Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City – Grand Opening Party

Last Friday was the official Grand Opening Party at the Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City.   Last month was the soft opening.

Leon Sikes, the Managing Partner at MNG Joint Venture Partnership, and I were given invites by the Viet Thai International Joint Stock Company, or VTI for short.  For those of you that do not know, VTI is the owner of Highlands Coffee, and the master investor for Hard Rock Cafe HCM.  MNG, which focuses on global commerce and trade, intends to distribute Highland products in Turkey with hopes in expanding to the Central Eurasian region.

Since Leon and I did not have our invitation passes, Derick from VTI walked us in.  Once inside, I forgot I was even in Vietnam.  They did an amazing job with the interior of this Hard Rock Cafe.  Since it was the grand opening, the drinks and appetizers were free.

Hard Rock Cafe HCM was a bit packed since there were actually two parties, the 6 PM and the 9 PM (for VIPs).  At 9 PM, the early group just stayed, I would not have left either.  Run-DMC was the star of the grand opening.  If you did not get an invite, you really missed a great party.

Hard Rock Cafe HCM is definitely the place to go to hang out, have a drink and listen to good much in Saigon.  Actually, I would say it beats all the other clubs in Saigon now.

Photos and 1 video below.  Sorry, I used my G1 Google Phone so the picture quality is a bit lacking.

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City Grand Opening

(Hard Rock Cafe HCM from the front of the Intercontinental Hotel)

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City Grand Opening

(Entrace of Hard Rock Cafe HCM)

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City Grand Opening

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City Grand Opening

(First band playing)

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City Grand Opening

Hard Rock Cafe Ho Chi Minh City Grand Opening

(Run-DMC playing)

  • Clifton Buck-Kauffman

    I wish them good fortune although I don’t believe the business model reflects the reality of the market in Vietnam, even in Saigon, for such establishments. I am reminded of the quick demise of the Fashion TV franchise a few months ago after about a year in operation.
    When I went to the HRC last month there weren’t many customers and they were eating sparingly, like 3 people sharing an order of french fries at the next table. The food is very expensive, hamburgers for $10 to $15, and nothing was that great. The chocolate milkshake tasted like cheap pudding. The R&R memorabilia was pedestrian, just a cut above typical collectables readily available on EBay.
    The HRC store upstairs was very interesting because of the ridiculously high prices for the HRC branded clothing and accessories. You can buy an embroidered t-shirt with the HRC Saigon logo for about $2 at numerous locations around town, or much, much more from them. Caps the same story.
    They are occupying some expensive space and have, I am sure, many hidden expenses typically related to the franchise agreement.
    I will try it again some time soon to see what demographic finds it appealing. I doubt it will be ex-pats or foreign tourists patronizing our local version of HRC.

    • Hi Clifton,

      I agree with you here but I did see many tourists there. You will get many people who stay at the Intercontinental Hotel probably stopping by. There will also be people who travel the world to visit the HRCs but I think they are few. The crowd will probably be mostly the upper middle class and businessmen I think. Unlike Fashion TV, HRC HCM is here to stay for the long haul in my opinion. In the long run it will bring in a profit. That seems to be a strategy, and a good one I might, of VTI. Not many investment firms think long term here in Saigon.

      Lets meet there before Tet if you have time.

  • Was my 4th visit last night & was quite surprised to see it full, as the 1st opening night & NYE ran at about 75%. So a non-event night to be full at 8:30pm was not expected.

    The food is not brilliant, the drinks are expensive & I’ve averaged a spend of 1.2 mill per night so far. However, the live hard rock on offer is my drawcard. Acoustic is too small with no atmosphere, HiFi Bar has done nothing so far, & there’s no other rock around as far as I know. But, the patrons to date have not been avid rock fans, being there for curiosity. Melbourne closed after a couple of years, & I’ll be surprised to see this last.

    Clifton, have you been to any other HRC’s? The memorabilia equals that of Melbourne, Tokyo & Yokohama. The price of clothing is just fine considering the cost of shopping in any tourist-focused retailer in District 1

    Kevin, I see you weren’t keen on getting too close to the action. 😉

  • fitzecarraldo

    Hi Kevin,
    Reading your blog for a while as i am off and on Saigon and work in IT, too. Nice and intersting Blog!

    Haha crazy too see Run DMC in Vietnam, i d never expect that, anyway i think mostly just foreigner know them.
    I agree in some points of clifton, we ll see if the stay in long run, actually to me, i am not a huge hard rock cafe fan knowing it from other cities, but if they offer proper enterainment it ll be an alternative to all the stuff like acustic and so on..

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