The second Hard Rock Cafe opened in 1992 in Orange County, at Newport Fashion Island mall. This one features a 40-foot-tall, neon-blue Fender electric guitar outside the restaurant, flashing brightly through the night. Inside the barn-like room, there's a 1959 wood-paneled Cadillac convertable filled with surfboards on top of the central bar. The noise level is a bit more sedate here than at its Hollywood sibling; but it can still get pretty loud at night.
The memorabilia at the Newport location is chiefly gold records, framed jackets, and autographed guitars from musical superstars such as Guns & Roses, Mötley Crüe, Queensryche, Madonna, John Cougar Mellencamp, and evenGarth Brooks. But near the desk you can also see the famous purple suit worn by Prince in the movie "Purple Rain," a pair of super-high platform heels and two pairs of wacky glasses from Elton John, and the original sign from the Casbah Club, where the Beatles started out. If you look closely at the display cases inside, you may also find a letter from Eric Clapton, the red fringe dress worn in the B-52's video "The Love Shack," and an autographed coat presented to the Beatles by Elvis Presley during their 1965 meeting.
Besides big burgers, the Hard Rock menu also offers huge chicken wings (with a mustard & apricot sauce), a BLT, watermelon ribs, steaks, BBQ chicken, milkshakes, and lots of big rich desserts, including devils food cake and strawberry shortcake. Prices are low by Hollywood standards, but a little high for fast food. Open 11:30 AM - 11 PM.
Getting there: To reach the Newport Fashion Island Hard Rock, from West L.A., take the San Diego (405) Freeway south to MacArthur Blvd. Go five miles south on MacArthur Blvd. to San Miguel Drive. Turn right (west) on San Miguel Drive, and go one block to Newport Center Drive and the mall. The Hard Rock Cafe is located in the mall's southeastern parking lot, between Robinsons-May and the Atrium Court. Look for the giant blue guitar!
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