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The Hard Rock Cafe Goes Local.

September 5, 2011

Text by Kevin Stairiker. Image and video by G.W. Miller III.

The Hard Rock Café unarguably has a pretty bad reputation: it’s generally seen more as a theme restaurant where out-of-towners come to purchase t-shirts and trinkets than as a live-music venue.

Thankfully, the local branch of the international chain, located at 1th and Market streets, is trying to do something about that.

“It’s a work in progress,” says Jacqueline Allen, the sales & marketing coordinator of the Philly Hard Rock. “We‘d rather it not be like, ‘I‘m coming from out of town so I should go to the Hard Rock.’ It should be more like,  ‘I live in Philadelphia so I should go to the Hard Rock.’”

The restaurant opened in 1998 but they didn’t begin regular music events until about two years ago. They have slowly been doing more and more shows, and trying to bring local folks into the venue. In recent months, they’ve had numerous local acts perform, such as June Divided, Dave Patten, Jessi Teich, SezHu, Lydia Rene and Funk Church (in the video above).

This fall, the Hard Rock will undergo major renovations that Allen thinks will turn the building into one of the top venues in the city.

“I can’t give away too many specifics but in the next couple of months, the venue is going to get a lot bigger,” she says. “We’re getting a newer look and a bigger stage, all the while bringing in bigger bands each week.”

See the Hard Rock’s website for a complete listing of upcoming shows.

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