MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Inside the new Hard Rock cafe, Jeff Nolan, the company’s music and memorabilia historian, proudly shows of their new digs on Beale Street and rare artifacts once worn by Elvis Presley.
“Elvis wore this in the film Jailhouse Rock. This is early ’70s, the stage worn cape, and I love the way you have it displayed. You can almost see the King,” Nolan said.
After 16 years at 315 Beale, the Hard Rock is moving two blocks west to 126 Beale, the old Lansky Brothers Building and Elvis Presley’s Memphis nightclub. It’ll feature the memorabilia of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, and other music icons such as Justin Timberlake, Isaac Hayes, U2, Shakira and The Who.
“We know where we are. We know the history of it and we respect it. We figured if we’re going to come to Memphis or relocate here in Memphis, cause we’ve been in town for a while, we better come correct. We better bring the big stuff,” Nolan said.
Deanna Brown is sales and marketing manager for the Hard Rock Memphis.
“We’re super excited not only because this is a historic building, but because we’re going to have a new vibe,” Brown said.
But what about the vibe on the eastern end of the historic street, where there are fewer blues clubs and fewer tourists?
Ty Agee is president of the Beale Street Merchants Association.
“I was scared at first a little bit, Alex, because I always like to see the buildings stay full from Third to Fourth Street, it’s always shakier on that end than it is between Third and Second,” Agee said.
News Channel 3 has learned the Nashville restaurant chain called “Tin Roof” will be moving into the old Hard Rock location and Sweetie Pie’s, a soul food restaurant, featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network, will be located at Fourth and Beale Streets, the site of the old Have A Nice Day Cafe.
“So, that’s going to put that whole end back to capacity and that’s really good news,” Agee said.
Tourists such as Bob Herndon and his granddaughter Peyton say those additions will bring their family back to Beale.
“I think with the Grizzlies next door that’s a wise idea to bring more people downtown,” Bob said.
“I think it’s really cool because I know about this. So, I wanted to see it,” Peyton said.
It’s a potential win-win from one side of Beale Street to another.
“You got to come check it out. Have a burger, have a beer and see this amazing stuff,” Nolan said.
The public opening for the new Hard Rock will be Thursday morning. The new Memphis Music Hall of Fame will open later this year in the same building.