DUBAI - The 11-year-old Hard Rock Cafe–Dubai, best known for its live music and livelier ambience, has closed because of ‘deteriorating site conditions’. But regulars need not feel disheartened.
The popular haunt - with larger-than-life guitars outside as its familiar signature - will not fade away from Dubai. Hard Rock Cafe–Middle East is scouting around for a new site and hopes to reopen in a few months.
In a statement to Khaleej Times, the cafe’s Middle East office in Beirut has said: “Due to circumstances beyond our control, (we have been) forced to close the cafe after 11 years of continuous operation. As a result of deteriorating site conditions, following the unexpected demolition of adjoining buildings, the cafe can no longer adequately serve our loyal customer base”
Jihad Allabban, director of the cafe’s Middle East operations, told KT, “We are not vanishing from Dubai. We will be here as it is an important market for us. We are looking for a new site and are still negotiating. We will definitely open within a few months.” However, he remained tight lipped on the new location or the exact date of the re-opening.
The cafe’s future has been uncertain for the past year, amid reports in March last year that the land on which it stood had been sold, a valid lease notwithstanding. The regulars called for support on Facebook, the popular networking site, and an overwhelming 11,200 members joined ‘Save the Hard Rock Cafe’ campaign.
In June, the cafe had announced that it would not be ‘serving any alcoholic beverages until further notice’, making it lose a bit of the allure to regulars. When it reopens, however, it will resume doing so, Allabban said.
Though there is relief that a new cafe is on the cards, many ‘hard rockers’ are sceptical if it can really substitute the old cafe at Media City.
“I am extremely nostalgic about the place, because it was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Dubai three years ago. I hope the new location does not change any bit of the old Hard Rock Café, as its concept is very endearing,” says Teicla Msafiri, a Kenyan expatriate.
“I used to lunch there every once a month. Hard Rock is iconic for me since I have grown up in Dubai,” says Majid Wasi, an Asian expatriate.
They both agree that the new place might not have the same feel.