the Hard Rock Cafe (at the Universal CityWalk)


Seeing Stars: Restaurants Owned by the Stars..


at Universal CityWalk
Universal City, CA. / (818) 622-7625,.

The Hard Rock Cafe at Universal CityWalk, (next to Universal Studios) is the last surviving branch of L.A.'s three original Hard Rock Cafes. And it is spectacular. The biggest of the Hard Rocks to date, it can seat more than twice as many people as the former Hard Rock in West Hollywood. And even the giant guitar outside is almost twice as big (75-feet tall) as the one at the old Newport Hard Rock.

A vast, open, round room, it's dominated by a gold '57 Cadillac revolving over the circular bar at the center of the restaurant. Unlike the other local Hard Rocks, this one has two levels, both jammed full of rock 'n' roll memorabilia. Overhead at the entrance is a unique brass chandelier made up of saxophones. The high walls are covered with the usual black leather jackets, records, posters, electric guitars, and clothes worn by rock/pop stars such as Stone Temple Pilots, the Black Crowes, Depeche Mode, Seal, K.D. Lang, Mötley Crüe, James Brown, the Red Hot Chili Peppers... even the Monkees. (Some of the displays include small video monitors showing the rock artists performing.)

The original drum set and bass fiddle used by The Stray Cats adorns one wall. A gigantic electric guitar decorates the ceiling of the second level.

And if you look closely, there are even more valuable memorabilia tucked away in glass cases and elsewhere around the room, including: The famous white sunglasses of Nirvana's late lead singer, Kurt Cobain, along with his flannel shirt and his Fender guitar; A karate outfit from Elvis; a black leather outfit worn by Elton John in his youth (looks like something Michael Jackson might have chosen for himself), the trademark round spectacles worn by former Beatle John Lennon, the drum set Ringo Starr used just before he joined the Beatles, Bob Dylan's jacket - embroidered with images of Jesus, and a saxophone played by President Bill Clinton.

Naturally, there is a continuous soundtrack of rock/pop music blazing in the background, as well as music videos playing on numerous TV monitors located throughout the room. Service is top-notch, and prices are reasonable, but the food remains fairly ordinary - their best-selling "Pig Sandwich," for instance, lacks punch, and doesn't do justice to the room where it's being served.

Getting there: The Universal CityWalk is located outside the gates of Universal City Studios, just a short distance up the freeway from the Hollywood Bowl. / From Hollywood, take the Hollywood (101) Freeway north to the Universal Center Drive exit or the Lankershim exit, from the 101, then just follow the signs. The Hard Rock is at the southeast end of CityWalk, near the movie theatres.

[For more information on this subject, you can access the official Hard Rock website at:]

Click here to buy music from the Hard Rock Cafe collection

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