Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Hard Rock Cafe 2.0

VIPs with escorts post for photos in front of Hard Rock Cafe Hong Kong
Many years ago -- over a decade ago, there was a Hard Rock Cafe in Tsim Sha Tsui, Canton Road to be exact. But after a few short years it fizzled out along with Planet Hollywood and I thought that was the last of the celebrity-endorsed eateries.

Smashing guitars to officially open the venue
But Hard Rock Cafe Hong Kong is back and officially opened tonight on the other side of Victoria Harbour in Lan Kwai Fong.

It's much smaller than its predecessor and includes the all-important souvenir shop.

I was invited to the opening and got the requisite "VIP Backstage All Access" pass around my neck -- but we had to stand around outside the restaurant and bar to wait for the ceremony to begin.

After a late start it finally commenced with a strange voice over from Ringo Starr imploring people to buy a Peace & Love T-shirt he designed with the proceeds going to charity. Uh, OK, whatever you say Ringo.
The Hard Rock helmet looks familiar...

Then the real VIPs, the owner, the president and CEO, VP of franchise operations and some major food suppliers and then minor celebrities were introduced on the "stage". The owner tried to make a speech but the sound kept cutting in and out, while the president and CEO kept it mercifully short.

Finally they donned helmets that might have been bought in Shenzhen as they looked quite familiar in the markets in Beijing, and got ready to smash their guitars, as it's the custom at every Hard Rock opening.

Some were able to do it in one or two hits, while one of the food suppliers had to swing it a few times to finally demolish it. While the VIPs got protection, we had none and were subject to flying debris.

A VIP guest had trouble smashing his guitar
Nonetheless at last we were allowed to go inside and shelter from the heat -- but what was there to sample? Except for red and white wine, sangria and beer, and two large plates of nachos and cut vegetables, there was nothing to eat. Why not mini burgers or ribs? Or even a giant platter of fries? Then a live band played so loudly we had to shout at each other to be heard.

That combination was hardly appealing and I left shortly afterwards.

Hard Rock may know how to party but it doesn't really know how to give a good party...

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you! Grand looking from the outside but empty from inside. There was no satisfaction on this opening as I can see that. What a BIG DISAPPOINTING! Fans around the world may join this event at the same place same time. I get the feeling it just like BORING! til the end. What's the point to celebrate like that?