Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009 | 12:40 p.m.
Don’t blame the heat when you start seeing double this July; blame the Hard Rock Café. The grandfather of themed eateries will be opening a second Las Vegas location this summer to be parked right in the center of the action on the Strip. More hamburgers. More autographed instruments. More Godzilla-sized guitars.
“The foot traffic on the Strip has become its own entity. In the old days Vegas was kind of spread out, but now it’s really concentrated on the Strip,” says Hard Rock Café Las Vegas Senior Sales and Marketing Manager Peter Lin. “It’s cooler and sexier to be on the Strip.”
Thirty-eight years after the first Hard Rock melded music and dining into a new brand of restaurant near London’s Hyde Park, the chain has become a ubiquitous presence all over the world. Japan boasts eight Hard Rock Café locations; India has three with a fourth slated to open in Hyderabad City this spring. Opening its doors on July 9, Las Vegas’ new three-story Hard Rock Café will join 41 other U.S. outposts, including its local sister outside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at the corner of Paradise Road and Harmon Road.
At 42,000 square feet, the new branch will be the second largest Café in the world, equipped with an extensive retail shop, an ultra lounge, private function and meeting rooms and a restaurant with patio dining overlooking the Strip. The restaurant will be taking over the space formerly home to Denny’s next to Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse and the Showcase Mall’s giant Coke bottle on the southern end of the Strip.
Along with the chain’s rock and roll vibe and the memorabilia that has become synonymous with its name, the new Hard Rock Café will feature techie updates that will keep iTunes junkies as satisfied as classic rock devotees.
A touch screen wall will let customers pick music videos to play in the restaurant and some booths will feature Microsoft’s interactive Surface tabletops.
“It’s basically a tabletop that’s a computer screen. You can watch videos; you can jump on the Internet. They’re actually designing programs for our Café,” says Lin.
Las Vegas will also be doubling up on Hard Rock branded concert venues. Just months after the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (owned by the Morgans Hotel Group) debuts its new incarnation of the Joint, the Café will open with an intimate Hard Rock Live! concert venue able to accommodate 1,000 people.
The multiple Hard Rock concert halls are bound to cause a bit of confusion for Vegas visitors trying to sort out who’s playing where, as are both buildings’ exterior motifs featuring giant guitars that should cause a tourist double take or two. But there is one notable difference to the new Café’s 60-foot guitar that will be perched on the side of the building.
“The elevator runs up and down the frets,” says Lin. “It’s pretty cool.”