The stage is set at Puteri Harbour...


Hard Rock Café, one of the world’s most iconic café brands with outlets established in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, will soon open its fourth outlet in Puteri Harbour, Johor.


Hard Rock Cafe Puteri Harbour, General
Manager, Jimmy Wong, with Shireyrl Ranger
[Left] and Grace Ho [Right]
Recently when the brand posters and hoardings appeared on site, social media was abuzz with hints of the arrival of Hard Rock Café in Puteri Harbour.


Very soon, fans of Hard Rock Café can look forward to tasting the iconic Hard Rock signature menu of food and drinks, view rock memorabilia at a Memorabilia Wall and shop for authentic Hard Rock merchandise in the Rock Shop, opened within the café.


When I received my invitation to the Press Conference, it was another step closer to this hint being turned into a reality.


My invitation to the Press Conference

While the date for the Press Conference was deferred due to circumstances beyond control, the stage was already set to host this event online.


Then this much-anticipated announcement of its soft opening scheduled for December 2021, was made at a Press Conference held virtually on Sept 21, with online attendance by some 70 media titles.


The Press Conference was neatly timed and professionally organized in a programme that flowed smoothly from the Welcome spiel followed by important speeches from invited key personnel for the Hard Rock Café brand.


Needless to say, it was a very different experience to attend a Press Conference virtually but I was still armed with my faithful pen and trusted notepad to jot down notes for reference.


Our virtual Press Conference
[Photo courtesy of Lisa Armani]

[There was no Press Release to hand yet but it was my practice to listen to the speakers to hear first-hand, what they spoke from their scripts or from the hearts.]


From the Opening Address by Area Vice President for Asia Pacific, Hard Rock Café International, Malcolm Chao, it was good to hear his infectious excitement as he spoke about the arrival of one of the world’s most recognized brands in Johor.


Hard Rock International has venues in 68 countries with 241 locations that included owned, licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops, Live Performance Venues and Cafés and very soon, Puteri Harbour in Johor, will be numbered among them.


Words of welcome and support on behalf of the Johor State Government was presented by Chairman of the Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee, Johor State Executive Council, YB Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.


He was thrilled that the stunning views from Puteri Harbour will be shared with the world through the brand’s presence here and envisioned that Hard Rock Café will become a platform for the performing arts.


Datuk Onn Hafiz applauded all efforts to put Johor on the world map and as Tourism is the gateway to meaningful moments, he emphasized that we should work together to present Johor to the world even as Johor Tourism lives up to their Nostalgic Johor branding.


Then Hard Rock Café Puteri Harbour, General Manager, Jimmy Wong, provided an overview of the café layout that covers two levels, with indoor and outdoor settings as well as a stage for live shows.


I am familiar with Puteri Harbour and its attributes particularly at twilight time, and was delighted to hear him say, “Our main highlight is the alfresco dining area which overlooks the scenic harbour, accompanied by a picturesque sunset view.”


When he talked about the Memorabilia Wall, my thoughts flashed to fond memories of the brand’s rock ‘n roll inspired ambience, its throbbing energy and exciting rock culture that permeates the entire property, and my anticipation went up a few more notches.


It was always fun to recall a bit of history about how Eric Clapton inadvertently started the trend of a signature showcase of rock-star artifacts in Hard Rock properties worldwide, when he left his guitar behind to reserve his favourite spot in the hotel bar…


While this vast collection started from one solitary guitar, now Hard Rock owns the world’s largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia of more than 86,000 pieces, displayed at its locations around the globe.


Hard Rock Cafe Puteri Harbour,
General Manager Jimmy Wong [Centre]
has a love connection to Johor!
For die-hard Rock fans, the pleasure of admiring the Memorabilia collection is already worth a visit.


Then my curiosity was piqued when I heard him say, “Johor has always held a very special place in my heart…” and it made me wonder if he was Johorean.


[Later I discovered that his mother was from Muar and worked as a teacher in Batu Pahat… and his dad met her in Johor. Ah! So, his was a love connection to Johor.]


The Rock Shop here will let fans get hold of a range of Hard Rock merchandise like T-shirts, pins, mugs, accessories and collectibles as well as unique Hard Rock Puteri Harbour merchandise, not available elsewhere.


Tay Keyin, Malaysia's first female
freestyle saxophonist in her
funky rock performance.

Any Hard Rock Café announcement will not be complete without a Guest Performance and I was thrilled that Johor’s very own talent was featured in this momentous event.


Alumnae of Johor Baru’s prestigious Sultan Ibrahim’s Girls School, better known as SIGS, Tay Keyin, who has established her reputation as Malaysia’s first female freestyle saxophonist, brought the Funk Rock into the Press Conference with her rendition of Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk, a piece made popular by Bruno Mars.


Then it was back to serious talk when the media’s queries were answered during the Question & Answer session.


As travel restrictions were being eased and the economy gradually reopened, there was an air of confidence that the Café should open according to schedule in December. Meanwhile regular updates will be provided through social media.


Mindful of the seriousness of the situation, the Café will implement Hard Rock International’s Safe and Sound protocols as well as the local requirements and regulations when the Café opens its doors to welcome guests.


As we anticipate the taste of the Café’s signature menu of burgers, steaks and salads, it was good to learn that the Café will obtain fresh produce from local sources and it also has a proper plan to manage food waste.


The Café also has plans to contribute to the community through the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, a charity platform with a common goal: To make the world a better place through music.


With December just a few weeks away, we can look out for the pre-opening promotions and giveaways for families, kids and Hard Rock fans during the year-end festive season.


Aunty Sylvia's favourite mug
featuring King of Rock 'n Roll,
Elvis Presley!

[On Sept 24, we celebrated Aunty Sylvia’s birthday virtually and she replied with a Thank You Very Much meme that featured the King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley, doing his signature pelvis grind, with a message, “Let’s rock together!”


In reply, I invited her to come (back!) to Johor in December because we have a date to rock together at Hard Rock Café Puteri Harbour!


Thrilled with this exciting prospect, Aunty replied with a photo of her favourite mug…that featured who else but the King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley!


Yes, she is his Number One fan who had the privilege to watch him perform live in Les Vegas before he passed on suddenly in 1977.]


At the close of the Press Conference, winners of the Lucky Draw were announced.


Now the stage is set for the show to open in Puteri Harbour, Johor.


For more information on Hard Rock Café Puteri Harbour, visit website:


Visit the online Rock Shop at to purchase Hard Rock Café merchandise.

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