The Location: Hollywood
The Vibes: Massive, bustling, rock’n’roll
Good for: Groups, families, dates
When-To-Go: Really anytime, but happy hour is 4 – 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 – 11:55 p.m., Mon. – Thurs.
The $$ Factor: Most drinks are within the $14 - $16 price range
The 4-1-1: The Hard Rock brand is in 68 countries — with 163 cafés, 23 hotels and 11 casinos
Parking Situation: An underground parking structure in the Hollywood & Highland Center, very limited nearby metered street parking
I’ll Be Back…: For the margarita sampler!
Perhaps you're not taking any vacays this summer or you’ve already gotten your travels out the way. But, that still may not mean that other people — friends, family, long lost cousins — might not be headed into Los Angeles to visit you. And, they’re going to be looking *to you* for things to do — and places to wine and dine during their stay.
One place in particular worth frequenting, especially for out-of-towners, is Hard Rock Café in Hollywood. Located right in the high-energy Hollywood & Highland Center, it’s conveniently near all of the touristy action — the Walk of Fame, the Dolby and the TCL Chinese theaters, and even the set of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show.
Aside from prime real estate, though, every single inch in the 20,000 square feet of the restaurant/bar pays some sort of homage to rock’n’roll. There’s the notable memorabilia hanging on the walls — like Slash’s Gibson acoustic guitar and Steven Adler’s leather black pants. Scores of larger-than-life photos, concert posters and more costumes grace the walls, and are certainly worth ogling over.
And, there’s even Friday night karaoke sessions. With a live band. So basically, you can feel like a rock star yourself, as the Casual Encounters Live Band backs you up, with an impressive 275 song catalog. I have to say, it’s absolutely entertaining to see patrons wildly impress — or horribly disappoint — with their chops.
But as equally important as location and entertainment, Hard Rock has killer cocktails. An expansive menu boasts both longstanding staples and also limited time only offers, like the Mason Jar Sips.
Here’s a look at what some of these libations are:
The Mason Jar Sips. Right in time for the summer season, there are six new creative and colorful ones to try. There’s a shandy, a frozen lemonade, and there’s even an alcohol-free one, the Summertime Blues. The Tropical Rock, pictured below, is a frothy blend of rum, crème de banana, Hard Rock’s very own housemade Pina Colada and Midori Melon Liqueur, poured at the bottom and also as a float on the top.
The Jam Sessions. Similar to the Mason Jar Sips, these libations come in their very own souvenir glass and feature six flavors, including the Pomegranate Mule, the Southern Rock, the Ultimate Long Island Tea and the Purple Haze, pictured below.
The Air Mexico Margaritas. I always want to try a little bit of everything and fortunately, this flight enables me to do just that. Three mini margaritas made with AVION Silver Tequila and Cointreau Orange Liqueur come in the cutest presentation — in a metallic box lined with red-and-white checkered paper, including chips and salsa. Margarita flavors include pomegranate, blue curaçao and mango, wild berry, watermelon and cucumber.
The Real Deal Margarita. Flavors range from traditional to out-of-the-ordinary, and for a stronger but still festive one, try the pomegranate margarita.
Aside from these specialty cocktails, there's a whole plethora of wines and beers to choose from, too.
And fortunately, Hard Rock has a ton of bar bites to go with these cocktails, with the best part being that many of the apps are massive enough to share. Take, for example, the nachos, pictured below. They’re piled high with toppings and can easily feed 3 – 4 people.
Also great for sharing is the Sampler, which comes with five items — some which you can’t even order off the regular menu, like the Southwest spring rolls, pictured below. And if you’re super hungry and want something all for yourself, go for the ribs. They’re cooked for hours in a smoker in the back.
Hard Rock Café truly has an inviting ambiance, large portions and most importantly, well-thought-of cocktails.
So the next time you find yourself having to entertain — or, you yourself are just looking for a summery drink — head over to Hard Rock Café on Hollywood Blvd.
See you there soon!
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