like Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, and Joan Crawford. Many notable musical acts got their start on the show, including The Rolling Stones and The Jackson 5. The show, titled The Hollywood Palace Variety Show, was very successful and ran for 7 years, ending in 1970.

Throughout most of the 1970s, ABC chose to lease the building out to various entities to use as a television studio. In 1978, private business man Dennis Lidtke bought the building from ABC. Lidtke extensively restored the building into a concert venue and nightclub, shortening the name to The Palace. Audience seats were removed from the theatre and balcony seating was made accessible for the five-night-a-week mega dance club featuring the largest light and sound system in Los Angeles.

The Palace continued to gain notoriety throughout the 1970s and 1980s as the hottest nightclub in California, and was considered the West Coast version of the infamous Studio 54 nightclub. While the likes of Prince, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones were often seen celebrating at the club, it also became known as the epicenter of British Invasion, with first time US performances from Eurythmics, Culture Club, The Clash, Duran Duran, Erasure, Fine Young Cannibals, Madness and ABC.

During the 1990s, The Palace continued to be at the forefront of the evolving American rock scene. Notable artists like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, and The Beastie Boys performed at the venue, cementing it as a premier musical destination. During this time, The Palace also began to host a DJ night featuring the legendary Frankie Knuckles and Goldie.

In 2002, after thorough restorations and upgrades of The Palace by its current owner John Lyons, this historic venue was relaunched as AVALON Hollywood and the adjacent Spider Club. With its performance stage intact and buttressed by new sound and light systems, AVALON rapidly became the must attend live entertainment venue in Los Angeles, hosting concerts, performances and events several times a week. AVALON also became a magnet for the burgeoning dance music scene on the West Coast with performances by a who’s who of world renown music icons.

In 2008, BARDOT was launched and instantly became the defacto spot for major artists wanting to play in an intimate room. House favorite Bruno Mars set the tone for the room that still resonates today. The BARDOT Sessions series followed by School Night have featured a plethora of major acts that have regularly delighted unsuspecting fans with their pop-up shows.

2016 saw AVALON undergo a major facelift restoring the venue to its original splendor as well as upgrading to state-of-the-art sound, lighting and visuals.

Today AVALON continues to evolve as the city’s most venerable institution with many memorable moments yet to come.