x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hard Rock Cafe re-opens in Dubai

The Hard Rock Cafe will re-open in Dubai, its managers said, despite the popular venue having been forced to close.

DUBAI // The Hard Rock Cafe will re-open in Dubai, its managers said today, despite the popular venue having been forced to close. The owners of the Hard Rock Cafe Middle East said today that the restaurant was "forced to close...due to circumstances beyond our control". The statement went on to say that "as a result of the deteriorating site conditions, following the unexpected demolition of the adjoining buildings, the cafe can no longer adequately serve our loyal customer base".

Jihad Allaban, the company's director of operations, remained optimistic about the future of the restaurant on Sheikh Zayed Road. "The Hard Rock Cafe will re-open in Dubai," he said. "We are very interested in Dubai, and it is an important market for us. It is an international city, it is well exposed, it is a hot-spot in the region, and we definitely want to remain here." While he couldn't talk about the new Hard Rock Cafe, he did confirm that they were in serious negotiations regarding the new restaurant and its new location, which will open "as soon as possible."

The future of the restaurant has been up in the air for almost a year, following the sale of the land the Hard Rock and its neighboring hotel were on. Following protests and petitions against its closure, Hard Rock managed to stay open, but without alcohol. Sacha Narinx, a regular at the restaurant since he moved over from South Africa three years ago, expressed sadness and disappointment at the closure of such an historic place. "It really is a sad day," he said. "Although it was inevitable; when they shut down the hotel and started demolishing it, there was mess everywhere.

"I have so many good memories in that place; for the last three years i've celebrated my birthday there," he said. Prior to it losing its alcohol license, the place used to be packed out. "People used to have to wait for hours for a free table," he said. The Hard Rock, with its huge guitar at the entrance which can be spotted for miles, has been located on Sheikh Zayed Road for the last 11 years. Although its new location is still undecided, Mr Narinx did voice his concerns over its potential new home.

"My biggest worry is what if they move it to the other side of town, then I'll have to move too!" nsamaha@thenational.ae