Saturday, November 12, 2011

Memory Lane: Hard Rock Café of Nagoya, Japan


On a recent trip overseas I made the sad discovery that the Hard Rock Café in Nagoya, Japan had gone out of business. This was one of my regular haunts when I came to town, and it will be missed.

This Hard Rock Café location opened on July 1, 1997 and closed on December 31, 2010. When I started going there in the late 1990s, it was always crowded, which was amazing because it was a huge place (especially for Japanese real estate). It had to help that the Hilton hotel across the street was chock full of foreigners and tourists that were looking for cheeseburgers, beer and souvenir t-shirts.

It had the usual bunch of rock and roll memorabilia, and a few extras, such as the Beatles ceiling mural and the Elvis stained glass window. Looking around you would not know you were in Japan, because it looked like every other Hard Rock Café in the world.

The staff was always great, but then again this is Japan, where they know how to do customer service right. They would lead the crowd in the YMCA dance and every hour they would play the Beatles birthday song (at top volume).

The food was ok, which is really all you can say about the food at most Hard Rock Cafés. It was certainly more American than Japanese, until you considered the prices. There are not many places in the world where you can buy a $20 hamburger or a $25 pitcher of draft beer.

After the new Marriott Associa hotel was built, the foreigners stopped staying at the Hilton, and the Hard Rock was not crowded any more. And after the recession of 2008, business completely dried up, and the owners finally gave up when their lease ran out at the end of 2010. The rent could not have been cheap for a place that big.

Hopefully they can come up with a more affordable location near the train station and re-open a new Hard Rock Café in Nagoya. Every big city needs one…


No comments:

Post a Comment