Hard Rock Café Old Park Lane where it begun

Hard Rock Café is a restaurant chain which can be found across the world but did you know that the very first Hard Rock Café opened up here in London back in 1971 on Old Park Lane.

Within any Hard Rock Café hungry diners can enjoy banging food in particular burgers and also be entertained with tunes and rock memorabilia to gaze upon.

As a fan of Hard Rock Café it was great to be invited along back to where it all started 50 years ago, as they are celebrating their 50th year. I went along on a PR basis to show how they are still going strong and still providing rocking food as well as still displaying from old to new rock memorabilia from all sorts of musicians such as the Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, Elton John, Mick Jagger etc.

Hard Rock Café

Hard Rock Café on Old Park Lane in London is where it all started back on 14 June 1971.

Two American best friends, Peter Morton and Isaac Tigret, who lived in London wanted to open a burger restaurant which gave an authentic experiences that rocked!

1971 – The first Hard Rock Café opened it’s doors back on London’s Old Park Lane. Few years after opening they expanded within openings all over the world.

1971 – Hard Rock Café logo was created by Alan Aldridge.  His artwork has appeared on several album covers, some of which include the Beatles and The Who. Morton’s wanted a logo which was simple in design and modelled after a Chevrolet hood ornament.

1973 – They had their first live performance by Sir Paul McCartney whom made his public debut with Wings.

1974 – The very first ever t-shirt was created to sponsor a local football team, which simply featured their Hard Rock logo.  They became such a hit, people would show up to the restaurant to buy one then sit and have food.  

1979 – Morton and Tigrett had their differences and went their separate ways.  

1979 – Eric Clapton gave his guitar as so it could be hung over his favourite seating spot within the restaurant. Soon other musicians started to contribute such as Pete Townsend who gave also his guitar and Debbie Harry who donated her sweatshirt and signed. This is how the music memorabilia across Hard Rock Café started. There are now over 82,000 pieces all over the world.

1982 – Morton sold his London shares and opened a Hard Rock Café in Los Angeles, which was the first Hard Rock to be opened in the U.S.  Tigrett was opposed, and a legal squabble resulted.  Morton won under the grounds of intellectual property.  The two factions were divided for expansion, with a jointly owned licensing company controlling the shared trademark.  In the U.S., the Mississippi River was the dividing line.  Morton controlled locations to the west, Tigrett controlled the locations to the east. 

1983 – The first Asian café opened in Tokyo.

1985 – Buenos Aires became the first in South America on their world tour of global domination.

1988 – Tigrett sold his shares for $108 million to the London based Rank Organisation.  He used this money to open the first House of Blues.  

1996 – Rank, the same organisation that acquired Tigrett’s shares, acquired Morton’s interest for $410 million, assuming full control of the Hard Rock brand.  

1999 – The first Hard Rock Live opened in Orlando

2006 – Rank sold the franchise to the Seminole Indian Tribe in Florida for $965 million.

2007 –  Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock came together as one company.

To this day even though there has been changes of ownership Hard Rock Café remains strong and now is celebrating 50 years.

Hard Rock Café is known for their burgers and also famous for displaying famous rock memorabilia from outfits, hats, shoes, drums, guitars and so much more.

The original burger which started it all was their Original Legendary Burger. The burger consists of a beef patty, applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, crispy onion ring, leaf lettuce and vine-ripened tomato. Apart from burgers they also sell a range of pasta, seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Plus they sell a range of drinks but in particular they are known for their colourful cocktails. Especially the Hurricane which is their signature cocktail which consists of Bacardi Superior Rum, a blend of orange, mango, pineapple juice and grenadine, finished with a float of Bacardi Black Rum and Amaretto.

