Cruising for somewhere new to eat, I suddenly thought of the Hard Rock Cafe on the notorious Exhibition Avenue. Recently this road has become more famous for hookers than hotels, although the two patently go hand in hand. This particular location has been open for at least 12 years, but only in the last 10 was it an official location, as previously it was a fake! Yes, its not only Gucci clothes and Louis Vuitton handbags that are pirated, this restaurant was too!
Going in was a bit like going back in time. I had a real 80′s preconception about the franchise, but that was when it really became popular, with franchises starting to open around the world, but with nearly 100 cafes opening up during the 90′s and perhaps nearly that many in the noughties, this is a modern fad with no signs of fading.
With music playing on the TVs hung on every wall and interesting memorabilia on the wall, I was very glad to be eating there, though it was fairly distracting, watching the MTV channel with songs from the 80′s and90′s that I hadn’t seen or heard in ages.
The history behind this franchise is quite interesting too…Back in the seventies, Eric Clapton, creator of the immortal “Layla” – liked to eat at this quirky diner in London called the Hard Rock Cafe. The place was this funky old building that used to be a Rolls Royce dealership, and it was run by a couple of young Americans, Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two music-loving guys. Hard Rock Cafe was an instant classic.
So Clapton got to be friends with the proprietors and asked them to save him a regular table, put up a brass plaque or something. They said, “Why don’t we put up your guitar?” He handed over a guitar, and they slapped it on the wall. No one thought much more about it until a week later, when another guitar arrived with a note from Pete Townsend of The Who which read: “Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete.”
Today there are more than 70,000 guitars, drums, pianos, harmonicas, microphones, shirts, pants, scarves, shoes, handwritten lyrics, cars, bikes, a bus and assorted rock memorabilia – by far, the largest, most valuable such collection in the world – on the walls of over 163 Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos in 52 countries around the world.
So overall, the food was good enough, the price was reasonable, but the atmosphere is definietly the jewel in their crown…at least for me. I have only made 4 visits in 12 years, which is not nearly enough to get a higher mark than 6, but I might just be going more often now.