Boston’s Hard Rock expands its reach
There were some heavy hitters on the red carpet at the opening celebration of Boston’s new, bigger Hard Rock Café last Tuesday. But the biggest cheese went unnoticed by the paparazzi. Hamish Dodds, the CEO/president of Hard Rock International, sat on the patio, admiring his latest venture. The Hard Rock moved from its Clarendon Street spot to Faneuil Hall last month — a move Dodds hopes will make it more than just a rock-oriented burger joint for tourists. “We are already a player in other cities,” he said, referring to the chain’s live-music programming. The new 600-capacity space with concert stage will allow the Hard Rock to bring in larger acts. “We have relationships with bands in other places, and we have the ability to tour people through. It’s part of our strategy. We’re stepping up the pace.”
Two local rockers were happy to give their stamp of approval. Damone’s Noelle LeBlanc complimented the chain for being “super-accommodating” on tour. And former Extreme/Van Halen singer Gary Cherone said, “I’ve been fortunate to do Hard Rocks with Extreme.”
Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton was also feeling the good vibes. He suggested that the Hard Rock does a great job of “connecting” different elements of rock culture, adding that the restaurant/club’s emphasis on classic rock fits the needs of both people his age and teenagers. Aerosmith are one of several Boston bands (the Pixies and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are two others) whose memorabilia festoons the walls of a special Boston room at the new joint.
Entertainment was provided by Staind’s Aaron Lewis, whose earnest, melancholic solo set contrasted with the festive mood but added gravitas. The Hard Rock was donating all bar proceeds to the Boston anti-violence charity Peace Games, as befits the chain’s motto: “Love All, Serve All.”
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