With the closing of many San Fernando Valley old school restaurant bars/nightclubs, one place still holds true to the old cliché of the neighborhood bar where everyone knows your name and they are always glad to see you! Cody’s Viva Cantina has been in the same location since 1965.

Whether you stop by after work to relax, sit at the bar and have a cold beer and watch the game, enjoy a delicious authentic Mexican dinner or come for the live music and dancing, Cody’s Viva Cantina is your place!

They host music 8 days a week on two stages, and seldom have a cover charge. This is the happening spot in the valley. The Venue is located at the entrance to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center and is open 366 Days a year. They are close to ABC, Disney, Warner Bros., DreamWorks and NBC.

With 3 Dining rooms, 2 stages, 2 bars and 2 patios, mucho free horse parking out back, mucho free automobile parking across the street, this is a win –win.

They have been seen on many TV shows including a really fun episode of American Pickers.

I had not been to Viva’s in a few years so early Sunday evening, I popped in for a visit and have a bite to eat. I parked in the large lot just across the street (for free) and headed over.

The patio area was busy with patrons chatting and enjoying authentic Mexican dishes. I made my way inside, to the first dining area. As I paused to take in the wonderful scenery, I was greeted with the warm friendly atmosphere I suddenly realized I had so missed!

Directly in front of me were rows of tables sporting checkered table cloths and candles. To the far left, in the corner of the room stood a small stage, empty with the exception of a drum kit, mic stand and standard musician’s equipment. Beautiful and colorful sombreros were proudly displayed on the wall above the stage. I was flooded with memories of dinners and dancing to wonderful live music many moons ago!
The walls are decorated with record album covers of a variety of music styles, Neon signs of musical instruments and photographs of entertainers past. Chandeliers hang throughout the rooms, adding to the ambience.

I smiled to myself and headed to my right, to find Ben tending bar, he has been part of Viva’s for over twenty years! He flashed a heartwarming smile as we chatted about the place and people. I joyously looked at photographs on the wall, of Ben as a young rodeo star, and one of Ben and Willie Nelson!

I heard live, blues music in the background and decided to check out the 2nd stage area complete with dance floor. I passed through the dining room, noticing small booths that seat two, perfect for a romantic dinner. Once in back, I was happy to see people grooving on the roomy dance floor and even spotted a few familiar faces!

I saw old friends, made new friends, had a fabulous dinner and listened to incredible, live music. The bottom line is I had a wonderful time. I will most definitely be back.

See ya at Cody’s Viva Cantina!


Be sure to check out the calendar for monthly music events.

Caroline McElroy
Author: Caroline McElroy

The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie’s Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and a record by Major Lance titled “Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um”. From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked…on Rock N’ Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N’ Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I’ve written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers. For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. Sometimes you’ve gotta wear the hat to remind people who they are dealing with. LOL