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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 8, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Hard Rock Seattle gets interactive audio tour, rocking patio

If you’re looking to geek out at the Hard Rock Cafe, the Las Vegas outpost is still your best bet.

Seattle’s Hard Rock — opening Wednesday in the gentrified former smut zone near Pike Place Market — has a Microsoft Surface computer in the lobby and a 52-inch touchscreen “Rock Wall” display for exploring the chain’s rock memorabilia collection.

While the Vegas store has seven Surface computers and an 18-foot-long Rock Wall, Seattle’s does have Hard Rock’s first interactive audio tour, a phone-based system the company is trying out here.

To find out about the rock artifacts in the cafe — including guitars owned by Seattlelites Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder — you can dial 206-204-4666 from your mobile phone and enter the number displayed next to each artifact. For instance, Nos. 19 and 20 describe the 1969 Fender Stratocaster and a leather satchel that belonged to Hendrix.

If the recorded message on the line seems long, you can just punch the number and go straight to a recorded explanation.

The cafe’s best feature, though, is an open-air patio with gas fireplaces and a dedicated bar overlooking the red Pike Place Market sign and Elliott Bay.

A few pictures taken during a press tour today, including autographed drums from early Nirvana drummer Chad Channing, with the interactive audio tour number 47 at the lower left:

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Still setting up servers in the second floor bar:

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One of the cafe’s best artifacts is a guitar formerly owned by Vedder, with crib notes for “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” from “Vs.” taped to the side:

hard rock vedder.JPG

The Surface in the lobby:

hard rock surface.JPG

The Nirvana section includes a Krist Novoselic bass and a Cobain guitar:

hard rock nirvana.JPG

A jacket owned by The Who’s Keith Moon, on which a drink was spilled during a 1976 Seattle concert, after which he sold it to soundman Bob Pridden, who spilled the drink:

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Speaking of spilling drinks, I wonder if they’ll need some sort of technology to keep enthusiastic users of the Hard Rock patio from spilling drinks off the ledge onto Pike Street. A spokeswoman said only plastic cups will be allowed up here:

hard rock patio.JPG

Comments | Topics: hard rock cafe, Microsoft, seattle

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