The Hard Rock in Memphis is now located in the historic Lansky building — Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe - Memphis
Now at 126 Beale - in the building still owned by the Lansky family and once home to gentleman's clothing store Lansky Brothers - the Hard Rock is setting the stage for the expansion of Beale further west, toward the Mississippi River.
The two-level restaurant offers two bars, a stage for live performances and plenty of musical memorabilia with a Memphis twist.
A cape Elvis wore on stage from the early 1970s; an outfit from the film Jailhouse Rock; and instruments, clothing and artifacts from fellow Memphis musical icons Justin Timberlake, B.B. King, Isaac Hayes and Jerry Lee Lewis are displayed throughout the café, along with items from other musical superstars, from U2 to Shakira.
The Elvis area at the new Hard Rock Cafe — Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe - Memphis
The new digs are brighter than the old space, with seating for more than 175 patrons and plenty of exposed brick and vintage touches to keep people connected to the building’s history.
The menu is typical Hard Rock, with lots of burger and sandwich options, as well as smokehouse – what we call "barbecue" in Memphis – selections: ribs, sandwiches and the like.
The move up Beale also gave the Hard Rock the chance to go super high-tech with its stage, acoustics and lighting, meaning the live music experience is better than ever. A regular feature at the café is Memphis Music Mondays, a twice-monthly live music event hosted by the local music commission and featuring a Memphis musician, free appetizers and the chance to mingle with Memphians involved in the local music scene.
The move into the 100-plus-year-old building is even more significant, as the building was once home to the clothing store that helped a young Elvis Presley hone his fashion sense. Lansky Brothers was the go-to clothier for the "King of Rock 'n' Roll," and the original store was housed in the same building Hard Rock now occupies.
While Lansky Brothers moved to the Peabody Hotel years ago, the building remained in the family, and the younger generation has just opened a small boutique called Clothier to the King, where Elvis-inspired clothing and accessories will be offered. The Lansky store joins the Hard Rock’s Rock Shop as the retail outlets now open in the building, and the café has offered part of its second-floor space to house the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, which opens in late 2014.