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:
Still setting up servers in the second floor bar:
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:
The Surface in the lobby:
The Nirvana section includes a Krist Novoselic bass and a Cobain guitar:
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:
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: