Situated in what can easily be called the cosiest corner of Sandton’s Mandela Square, an invitation to kick it at Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) from the 4Elements media team deserves the title of “most interesting chill.”
Considering the fact that HRC is also located right next door to the Sandton Library, one acknowledges the odd juxtaposition because the HRC franchise is steeped in such rich history. Just visit the library to read all about it – after grabbing a few drinks at HRC of course. At this point you might find yourself asking “history though?” Well, yes. Hard Rock Cafe has the kind of background that would make for very interesting reading, all you have to do is take the time out to look it up.
Staying true to that rockstar atmosphere, HRC is decked out in clothing that was once worn by the Jackson five back way back when they appeared at the Grammy’s. They also have guitars used by some of the industry’s greats (like Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and more) hanging from wall to wall. 6000 drumsticks – from drummers that have graced the Hard Rock Cafe stage at some point to deliver an epic night – adorn the ceiling of the bar. The crown jewel (so to speak) is definitely the Harley Davidson parked right in the middle of the space. Total rockstar sh**!
Snapping out of the atmospheric haze created by the array of fine cocktails and food so good that the basic adjectives in my vocabulary couldn’t do it justice, I decided to sit down with HRC’s manager, Marie. I did this to discover the side of HRC that I wasn’t seeing at surface level. “The one thing that stands out about our store and cafe is not only the history and international reputation we have, but our amazing staff”, stated Marie.
Actually, her staff are beyond amazing. Slick – one of their bubbly hostess’s who always has a reply to anything and keeps jokes packed up in her pocket – kept us laughing with her comments and telling us more about Hard Rock with a very funny humour.
She kept us entertained with an awesome playlist that she manages using an iPad and a specific method of requesting a song from the Hard Rock Cafe playlist. True to my nature of curiosity, I wanted to actually see her do this and most probably request a song. “You can request any song my guy, our playlist is large. The music you hear playing here? It’s me. I’ve got the power”, she silently shouted with a smile on her face.
Keeping to the rockstar vibe, Thabiso and I requested Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People.” The song must have played at some point – we were just so immersed in socializing that we didn’t hear it. Thinking back on it now, I found that very interesting. Assumedly, one would associate Hard Rock Cafe with good music, good food and good people. The reality however, is that there is so much to do that the music becomes the last thing you focus on.
Another point of interest we discovered from our time at HRC was the fact that the store had a lot of foreign customers coming in to purchase their merchandise. They stock wine and champagne glasses, t-shirts, caps, pants… basically anything. Any store can stock these things, so why shop at the Rock? I walked up to the marketing manager Talitha Spykerman and asked her that very question.
“If you look at the merchandise each piece has ‘Johannesburg’ printed on them. At every Rock Shop in the world, the merchandise has the city’s name printed on it. So people go all around the world collecting items with the different city names showing that they were at the Rock Shop in Italy or France for example,” explains Talitha.
That immediately made me envy all the other customers that had become collectors of global HRC merchandise. Some of these collectors are now able to boast that they had been able to shop at The Rock in South Africa.
The Rock Shop in conjunction with the cafe/bar make the perfect tag team for creating a memorable night for any and everyone who’s interested in becoming a part of the HRC history.
Hang out, grab a drink, watch/listen to your favourite band, eat great food and purchase one-of-a-kind branded memorabilia… Make history all in the name of the Hard Rock experience.
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