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The Viper Room is a small club in LA, co-owned by Johnny Depp. It opened in 1993, and was a low-key hangout for young actors and music types. The club is still there, and has passed on to legend status on October 31, 1993, when River Phoenix collapsed on the sidewalk in from of a drug overdose, and died.

A viper room was also a common 20s New York City slang term for an after-hours club where hipsters would go to smoke marijuana and listen to jazz, typically located in Harlem. From the relatively ancient slang term viper for a marijuna smoker, from the hissing noise that one makes when inhaling deeply off of a joint.

The whole thing seems rather quaint and even cliche today, but at the time, it was all terribly cutting-edge. Jazz was a new music form, at least in New York, marijuana had only just become illegal, and nobody had really thought these things out yet.

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