What Was the First Hard Rock Cafe? A History of This Rock Institution

The Hard Rock Cafe is known as one of the biggest tourist destinations, but do you know how the company got its start? If you love interesting stories, how the brand got its start is a good one. Plus, you can tell your friends you know the history of the cafe and educate them. Below you will find a timeline, starting with the first Hard Rock Cafe.

  1. The First Hard Rock Cafe

The Hard Rock Cafe got its start as a small burger joint in London.

Two Americans named Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett decided to open a burger place in 1971. They wanted to serve American cuisine while appealing to the rising rock music scene in London.

The cafe opened in Mayfair, London. Soon after signing the 6-month lease the Hard Rock Cafe became a success, which was a surprise to the owners and the landlord who all doubted it.

Morton and Tigrett were well versed in business because they both came from successful families. Morton was the son of Arnie Morton who was the president of Morton’s Steakhouse and Tigrett was the son of a self-made entrepreneur. Together they made a great team and started up one of the biggest franchises in the world.

  1. The Logo

The iconic logo has an iconic mind behind it, Alan Aldridge.

Aldridge’s artwork appeared on science fiction books and albums back in the 1960s and 1970s. This led him to be one of the most influential artists of his time.

Morton contacted Aldridge to create a logo similar to the Chevy logo. Even though Aldridge’s style was trippy, he created a clean and sophisticated logo that is recognized around the world.

  1. Memorabilia

The Hard Rock Cafe is known for its vast collection of rock memorabilia. When looking to the dictionary for the memorabilia definition the Hard Rock Cafe should be there. But, did you know the start of this collection all started with Eric Clapton?

Clapton wanted to give Tigrett a guitar. Tigrett declined because he couldn’t play, but Clapton told him to put it on the wall of the cafe. A week later Tigrett placed the guitar in the cafe background, starting a tradition.

In 1986 Tigrett and Morton attended Sotheby’s auction. This auction was loaded with rock memorabilia and Tigrett and Morton needed more for the cafe. They walked away with Madonna’s like a virgin dress, Michael Jackson’s red jacket, John Lennon’s glasses, and much more.

  1. Today

The Hard Rock Cafe hasn’t changed much since its opening. The cafe still serves American-style food and displays rock memorabilia.

The franchise has expanded to include hotels, casinos, and 174 cafes across 74 countries. They even hold the title of having the biggest rock memorabilia collection in the world.

You can visit the cafe in most majors cities. The Hard Rock Cafe Los Angeles is a popular destination among fans.

  1. Who Owns Hard Rock Cafe Today?

On March 5, 2007, the Hard Rock Cafe franchise was acquired by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. They look to keep expanding the legendary company. They are the first Native American Tribe to purchase a major international cooperation.

Now You Know How the Cafe Got Its Start

The cafe has come a long way since the first Hard Rock Cafe opened in 1971. Now you know the story behind the brand and how it began collecting memorabilia. Go tell your friends, or just hold onto this information so you can blow them away at your next trivia night.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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