Today is Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka’s sweet sixteenth! After 16 years of rocking out at Hawks Town Mall, the restaurant and bar has moved to the new JRJP Hakata Building, conveniently located next to Hakata Station. The new location will open tomorrow, Apr. 27 (Wed.), and to celebrate their brand new, more central venue, Hard Rock Cafe threw a pre-opening party on Apr. 25 (Mon.). Fukuoka Now went along to check out the new digs…
The new venue takes some of the design features of the original Hard Rock Cafe (founded in London by two Americans in 1971), such as the brown and beige color scheme with accents of red and gold, and combines them with the glass elegance which is coming to define the Hakata Station area of late. Ascending via JRJP’s exterior escalator, you are immediately greeted by plush, red leather exterior seating – we were instantly dreaming of sipping cocktails there on one of Fukuoka’s warm summer nights, people-watching the crowds rushing to and from the station!
Stepping in the door, you can’t miss the large island bar; the new Fukuoka location is the first Hard Rock Cafe in Japan to feature one! Here the genki (energetic) staff poured glasses of wine, cocktails and shots for the guests. The stage was occupied by a DJ spinning tunes, and there were screens everywhere – at that time they displayed the Hard Rock Cafe logo, but on most days they’ll display music videos of different music genres. The restaurant itself can seat 141 people: 126 in the restaurant area, 15 at the bar.
Decorating the walls was the classic collection of music star memorabilia that one associates with Hard Rock Cafe: this new location displays 83 pieces, and none of these have been displayed in a Japanese Hard Rock Cafe before. Some of their more impressive pieces include the yellow dress Taylor Swift wore on Saturday Night Live in 2009, the B.C. rich bass used by Bobby Dall of Poison, and a leather vest Bon Jovi wore for a photo shoot. This Hard Rock Cafe, however, is the first one to feature items associated with Japanese music stars, such as a microphone used by Mucc, a Japanese visual kei rock band.
But you don’t have to be limited to what’s in this particular Hard Rock Cafe – using a touch screen at the back of the restaurant you can search the extensive database of Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia by location, by genre or by artist!
Examples of the dishes that this Hard Rock Cafe location will serve were carefully displayed: including the Original Legendary Burger (one of their signature burgers, which boasts bacon, cheddar and a fried onion ring), hickory-smoked ribs and Hard Rock nachos. Guests could sample some of the Hard Rock Cafe menu items too, including the colorful cobb salad and their deliciously spicy chicken wings. There even teeny-weeny burgers (sliders) for us to sample!
There was plenty of entertainment, from the DJ playing dance-friendly anthems to the flair bartender juggling bottles of rum and catching them on his elbows! One particularly vivacious member of staff couldn’t resist doing the dance to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”. The venue plans to host live music and other events, but you can also hire out the restaurant (or just the VIP room) for parties and dinners.
Each Hard Rock Cafe sells some goods specific to that location, and for the new Fukuoka venue, new designs have been released. This includes a new t-shirt which features a rock-themed Hakata Yamakasa float!
As we left, we each received a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt which was specially designed for the grand opening! A fab end to this pre-opening party.
Hard Rock Cafe starts rocking its new location on Apr. 27 (Wed.). Up until May 8, the restaurant will open from 11:00 to 23:00, but from May 9, it will open at 7:00. This is much earlier than the previous location, which opened at 11:30.
This May, Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka is teaming up with the Mexican Embassy and Japan Tequila Association to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! From May 2 to May 31, the food menu is expanding to include six hot and spicy Mexican soulfoods, such as tacos (¥1,680 for three), chicken quesadillas (¥1,780) and Mexican corn fritters (¥980). Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka will also sell three special tequila-based cocktails, including one that uses red jalapeños (prices range from ¥980 to ¥1,040)!
Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka
Address: 2F JRJP Hakata Building, 8-1 Hakataeki-chuogai, Hakata-ku
Hours: ~ 5/8: 11:00~23:00 (L.O.: 22:00); 5/9 ~: 7:00~23:00 (L.O.: 22:00) (Shop: 10:00~23:00)