The Hard Rock Cafe in Dubai faced an uncertain future when the property was bought in March.
The Hard Rock Cafe in Dubai faced an uncertain future when the property was bought in March.

Hard Rock Cafe to keep on rolling

DUBAI // Customers and management at Dubai's Hard Rock Cafe have pledged to restore the once legendary cafe to its former glory after it was saved from closure and feared demolition. The popular family venue was saved largely thanks to loyal customers outraged by the prospect of losing a part of Dubai's history. Some threatened to lie in the path of bulldozers if demolition began; others lobbied the media and set up a Facebook group, Save the Hard Rock Cafe, Dubai, that has so far drawn 9,000 members.

The future looked bleak for the building in March when it was revealed that the land on which it stands had been sold to property developer Tameer, which plans to build a luxury hotel on the site. Rumoured D-Day dates - Demolition Day, when the bulldozers would move in - were published on the website. But the owners have now confirmed that the cafe, which opened in December 1997 and was once the most profitable Hard Rock Cafe in the world, will stay open for at least another nine years until the lease is up.

However, supporters of the campaign to save the cafe fear it may still become rundown and forgotten, a shadow of its former self, because little has been done to maintain its atmosphere. Their concern is partly due to the cafe's loss of its liquor licence on July 1, which was followed by dwindling trade. But loyal customers are once again fighting back. Residents living near the cafe, on Sheikh Zayed Road near Dubai Media City, and patrons have vowed to ensure the establishment remains an integral part of the community and becomes a Dubai institution once again.

"It's absolutely great that it managed to stay open," said Sacha Narinx, the creator of the Facebook group and one of the more vocal supporters of the cafe. "We [supporters] definitely made a difference to the outcome but fewer people are going, they would rather go somewhere else. It's just not the same any more. "It used to be a whole experience, a social thing. People from all over would go, like the US military guys on leave."

Mr Narinx visits the cafe at least three times a week. "It is the kind of place that does not cost a fortune, and you can bring your family," he said, adding that there are few places like that in Dubai. Especially popular among expatriates, the Hard Rock Cafe was once a hub of loud music, American diner food and a lively, buzzing atmosphere that its supporters hope will return. It is well-known for its collection of rock 'n' roll memorabilia, for which the parent company paid a fortune to equip outlets around the world.

Signed jackets, guitars, lyrics, records and motorbikes adorn the walls from legendary artists such as The Beatles and Michael Jackson, as well as contemporary acts such as REM and Oasis. Daniel Hawkes, a regular cafe customer for four years, said: "The Hard Rock is such an important place for people to meet and chill. I know many people who started to go to other places now because the atmosphere just isn't the same anymore."

Many customers now in their 20s used to go to the cafe as children with their parents as a regular weekly treat. Rosemary-Clare Napper said: "I used to live next door to Hard Rock and I have spent so many happy times there. "It simply cannot ever be knocked down. It is against everything we stand for." John Hall, the restaurant's manager, said business had been more "challenging" of late but the owners were committed to keeping it running.

"We continue to have a great, loyal and passionate customer base here in the region," said Mr Hall. "Local support from our customers has been incredible and we thank them for their continued support." He said the hotel being built on the site would help enhance the Hard Rock's presence in the city. "We will return it to its former glory," Mr Narinx said. "It's such an amazing place to hang out. Hopefully after Ramadan, when the band comes back, it will pick up again and more people will go."

Company Profile

Name: Neo Mobility
Started: February 2023
Co-founders: Abhishek Shah and Anish Garg
Based: Dubai
Industry: Logistics
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Delta Corp, Pyse Sustainability Fund, angel investors

The Byblos iftar in numbers

29 or 30 days – the number of iftar services held during the holy month

50 staff members required to prepare an iftar

200 to 350 the number of people served iftar nightly

160 litres of the traditional Ramadan drink, jalab, is served in total

500 litres of soup is served during the holy month

200 kilograms of meat is used for various dishes

350 kilograms of onion is used in dishes

5 minutes – the average time that staff have to eat


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Important questions to consider

1. Where on the plane does my pet travel?

There are different types of travel available for pets:

  • Manifest cargo
  • Excess luggage in the hold
  • Excess luggage in the cabin

Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.


2. What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?

If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on volumetric weight, in other words, the size of their travel crate.

If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.


3. What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?

As soon as the flight arrives, your pet will be taken from the plane straight to the airport terminal.

If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. 

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by staff based at the arriving airport. 


4. How long does the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?

This depends entirely on the location that your pet is traveling to. Your pet relocation compnay will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long the relevant preparations will take and at what point in the process the various steps must be taken.

In some cases they can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days. In others it can be up to six months or more.


5. What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?

Regardless of where your pet is traveling, they will need certain vaccinations. The exact vaccinations they need are entirely dependent on the location they are traveling to. The one vaccination that is mandatory for every country your pet may travel to is a rabies vaccination.

Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.

Source: Pawsome Pets UAE

The years Ramadan fell in May





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