Hard Rock Cafe - Santo Domingo (5/10)

Robert

Stay Frosty!
Jan 2, 1999
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dr1.com
Located in Plaza Colon in the Colonial Zone.
It's almost opposite the first church in the Americas.

They did a good job on the inside, looks like a typical Hard Rock Cafe.

The place has only been open a week or so, I guess they are ironing out the bumps, at least I hope so. The place was packed with the "I'm here, look at me" crowd. I have a feeling this crowd is good for maybe 1 or 2 meals at the Hard Rock Cafe before they move onto the next new venue or go back to Fridays or OutBack. I'm not so sure of the long term success in it's current location, no parking and not in the heart of the upper middle class. You need to win over the local crowd as the Colonial Zone just doesn't get that many tourists.

Back to the experience...

The wait for a table was 30 mins or more. When I asked if it was possible for us to eat at the bar, they told me no. They also gave us a flag that nobody seemed to know what it was for, interesting, anyone know? When we went to the bar to wait for our table they said it wasn't a problem eating at the bar. I guess the memo hadn't reached the bar yet :) The barman took our order down on a napkin, I guess the order book hadn't made it either.

I asked several times for a chair to sit down on, all the others at the bar had people on them. Mind you, 75% of these people were not drinking, just waiting around for tables. I never got a chair and asking for one just fell on death ears. Kind of like it's not my problem. Even when I got a little more vocal, I was wasting my time. Great service guys, be sure to have the manager give you another pin to stick on your lapel.

The food came out all at the same time, starter and main meal. The food was ok, nothing special, typical Fridays style food. Not worthy of the Michelin restaurant guide, but better than McDonalds.

Bottom line, I give the new Hard Rock Cafe, 5 out of 10.

My advice, Fridays, Outback or the Steakhouse are better options.

In this business, you have one chance to make a good impression and create a repeat customer. Guess what, I'm only going back if someone else picks up the tab :)
 

Andy B

Bronze
Jan 1, 2002
774
0
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www.elmarinique.com
Robert,
Giving them a 5 rating considering the service you got was most gracious. I would have probably given them a 2, if only for making me stand and not sit down. I happened to be there early in May when they had that "look at me, see me" fashion show of sorts and stopped to chat with my buddy, Sergio Carlo, as he was doing tv interviews with some of the "denizens of the fair city" during the "happening." What a strange bunch of people (?) were there. As I told him then and you seem to also echo this, that's about the dumbest place in Santo Domingo to put an establishment like this,...in the heart of the Colonial Zone where tourists go to see where our Western Hemisphere culture started. You go there to hear bachata, merengue and salsa, not rock and roll. It should be located out where the plastic, hip crowd hangs out and not spoil the atmosphere of the square. As you know, the zone is a special place and I for one don't want to see this kind of thing happen around there. I don't wish them ill, but it would be nice if they moved somewhere else, maybe to the Acropolis or some other trumped up facade such as that.
It reminds me of another hip place just around the corner that went under, Caribbean Blue, that was also out of place in the zone.
 

Milosos

*** Sin Bin ***
Jun 2, 2006
23
0
0
They opened a Hard Rock at Foxwoods Casino on Ct. USA about 6 months ago, it has not done so well either

the Hard Rock Cafe' "era" was about 10 years ago, most, except for the California locations are not what they were once hyped to be

You also need the occasional Star or sports figure to draw people.
 

karienina

New member
Jan 18, 2006
31
0
0
I went twice, around 4 in the afternoon and the place was empty, the service of course it was good as they did'nt have anyone, but it really smelled at the bar. They said it was a problem with the drainage in the colonial zone and what about the WC, well you have to climb in the toilet to close or open the door.
 
