The New Hard Rock Manila Attracts A New Crowd While Triggering Nostalgia
If you are looking to experience that 80’s/90’s nostalgia that was responsible for your college hangovers, you won’t find much of it at the new Hard Rock Café Manila. While the walls are still blanketed with memorabilia from famous people, the new restaurant that is located at S Maison has an updated look with a well-lit, more spacious layout.
While the former location had narrower spaces that often led to a bit of jostling when the crowd moved around to greet friends situated elsewhere in the establishment, the new 223-seater venue has more elbow room with a better view of the stage. Perhaps owing to the fact that the old music hall had a second floor, the stage there was more elevated; now, the front tables have a nicer, more unobstructed view of the performers, with, in my opinion, crisper acoustics.
The popular menu items are still there, with the Original Legendary Burger and Hickory Smoked Ribs listed alongside an Asian-inspired menu that includes sisig, tokwa’t baboy, and Korean fried chicken. They’ve also added flatbreads and now have a wider selection for pasta. The extensive bar selection also awaits guests with beer, cocktails such as mojitos and margaritas, and fruity non-alcoholic choices filed under Alternative Rock. The drinks are served in trademarked collectible glasses and mason jars that are available at an additional price if you want to bring home a souvenir.
The new restaurant is now under the Bistro Group, and it definitely feels like a big change from the former, which, on its last legs was populated by a more segmented group consisting of the boomers and older foreigners with their dates. According to Rommel Turbanos, Bistro Group VP for Operations, they want to reach out to a wider market, which is why they are introducing fresh musical acts ranging from Rock, to R&B bands, and those specializing in OPM. Ice Bucket, the performers at the press launch held last January 10, for example, gave rousing renditions of Queen hits which even the younger crowd had an easy time jamming to after the Freddy Mercury biopic.
Aside from the fresh take on musical entertainment, Turbanos says they are focused on the food. “It is hard to change people’s perception of an establishment, in particular, where Hard Rock was known as a gimik place, but we want to say that it is more than the entertainment. Our food is also something that guests can come over and enjoy even at lunchtime.” The daytime dining, he says, has a different ambience without the bands, so diners can even have business meetings over good food.
Turbanos reveals that there will be more locations opening soon, with a Hard Rock Cebu very possible in the future.
Hard Rock Café Manila is open Sunday to Thursday (11am to 12 am) and Friday to Saturday (11am – 1 am). It is located on Level 2, S Maison at Conrad, Pasay City (telephone no. (02)990 9809). For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com. @hardrockcafemanila, #hardrockcafemanila