Why The Hard Rock Hotel Is Really Great For New York Residents


As a New Yorker, do you really need to visit a Hard Rock Hotel?

A little history lesson: The original Hard Rock Cafe was launched in 1971 and quickly made a name for itself showcasing rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia and popping up in major tourist towns around the world.

You know the t-shirt. And you may have been to one of the restaurants or hotels – we had a fun time at the Hard Rock (RIP) in Vegas, which is now one of Richard Branson’s Virgin hotels.

Meanwhile, our hometown already has a Hard Rock Cafe, a 708-seat restaurant that I resolutely avoided except for the occasional media event. Would adding a Hard Rock Hotel to the tourist trap that is Times Square really help this city?

Johnny Oleksinski of New York Post don’t think so. He’s definitely not a fan of the hotel/restaurant chain that lays claim to the supposedly hallowed grounds of, uh, 48th St. and 7th Ave.

“An opportunistic and sadly corny conglomerate would have you believe that the iconic Music Row is back and thriving,” says the writer (who also felt that Dry January was a “totally selfish business”). He continues, “These greedy building owners haven’t abandoned some of the last vestiges of Midtown’s distinctive character in favor of bong shops and espresso bars. That Ringo Starr could manage to buy new wands any day. It would be the new Hard Rock Hotel, the brand’s last outpost of memorabilia and kitsch that, surprisingly, still exists.

He then compares the Hard Rock to other Times Square chains such as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and David & Buster’s (some of which I enjoyed, both ironically and not).

Yes, there are plenty of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia to see and Hard Rock merchandise to buy.

Kirk Miller

I visited the Hard Rock at the end of May not as an overnight guest, but as a 27 year old resident of this town who now works five minutes from the new hotel. Granted, I don’t like this area of ​​town for socializing, but I and many other white-collar workers in the area spend enough time in the shadows of the theater district and Radio City Music Hall that we’re willing to a surprisingly wide range. of mainstream food or drink options (ask how many times I’ve been to the world’s largest Applebee on 50 and 7).

My goal was simply to enjoy an evening at the Hard Rock — which promises “extraordinary entertainment venues, 446 guest rooms and suites on 36 floors, and innovative restaurants” — without irony or residential disdain.

Granted, I couldn’t see Venue on Music Row, the hotel’s two-story live entertainment space, or spend time at Sessions Restaurant & Bar, which was located near the recording booth and seems more oriented towards the hotel guest on a daily basis. . I also skipped the downstairs gift shop because I’m familiar with Hard Rock t-shirts and trinkets.

Instead, I focused on NYY Steak, the cavernous Yankees-affiliated steakhouse on the ground floor of the hotel, and RT60, the rooftop bar and lounge on the 34th floor.

A steak on a plate at NYY, the steakhouse at the new Hard Rock Hotel

Steaks at Hard Rock’s NYY range from $52 for a 10oz skirt steak to $65/oz for rare cuts

Hard Rock Hotels

This isn’t the first NYY Steak — there’s one in Florida (!) and another at Yankee Stadium. Ironically, this branch of the steakhouse isn’t a place you’d watch a baseball game (we didn’t notice any TVs), even though you’re surrounded by an array of Yankees memorabilia and your meal arrives on platters. featuring the jersey numbers of famous Yankees players.

No, it’s primarily a classic steakhouse, à la Keens, Del Frisco’s, Gallagher’s, etc. Nothing on the menu will shock you—we sampled a New York Strip Steak, Creamed Spinach, Smoked Old Fashioned (with a NYY-brand ice cube), Tuna Tartare, Marrow Bone, and a few other steakhouse staples during our Thursday evening dinner. The restaurant offers a range of heritage cuts as well as rarer cuts, such as Japanese A5 “Snow Beef” from Hokkaido.

Overall, the service was attentive and the food, beautifully presented, was either a familiarly solid steakhouse or (no pun intended) a cut above its Midtown peers (I even enjoyed a beet salad ). If you want an after-work rib eye or even a solid seafood option, NYY is definitely not inexpensive but highly recommended for small groups and those with expense accounts.

two cocktails at RT60, the rooftop lounge of the Hard Rock Hotel

Drink prices on the RT60 rooftop are surprisingly modest

Kirk Miller

Hard Rock’s hidden selling point? This top floor living room. Beer and cocktail prices at RT60 were $9-$17 – or average New York bar prices and about 50% less than the equivalent rooftop bar tab. The space was modestly laid out and the crowd decidedly non-hipster, and there was plenty of seating inside and out. As someone who found the service, prices and door policies of most NYC rooftop bars maddening – yes, there are exceptions – it was nice to have an affordable drink in a space with a great view and not feeling squeezed out by an overly assertive 25-year-old team.

Given Midtown’s location, I don’t think the new Hard Rock is destroying New York’s heritage. I feel like the hotel is a great space for city residents to bring friends and family from out of town who don’t necessarily fancy trekking downtown or Brooklyn – and could serve as a casual meeting space for New York residents trapped in their unchosen realm.

The Hard Rock Hotel is located at 159 W. 48th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.


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