Sep 20, 2003
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Andy B said:
Robert,
Giving them a 5 rating considering the service you got was most gracious. I would have probably given them a 2, if only for making me stand and not sit down. I happened to be there early in May when they had that "look at me, see me" fashion show of sorts and stopped to chat with my buddy, Sergio Carlo, as he was doing tv interviews with some of the "denizens of the fair city" during the "happening." What a strange bunch of people (?) were there. As I told him then and you seem to also echo this, that's about the dumbest place in Santo Domingo to put an establishment like this,...in the heart of the Colonial Zone where tourists go to see where our Western Hemisphere culture started. You go there to hear bachata, merengue and salsa, not rock and roll. It should be located out where the plastic, hip crowd hangs out and not spoil the atmosphere of the square. As you know, the zone is a special place and I for one don't want to see this kind of thing happen around there. I don't wish them ill, but it would be nice if they moved somewhere else, maybe to the Acropolis or some other trumped up facade such as that.
It reminds me of another hip place just around the corner that went under, Caribbean Blue, that was also out of place in the zone.

I agree with the Andy B. The Hard Rock Cafe does not belong in the Colonial Zone. I hate to see someone lose thier job, but I'll be happy if the Hard Rock Cafe fails. Why? Not just because it doesn't belong in such a historic place, but because if it is successful MORE theme resturants will follow it. I don't want to see the Colonial Zone ruined.
 

qgrande

Bronze
Jul 27, 2005
805
4
0
I think the Hard Rock Cafes are very often in areas where most tourists come - unfortunately those are often also the historically interesting and vulnerable districts; they sell lots of stuff to tourists that can't think of better souvenirs than a chain restaurant T-shirt with the name of the place they visited on it :(.
 
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bigbird

Gold
May 1, 2005
7,375
161
0
joel pacheco said:
I agree with the Andy B. The Hard Rock Cafe does not belong in the Colonial Zone. I hate to see someone lose thier job, but I'll be happy if the Hard Rock Cafe fails. Why? Not just because it doesn't belong in such a historic place, but because if it is successful MORE theme resturants will follow it. I don't want to see the Colonial Zone ruined.
From the outside you would not know it was a Hard Rock Cafe except for the sign. Now had a McDonalds opened at that location and put up the Golden Arches there is no doubt that area would never be the same.
 

Robert

Stay Frosty!
Jan 2, 1999
20,575
326
83
dr1.com
bigbird said:
From the outside you would not know it was a Hard Rock Cafe except for the sign. Now had a McDonalds opened at that location and put up the Golden Arches there is no doubt that area would never be the same.
I agree, they have done a good job of blending in.
 

bienamor

Kansas redneck an proud of it
Apr 23, 2004
4,874
335
83
The Arches were not that big

bigbird said:
From the outside you would not know it was a Hard Rock Cafe except for the sign. Now had a McDonalds opened at that location and put up the Golden Arches there is no doubt that area would never be the same.
Used to be a McDonalds on El Conde, did not stand out that much, was down by Cafe Las Flores. But then it went the way of the Burger King, that was on the Corner.
 

cork

New member
Aug 23, 2003
248
0
0
Robert said:
Located in Plaza Colon in the Colonial Zone.
It's almost opposite the first church in the Americas.

They did a good job on the inside, looks like a typical Hard Rock Cafe.

The place has only been open a week or so, I guess they are ironing out the bumps, at least I hope so. The place was packed with the "I'm here, look at me" crowd. I have a feeling this crowd is good for maybe 1 or 2 meals at the Hard Rock Cafe before they move onto the next new venue or go back to Fridays or OutBack. I'm not so sure of the long term success in it's current location, no parking and not in the heart of the upper middle class. You need to win over the local crowd as the Colonial Zone just doesn't get that many tourists.

Back to the experience...

The wait for a table was 30 mins or more. When I asked if it was possible for us to eat at the bar, they told me no. They also gave us a flag that nobody seemed to know what it was for, interesting, anyone know? When we went to the bar to wait for our table they said it wasn't a problem eating at the bar. I guess the memo hadn't reached the bar yet :) The barman took our order down on a napkin, I guess the order book hadn't made it either.

I asked several times for a chair to sit down on, all the others at the bar had people on them. Mind you, 75% of these people were not drinking, just waiting around for tables. I never got a chair and asking for one just fell on death ears. Kind of like it's not my problem. Even when I got a little more vocal, I was wasting my time. Great service guys, be sure to have the manager give you another pin to stick on your lapel.

The food came out all at the same time, starter and main meal. The food was ok, nothing special, typical Fridays style food. Not worthy of the Michelin restaurant guide, but better than McDonalds.

