A few weeks ago some of our really good friends from church blessed me and Keao with a nice dinner at the new Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki. For many years the Hard Rock Cafe stood on the corner of Kalakaua Ave. and Kapiolani Blvd. Although it was right across from the Hawaii Convention Center it was just inconvenient enough from Waikiki that i would imagine unless you really were a fan it would be easy to pass up. Luckily they solved that problem by moving into Waikiki proper (280 Beach Walk Ave.)
Upon arrival the first thing I noticed was how huge the new restaurant looked. The old Hard Rock Cafe was a one story round looking building but the new one is a large, spacious, high ceilinged, two-story building. It also offers lanai seating, which in Hawaii, is always nice. I would say that it is very nicely themed keeping the Hard Rock theme while making it feel like Hawaii.
The nice new sign that beckoned us from Kalakaua Ave
The whole first floor seems to be the retail shop where you can buy all sorts of Hard Rock logo items. Taking a page out of Disney, the only way into and out of the restaurant is through the gift shop. Luckily the gift shop isn’t all merchandise, but it’s interactive as well. There’s a big touch-screen display that has a whole bunch of pictures floating around on it. When you touch a picture it enlarges and gives you its notable history.
Look at all the pretty basses floating around
Here’s a famous hat of somebody (I just can’t remember who)
For all the avid Hard Rock Cafe pin collectors out there
After browsing the merchandise Keao and I headed upstairs for dinner, I didn’t take too many pictures of the interior because I was too busy looking at all of the guitars on the walls but I will say that it is impressive. There are monitors everywhere broadcasting music videos (even behind the large blue wall behind the bar). The music played at the perfect volume too. It was loud enough to hear but not so loud that you couldn’t have a conversation with those in your dinner party.
We started our meal with the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla (with pineapples which apparently makes it Hawaiian) and followed it up by ordering the New York Strip (me) and Grilled Sirloin (Keao). The food arrived in a timely manner and was quite flavorful. So good in fact that once the steaks hit the table we dug right in and forgot to take pictures (my apologies). By the time I remembered to take pictures we had eaten most of our meal so the only pictures we have of our entrees are just the remnants. If it’s any consolation, they did taste delicious. Of course, we had to sample one of their desserts too so we finished our meal with a Hot Fudge Brownie. So ‘ono!
The quesadilla comes with salsa, guacamole and sour cream
Keao’s partially eaten sirloin with garlic mashed potatoes
My New York steak (also partially eaten) with the steamed vegetables
A brownie with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and hot fudge all over
After dinner we decided to stretch our legs a bit and see what famous memorabilia decorated their walls. One impressive feature that makes the self-guided “tour” a little more interactive is the Hard Rock Hotline. There’s a phone number you can call and get a little more information on the items lining the walls. Many of the items have a number associated with it and when you call the hotline and punch in the number a recorded message give more information on the particular item. Pretty cool I think.
King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale’s left-handed Fender Stratocaster
Thanks to Married to Rock, Keao knew exactly who Duff was (not because he was in Guns n Roses)
‘Ol Slowhand, Eric Clapton’s Fender Stratocaster
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame’s guitar
The concert I didn’t get to see…Paul Stanley of KISS’s Washburn
The jacket that Ziggy Marley wore
Lastly in keeping with the Hawaiian theme. One of the more impressive features of the restaurant is the guitar wave. It is literally a large cresting wave made up dozens upon dozens of guitars and basses. They aren’t the most expensive brands but the sheer quantity makes it super impressive to look at.
Coming up the stairs the wave begins
The wave continues throughout the restaurant with acoustic and electric guitars and basses
Being that I have eaten at both the Kapiolani and the Waikiki Hard Rock Cafes I will say that the Waikiki is a great improvement on the former. It’s a much more inviting (and somewhat classier) atmosphere. The food was great and if you’re a music enthusiast you can’t beat memorabilia.
Plus, I now have a HRC All Access card which means that I can get front of the line privileges at any participating Hard Rock Cafe. Take me with you next time you go and we’ll get in faster.