x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Fate of Dubai Hard Rock Cafe’s crossed guitars hangs in the balance

Demolition crews have been told not to destroy the crossed guitars of the old Hard Rock Cafe on Sheikh Zayed Road, although their fate has not yet been decided.

No fretting: the guitars will not be dismantled – yet – during demolition of the Hard Rock Cafe building in Dubai. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
No fretting: the guitars will not be dismantled – yet – during demolition of the Hard Rock Cafe building in Dubai. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // Demolition crews have been told not to destroy the crossed guitars of the old Hard Rock Cafe on Sheikh Zayed Road, although their fate has not yet been decided.

An official connected with the demolition work, who declined to be identified, confirmed that although the building is scheduled to be pulled down, nothing has been planned for the guitars.

“At the moment we are concentrating on the tower,” the official said. “We have not planned anything for the guitars.

“We are waiting for the client’s instruction. Once we receive that we will work.”

The official confirmed the delay in levelling the building was due to a reassessment of the site, which faces a busy road leading to Dubai Marina.

“Now it’s a completely different methodology for the demolition,” he said. “We have erected a tower crane and we will start demolition after receiving permission from Dubai Municipality. This was installed after reviewing the site situation by my engineer.”

The engineer declined to say when work would restart.

Developer Tameer, which owns the land, was unavailable for comment but last week said that there were no plans to leave the guitars there.

“We are surfacing the land to have a levelled plot,” a Tameer executive said at the time.

The Hard Rock Cafe opened in 1998 in what was then a deserted area of the city, and the bar was for many years a symbol of the high water mark of Dubai’s urban development.

It was closed in 2009, with plans to build a high-rise tower block in its place. For three years the bar stood empty, raising hopes among former regulars that the landmark could one day be revived, with a local radio station leading a campaign to save the guitars at the very least.

But not everyone shares their passion for the building. Martin Talty, who moved to Dubai in 1996, said he couldn’t understand what the fuss was about.

“I don’t really understand it,” he said. “Surely there are other things in the world for people to campaign about than two crossed guitars in front of a building.

“They’ve only been there for 15 years, it’s not of much historical significance. It’s not as if it’s the coming down of the Berlin Wall.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae