Is It Any Good?

Damn good Live music. Damn good Bar…I guess decent Southern Food along Sunset.

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House of Blues on Foodio54

It brings…mixed feelings when a place with…oh, how does one put it…with very obvious white ownership tries to imitate black culture. I mean, how should one react?

The idea of cobbling together a space that’s made to look like its a recycled Bucket of Blood is one thing, but you gotta remember…the Black Folks who originally made these Blues Clubs…they did so with a sense of desperation. They didn’t put out Jelly Jars as glasses because they thought they were cool. They did so because…that’s all they had. They put up a door that obviously came from somewhere else, painted a different color because…well…they needed a door, and that’s the best option they had. The rise of this mix and match aesthetic was accidental.

Still, having said all that, the people behind the House of Blues do have a personal affinity for Blues and African-American culture. I’m talking about Dan Aykroyd, one of the founding partners. It took a hell of a lot of guts for him to walk out on stage in New York City, during Saturday Night Live in a straight black suit, narrow black tie, sunglasses and a black businessman’s special and perform some songs with his then partner John Belushi. If you think about the skit itself, there wasn’t anything funny about it. It’s presence was funny, but at its heart, it was just a blues performance. Why? Because Aykroyd and Belushi loved he blues.

The House of Blues is a chain. There are now 13 locations throughout the United States. The one on the Sunset Strip was opened back in 1994, not too long after I came to town. It is a bar. It is a restaurant, but it is first and foremost a live music venue. It has a web rooms, both big and small, all of them capable of playing different acts at different times. And just know going in that not all of them will be Blues, a lot of them (more likely than not) be indie level rock acts.

You go in and the talent level will always be pretty good. The acts will vary, as will the very rooms you set foot in. Still, it’s different. Still, they tried. I at least got to give them credit for respecting what they love so much.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I’d narrow down what you want to see first, then get down there and see ‘em. While you’re there, if you’re in a venue that ponies up some grub, you will have access to…reasonably good Southern Faire.

The best Southern Faire? Probably not. I’d still hit The Gumbo Pot or Stevie’s before I hit this place (food wise), if for no other reason it’s both easier to get into, and cheaper and better to eat at. Still, we’re talking Po ‘Boys, Shrimp N’ Grits and the works.

Oddly enough, and I’ll never understand this as long as I live…they have Jambalaya, but not Gumbo.

Yeah, I can’t explain that either.

They have Bread Pudding for Dessert…but no Peach Cobbler. Let’s just categorize this place as a Cajun Place and not a Creole Place. (Cajun being the heritage of White Louisiana, and Creole being the heritage of Black Louisiana — and yes there are subtle differences in the food, and how its prepared.)

Now, I’m going to have to get back to you on the food. The time I went there, the restaurant part of the restaurant was closed. It was all drinking and…well…drinking. But the Gospel Brunch (see below) is something I have to do before I meet my maker.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: The Parking section is going to cover most of this, but at the same time, I must tell you…I hate hanging out at this part of Sunset Blvd. Hate it…like poison. It’s a combination of the two things I hate most in restaurant venues, big crowds and expensive price tags.

Long story short (as I described above) you can get better cheaper elsewhere. The one thing the House of Blues will have that The Gumbo Pot and Stevie’s Creole won’t have is first class musical acts. If you like Live Music, this is still the place to go.

Also, every other Sunday there’s a Gospel Brunch, which happens every other Sunday. The Brunch is all you can eat, and put on by Kirk Franklin, who’s no slouch in the Gospel Department.

The food looks to be much the same as the regular menu, but geared more toward mass trough-like consumption.

Still no Gumbo though.

That is weird.

 

PARKING: Just remember that going to Sunset Blvd., things ain’t cheap. Be prepared to shell out anywhere from $10 to $20 for parking. There is a Valet Service down behind the Restaurant, and that will hit you up in the $20 range. You can park cheaper, but anything you do will involve a couple block walk to the restaurant.

Basically, hanging out on Sunset…this particular part of Sunset sucks, which is why I don’t do it. The Restaurants, Bars and Hang outs are pretty good, but…the premium you pay to get into them reminds me of Vegas…and not in a good way.

In rarity for most Restaurant Websites, the House of Blues actually gives it’s own tips on how to park at the restaurant:

Parking is limited at House of Blues. Please use our parking partner at “The Sunset”. They are located at 1101-1299 Alta Loma Rd., West Hollywood, CA 90069 – they are 2 blocks west of House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. From “The Sunset,” it’s just a 6-minute walk back to House of Blues.

Parking Rules at “The Sunset”
• You will be issued a parking ticket upon entry.
• Please park on levels P3 or P4.
• You can pay for parking when you exit, either at the pay stations located in the plaza level, P2, or the valet booth on P1. You can also pay for your ticket with a credit card at the exit gate.

Parking Rates at “The Sunset”
• It is a flat rate of $12.00 after 6:00 p.m.
• If cars are not moved by 5:00 a.m. the next morning, additional Daytime rates will apply after 5:00 a.m.
• Daytime parking rates for those entering before 6:00 p.m. are $1.00 every 10 minutes with a $14.00 daily maximum.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
House of Blues (Sunset)
8430 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood

Tel: (323) 848-5100

Hours:
Mon-Sat 5 pm – 2 am
Sun 10 am – 11 pm