A new Hard Rock Cafe in Newcastle will pay homage to the city’s rock heroes, including Sting, Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler.
That’s the pledge from the entrepreneurial pair who aim to invest around £2.5m into the transformation of the Guild Hall on Newcastle Quayside into the brand’s first American-style diner in the region.
Councillors will this week be asked to grant an alcohol licence for the rock-and-roll-themed restaurant at the Grade I listed building.
And ahead of the licensing sub-committee meeting, the couple driving forward the plans – David and Penny Tilly – have submitted documents outlining their vision.
Mr and Mrs Tilly, who have run care specialist Care-ability Healthcare in Washington for more than 20 years, aim to create around 60 jobs at the venture, which marks their second foray into the city’s leisure scene.
They operated the Nova seafood restaurant in High Bridge, and had also planned to open a neighbouring cocktail bar, but closed the restaurant so they could put all their efforts into bringing Hard Rock Cafe to the city.
The licensing document said: “Two years in the making after a chance conversation with a family member in Hard Rock Café Kuala Lumpur and working closely with NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), captured the interest in bringing the global blue chip brand to the historic city of Newcastle.
“Newcastle will be the first franchise in the UK. Hard Rock International are so impressed by the city and what it has to offer they immediately recognised the partnership, not only what the city could do for the brand but what the brand can do for the city.
“Penny and David’s £2.5m investment will create over 60 new jobs in the city and give Newcastle a new concept in dining to local, national and international visitors. A dining concept that caters for all from families to young and old “love all serve all” and “all is one” .
“A new venue paying homage via memorabilia to past rock stars like Sting, Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler to name a few and to raise a platform for new local talent.”
The documents also give a hint as to what the final restaurant would look like, saying it is working around a design brief to be sympathetic to the building’s heritage, incorporating a new period ceiling, period columns, flooring and heritage colours.
The application pack also includes backing from NGI, which adds: “For Hard Rock Cafe, this presents a timely opportunity to bring the brand to a location with significant momentum
in the retail, leisure and hospitality space, and positioned geographically to serve a substantial population.
“With £1.46bn in visitor spending (increasing year-on-year), and gross disposable income increasing in the local population, the trajectory for the area is very positive.
“Growing employment in the food and drink sector, hotel developments, and occupancy rates in the area further strengthen the business case for Hard Rock Cafe to invest in the local economy.”