As for the entertainment factor Hard Rock Café love to pump out tunes via speakers and play videos by musicians as well as hold live performances from time to time. There is also so much memorabilia on display from rock stars from stars such as as Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, Kiss and so much more. Each and every restaurant from across the world has a vast amount of rock memorabilia to discover. To discover all the memorabilia which they have they have a book in which reveals each and every location which can be found within the Vaults in the basement across the road in the Rock Shop.

As of today there are 185 Hard Rock Cafés , 25 hotels and 12 casinos in 74 countries.  

Hard Rock Cafe is banging!

Walking from Green Park Station to Hard Rock Café set on Old Park Lane I soon arrived at grand building in which used to be an old Rolls Royce dealership.

Entering through the doors of any Hard Rock Café I am always completely taken back by the vast amount of memorabilia inside hanging from the walls. However what makes this place that extra special is not the fact it is the first ever Hard Rock Café but this is the first one to of ever displayed anything from a rock legend.

Eric Clapton was the first to gift Hard Rock Café a piece of memorabilia and that was his guitar. Soon after others started to follow suit and started to gift items of theirs to have them displayed. Eric’s guitar still hangs there to this date but now above the bar.

Why did Eric Clapton gift his guitar? Well he was friends with the proprietors and wanted to have them save him his regular table, by having a plaque or something put up. One of the proprietors said though to Eric “Why don’t we put up your guitar up on the wall?”. After having a chuckle about it Eric then handed over his guitar, and with that they mounted it on the wall. A week later another guitar arrived with a note from Pete Townshend of The Who, which read ‘Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete’. The young proprietors put it on the wall. After that guitars, drums, pianos, outfits, lyrics and so much more started been sent to have displayed. To this day there are now more than 80,000 pieces of memorabilia on display all over the world making it the largest, most valuable such collection in the world on the walls of over 183 Hard Rock Cafes, hotels and casinos around the world.

So whilst you are tucking into your burger or steak, or even sipping on a cocktail or two be sure to look around at the memorabilia which dons the walls of any Hard Rock Café or sit back and watch and listen to the tunes from Queen, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and so many others.

Award winning food

Did you know that Hard Rock Café has won many awards for their food and establishments such as being the Best American Dining Experience 2020 from Greater London Enterprise Awards to winning a Biopark Certificate in 2020 for being very environmentally friendly. Click here to see the complete list of awards they have won.

Hard Rock Café is a perfect eatery for anyone everyone from kids to adults. They have a menu catered for kids aged 10 and under. Food wise they are famous for their legendary burgers, but they also serve up a great selection of other inspired American food delights such as hot dogs, wings, chicken and so much more.

As I and my husband love burgers though we both chose a burger. Along to start a stack of onion rings, and to finish a hot fudge brownie. Plus we had a cocktail each and unlimited soda.

To start we shared a portion of Onion Rings which come served as a stack along with some tasty sauces. The onion rings were golden and crisp.

Passion Fruit Maj Tai and Hurricane

We then had a cocktail to cleanse out palette for our burgers.

I opted for the Passion Fruit Maj Tai which was a mix of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, passionfruit and a blend of traditional Tiki flavours. Punchy and sharp all thanks to the passionfruit, just how I love my cocktails.

Jason opted for Hard Rock Cafés classic Hurricane cocktail. It is a mix of Bacardi Superior Rum, a blend of orange, mango, pineapple juice and grenadine, finished with a float of Bacardi Black Rum and Amaretto. Colourful, fruity and punchy.

If you don’t drink alcohol though they do mocktails so ideal for anyone, even the kids and they have unlimited soda as well available.

Now about the burgers, what can I say but wow they were exceptional.

I had the The Big Cheeseburger which is packed with slices of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. The burger did not disappoint at all. The came within a lovely fluffy slightly toasted brioche bun. The steak patty was meaty, thick, and juicy and had a lovely melted coating of cheese. Plus the fresh lettuce and tomato gave it that added crunch.

