Dubai: When one of Dubai's oldest tourist landmarks Hard Rock Café closed in March 2009, mourning fans mobilised across the city to save their beloved rock-‘n'-roll eatery.
More than 10,000 fans joined a Facebook website to save Hard Rock while others begged authorities not to let the iconic mini Empire State Building structure go under the wrecking ball.
Hard Rock Café officials pledged to re-open and today they are following through on that promise — with a twist.
The rock memorabilia restaurant is being relocated to impressive new digs at Dubai Festival City (DFC), Gulf News has learned.
Hard Rock International will announce today that its Hard Rock Café Dubai will re-open as a new 26,500 square-foot restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel end of the DFC with a large indoor music stage and enough room to comfortably host 300 patrons.
When the lights are turned on, the cafe will be recognised as the largest Hard Rock Café outside of North America featuring the largest Hard Rock Shop in the world touting rock memorabilia.
And, to draw attention to its new creekside location, Hard Rock Café will build the tallest ornamental guitar in the world reaching a height of 118 feet, near the boulevard fronting Festival City.
Phillip Evans, Director of Commercial and Retail Leasing for DFC owners Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, said: "This will be the largest Hard Rock Café outside of North America."
Evans described the acquisition as "one of the most important deals" in the company's history.
"This will have a massive impact on Dubai Festival City and Dubai as a whole — it is such as iconic brand. It's the whole rock-‘n'-roll experience," Evans said. "Hard Rock is one of the most well-known tourism brands in the world."
"Many original staff from the first Hard Rock will be redeployed to this new site," Evans said. "Training will begin after Ramadan and we'll be looking at opening not long after that."
Tom Miles, Director of Shopping Centres for Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate, said adding Hard Rock Café as an "anchoring element" will not disappoint consumers looking for a wide range of dining choices.