By Andy Sambidge
New Festival City location is US hospitality firm's largest in Middle East and Asia portfolio
US hospitality brand Hard Rock Cafe re-opened in Dubai on Friday, more than a year later than originally planned.
The company initially said the outlet at Festival City would open in October 2010 but did not give a reason for the significant delay.
The reopening comes nearly three years after Hard Rock Cafe was forced to close its Sheikh Zayed Road restaurant after 11 years following the sale of the site on which it was located.
The new 26,400 sq ft Dubai cafe, the largest in the Middle Eastern and Asian portfolios, includes seating for more than 350 guests, a bar, convertible live music space and a 2,500 sq ft Rock Shop, the company said in a statement.
"Dubai is an important market for Hard Rock as the brand has been proud to be a part of the burgeoning Dubai landscape for nearly 15 years," said Antonio Bautista, senior director - Europe, Middle East & Africa Franchise Operations & Development, Hard Rock International.
"Hard Rock could not be more pleased to have a home in Dubai once again and we look forward to success in our new location for many years to come."
A new collection of one-of-a-kind memorabilia items, from a stage outfit worn by Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears' ripped jeans; to a guitar signed by Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora; and the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson's leather jacket, has gone on display.
The new Dubai cafe is owned and operated by Hard Rock Middle East, Hard Rock's franchisee in the region.
Hard Rock Middle East operates several Hard Rock locations throughout the area, including Beirut, Bahrain, Cairo, Hurghada, Kuwait and Sharm El Sheikh.
I found it baffling to have heard about the grand opening of the new Hard Rock CafÃ© on the radio this morning, and then read about it on AB.
We subscribe to a daily local newspaper, that even features a daily tabloid of current entertainment events, as well as buying the weekly magazines on new events / restaurants in Dubai, etc.
I have no recollection of seeing ANY notice or information that the Hard Rock CafÃ© grand opening was last Friday. If this lack of advertising is how they plan to run their new operation, good luck getting customers!
Festival City is a dead zone....Hard Rock will not change that. With such a delay and opening in at best a "B" location I doubt this new Hard Rock location will be as popular as the original location which had a loyal Jumeirah resident following.
Seems a bizarre location choice when most of their traget audience live in 'New Dubai" - Marina, JBR etc....
The old place was thriving and was in such an excellent location.
Closing it was one of the more boneheaded decisions of the property boom.
Whenever I frequented Hard Rock Cafe it seems that is a place for teenagers and the lonely.
Unfortunately they had no control over when they would have all the right paperwork in place to open, which makes it difficult to confirm an opening date.
does anyone know what will happen to the old site, and who owns it?
So Festival is a B location b/c it's on the 'other' side of the creek ! Festival is a great place and i'm sure my family/friends will go more often now that it's on 'our side' :-) hope you jumeira dwellers will also make the trip. Better parking than JBR/marina - give it a try....
Fantastic news that it is finally open. My thoughts are it will be a massive success.
The forced closure of the old HRC on SZR really marked the point at which Dubai totally lost the plot. It was an icon, a great place to have a beer and some good food, watch a decent band playing proper music and have a good time. Great place for visitors and tourists too.
As I look out my window in the marina now, I can still see the old building lying empty, with nothing but sandy space all around it. So I guess buying the land wasn't such a great idea after all? And one less attraction for those who visit.
I hope whoever bought it got well and truly burned and that Dubai comes to appreciate that popular locations like this are worth more than just the land they happen to sit on.