Jason opted for the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger which has a signature spice blend, topped with house-made barbecue sauce, crispy shoestring onions, cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, leaf lettuce and vine-ripened tomato. Every mouthful resulted in different textures and tastes from the saltiness of the bacon, tanginess of the sauces, meatiness from the steak patty, freshness from the vegetables and crispiness from the fried onions.

All the burgers come served with chips and sauce pots.

For dessert we decided to share a Hot Fudge Brownie and boy are we glad we did as it was huge but ever so delicious. The fudge brownie is loaded with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, chopped walnuts, chocolate sprinkles, fresh whipped cream and a cherry. Really tasty and chocolatey. A great way to end any night.

The Vaults within the Rock Shop

After such a great meal we popped over to the Rock Shop which you can buy one of their famous classic logoed t-shirts or a number of other items from badges to mugs.

Most of Hard Rock Café revenue comes from the Rock Shop from the sold t-shirts and badges which have locations printed on them. Why? As most of us all tend to buy something within the shop which has the location printed on them to show we visited there.

Plus within the basement of the Rock Shop is Hard Rock Cafés only museum, yes the only one in the whole world where you can discover more memorabilia.

The guided tour is run every 20 minutes in which you’ll be taken to The Vaults, which used to be the Old Coutts Bank which held Queen Victoria’s crown jewels and even Princess Diana’s wedding dress. Even though this now does not hold anything belonging to the Royal Family you can still see some of the original rug which Queen Victoria requested to be carpeted with when she used the vaults for her valuables.

Now The Vaults is a rock museum which holds valuable memorabilia from across the globe which has been gifted from rock musicians.

Hard Rock Café undoubtedly houses some of the most fascinating and important pieces of rock and pop history. There are some fascinating pieces within such as

  • Original typed lyrics with had written amendments by John Lennon, for the song Karma (We All Shine On)
  • Madonna’s corset in which she wore for Like a Virgin
  • Elton John mastercard
  • David Bowie guitar
  • Sting’s guitar
  • Jimi Hendrix guitar

and so much more….

There is also a bench within that used to belong to Jimi Hendrix which you can pose and get photo on with the logo of Hard Rock Café behind you. Apparently people used to be able to hold Jimi Hendrix, custom made Gibson Flying V guitar that he he played at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 but sadly this is no longer allowed. However you can still see it displayed within a glass case.  

Rock on! 


Rating: 5 out of 5.

A trip to the Hard Rock Café is basically a trip to a museum with food as it is decorated with instruments, clothing, and other various items all of which have been used or owned by rock and roll legends.  

I love a restaurant which has a great vibe and that is what Hard Rock Café is, from it’s 50 year history, delicious legendary burgers, punchy cocktails, rocking music, and great memorabilia to gaze upon.

No matter which Hard Rock Café you visit though be it for burgers or drinks, you can always count on one thing the party never stops.

So if you are looking for a rocking burger place be it with children, family or friends then Hard Rock Café is the place to head, and where better than the original in where it all started.

Plus be sure to visit The Vaults across the road as this is the only Hard Rock museum in the world with extra hidden treasures from great legends such as Madonna, John Lennon, Elton John, David Bowie and so many others.

Hard Rock Cafe in Old Park Lane, London

Hard Rock Café
150 Old Park Lane

Telephone: 020 7514 1700 
Email: london.reception@hardrock.com
Instagram: @hardrockcafelondon

Take center stage while being immersed in a world of music, iconic memorabilia, and of course delicious food.

Cafe, Take Away and Collection Orders
Sun – Fri : 12:00 to 10:00 pm
Sat : 12:00 to 11:00 pm

Rock Shop
Mon – Fri, and Sun : 11:00 to 10:00 pm
Sat : 11:00 to 10:30 pm


Throughout the year they also have many deals on. This month during January 2022 they are including a free meal with every main purchased and a return of endless fry days with unlimited chips refills every Friday throughout January.

Thank you to Hard Rock Café for a the invite I had a rocking time. All views are my own honest opinion.

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