Bottom line, I give the new Hard Rock Cafe, 5 out of 10.

My advice, Fridays, Outback or the Steakhouse are better options.

In this business, you have one chance to make a good impression and create a repeat customer. Guess what, I'm only going back if someone else picks up the tab :)

Maybe it is an omen that it went into the old Banniter Bank building
 

bigbird

Gold
May 1, 2005
7,375
161
0
bienamor said:
Used to be a McDonalds on El Conde, did not stand out that much, was down by Cafe Las Flores. But then it went the way of the Burger King, that was on the Corner.
Just my one trip observation but El Conde is quite different from the area where the Hard Rock Cafe is. El Conde seems to blend with "modern" stores and restaurants. The area around the Cathedral of Santo Domingo has the quaint old historic feeling. Arches on El Conde would say "let's eat". Arches across from the Cathedral would say "what's this place doing here".
 

Bok

New member
Mar 13, 2004
179
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Hopefully it'll go the same way as the Wendy's that was totally misplaced at Plaza Espa?a. What an eyesore that was!

The food at Hard Rock will also meet stiff competion from the chicken breast w/ dominican mash from restaurant Anacaona next door or the real Italian pizza from Segafredo Zanetti further down El Conde, just to name two I like :lick:
 

LatinoRican

New member
Apr 11, 2004
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I will be in SD in mid-August and was thinking of stopping at the HRC to check it out. However, with the new liquor curfew law, it will probably be closed by then!
 

rafael

Bronze
Jan 2, 2002
1,632
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www.dr-tourist.tv
I have eaten at the Hard Rock the last 2 nights. I think it blends in fine and is very nice inside. I totally agree with robert that they need to get the kinks out ASAP and treat customers better.

I also think if done right, the Hard Rock Cafe can help spearhead making that part of the colonial zone more of a tourist stop. Many tourists will head to HRC and I think that may help businesses nearby. Right next to the hard rock, I noticed a very large gift that looked much cleaner and less run down than most in the zona. I don't remember noticing this before. I bet someone put some money into this place banking on selling souvenirs to tourists leaving the hard rock.

First night we went, it was a buddy from denmark and myself. When he had first heard they were putting a HRC in that area he rolled his eyes and commented about having a tacky tourist trap ruin the atmosphere. Once he got there, he said they did a great job of maintaining the atmosphere and blending in.

The tables for 2 are very small and while being seated I asked for a booth instead. There were maybe 8 booths completely empty. The hostess said, no they are for large groups. I said we will be done eating before you could possibly fill those booths. She said no. My buddy wasn't listening and he walked over to sit at a booth and another hostess prctically yelled at him not to sit there.

I ordered 2 appetizers and a side rather than a meal and our plates barely fit on the table. I had tupelo tenders, buffalo wings and fries, while my buddy had a burger. The food was pretty good and when we finished sure enough at least 4 of the booths were still available.

Last night I took the novia as she wanted to check it out. While getting seated at a table for 2 again, we asked if we could eat at the bar. The hostess said yes. We sit at the bar, order 2 drinks, and sit there like dopes for 10 minutes waiting for someone to take our orders. Finally we call the bartender over, and he says. . . .no eating at the bar. Great.

Now we make our way back to the entrance and have to be seated again. Same problem with the table being tiny. I joked with our waiter about them not really having their crap together yet. I have eaten in a ton of hard rocks, almost always at the bar.

It is cool to have another option when I am in the mood for wings. They are pretty good and I ordered a double order last night. Just ate the leftovers for lunch.

I will go back in a few weeks and see if they have their crap together by then. If they do, I'll have to invite robert. . . . .if I pick up the tab he said he'd go;-)
 

fightingirish

New member
Dec 8, 2005
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Hrc

Back in the states I would avoid a HRC like the plague. Theyre indistinguishable from starbacks-walmart-mcdonalds, etc. And theyre arrival usually signals the end of the neighborhood as an interesting place.

But some dominican friends took me to the HRC in SD the other night and Im not that much of a jerk that I was going to complain. (Its like the dominican that brought me to Plaza Central to show me "dominican culture.") It was okay... the air conditioning was pleasant, the beers cold. You could have been in any hard rock anywhere, which is fine if that is what youre looking for.
 

Andy B

Bronze
Jan 1, 2002
774
0
0
www.elmarinique.com
Facing the HRC, the nice gift shop (the one I think Rafael is referring to) on the left has been there for 6 years that I know of and the one on the right (several doors down on the corner) has been there several years now. Most of the businesses along the square have been there for years. Baniter was one of the few not to last. And correct me if I'm wrong, but that part of the Conde ALREADY is more of a tourist stop than the rest of the Conde (Independence Square at the west end of the Conde included) with the attraction of the National Cathedral, the original city hall and Columbus' statue. The rest of the Conde has more of a cheap, flashy, commercial aura but Columbus Square has a serene tranquility, a simple beauty with it's limited development and open space. The pigeons and outdoor restaurants on the square also add to the ambiance and certainly don't detract from the allure of the square. I've spent considerable time over the last ten years sitting there sipping a cold drink and watching the world go by and in my opinion, it's one of the nicest spots in Santo Domingo to while away and hour or so doing absolutely nothing. And as much as I love rock and roll (having spent many years in broadcasting), R&R and a Hard Rock Cafe just doesn't belong there.
 

El Diego

New member
Apr 24, 2006
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I have eaten at the Hard Rock the last 2 nights. I think it blends in fine and is very nice inside. I totally agree with robert that they need to get the kinks out ASAP and treat customers better.

I also think if done right, the Hard Rock Cafe can help spearhead making that part of the colonial zone more of a tourist stop. Many tourists will head to HRC and I think that may help businesses nearby. Right next to the hard rock, I noticed a very large gift that looked much cleaner and less run down than most in the zona. I don't remember noticing this before. I bet someone put some money into this place banking on selling souvenirs to tourists leaving the hard rock.

First night we went, it was a buddy from denmark and myself. When he had first heard they were putting a HRC in that area he rolled his eyes and commented about having a tacky tourist trap ruin the atmosphere. Once he got there, he said they did a great job of maintaining the atmosphere and blending in.

The tables for 2 are very small and while being seated I asked for a booth instead. There were maybe 8 booths completely empty. The hostess said, no they are for large groups. I said we will be done eating before you could possibly fill those booths. She said no. My buddy wasn't listening and he walked over to sit at a booth and another hostess prctically yelled at him not to sit there.

I ordered 2 appetizers and a side rather than a meal and our plates barely fit on the table. I had tupelo tenders, buffalo wings and fries, while my buddy had a burger. The food was pretty good and when we finished sure enough at least 4 of the booths were still available.

Last night I took the novia as she wanted to check it out. While getting seated at a table for 2 again, we asked if we could eat at the bar. The hostess said yes. We sit at the bar, order 2 drinks, and sit there like dopes for 10 minutes waiting for someone to take our orders. Finally we call the bartender over, and he says. . . .no eating at the bar. Great.

Now we make our way back to the entrance and have to be seated again. Same problem with the table being tiny. I joked with our waiter about them not really having their crap together yet. I have eaten in a ton of hard rocks, almost always at the bar.

It is cool to have another option when I am in the mood for wings. They are pretty good and I ordered a double order last night. Just ate the leftovers for lunch.

I will go back in a few weeks and see if they have their crap together by then. If they do, I'll have to invite robert. . . . .if I pick up the tab he said he'd go;-)

hi,
did you go back to eat again at HRC?
also, i read there's no parking there.. so where would someone park their car that's close to HRC?
 

Larry

Gold
Mar 22, 2002
3,513
2
0
The mushrooms and onions were a 256 pesos charge! (do the math)
Jeez. You wont catch me in there.

I would rather go to the little Dominican place 2 blocks up El Conde and just to the right where I had lunch the other day. A huge plate of rice, a big bowl of delicious habichuelas and a big plate of cerdo guisado. All for 100 pesos! Add to that a nice cool, quiet setting and a pleasant waitress.


Larry
 

El Diego

New member
Apr 24, 2006
191
2
0
JD/Larry,
is therer parking avail around HRC or vicinity?

if one is to go from jaragua hotel to zona colonial,, how would
one get there (by car)? also,, jaragua is on ave George Wash & what intersection?

thnx.