The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has always had its roots in music. The hotel is filled with display cases exhibiting memorabilia from the biggest stars in rock and it has also been a top venue for live music over the years with its concert hall, The Joint.
Now the hotel has decided to complement its live music offerings with a more intimate space called Vinyl, which opened last weekend.
Paul Davis, vice president of entertainment at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, describes Vinyl as “gritty, hip and music-friendly.”
“The venue so far seems to be very well received by the bands, people in the business, the press and the public — so everybody seems to be genuinely excited about it,” Davis said.
Vinyl has a capacity of just 650 compared to 4,000 at The Joint, which means the venue can host up-and-coming acts.
“With a smaller room like that we can book bands that are not quite ready for The Joint yet,” Davis said. “We can use it as an incubator for ‘baby bands.’ It’s also a great place for artists who are in bigger bands who have smaller side projects. It’s a great venue for doing after-concert performances. It’s a very versatile room — we’re going to be very broad demographically in that room with different genres of music.”
Vinyl is definitely all about the music, but Davis said there is potential for other types of entertainment in the room as well.
“Right now the room is going to be open an average of five nights per week. We’ll have two to three ticketed shows per week with touring bands and that type of thing and on the nights we aren’t doing those we’ll have some local rock bands in there. We will be doing things like comedy and we are looking at things like late-night burlesque possibly. And maybe some rock ’n’ roll DJs following concerts.”
A wide variety of acts have already been booked at Vinyl, which will satisfy just about every musical taste out there. Davis said he’s excited about several of them.
“We have Chevelle playing in there, which will be a really big event for that size room. Then we have Blaqk Audio coming up…that’s an example of two of the guys from AFI, which is a huge band, and that’s a side project for them, so it’s perfect for that room.”
Vinyl has a speakeasy atmosphere and an industrial look and feel, featuring Chicago common brick and cinderblock, distressed wood floors and an exposed ceiling.
“The room’s got a very warm vibe to it, said Davis. ”It’s a room you feel comfortable having fun in.”
Of course Vinyl also has a bar and Davis said patrons will appreciate the drink prices.
“We want to be very locals-friendly, very fan-friendly. There are tons of $4, $5 and $6 drinks and beers on the menu. Nobody’s getting gouged when they come in there. It’s driven toward locals and true music fans, so when people come in there they’re not going to get hit with Strip casino prices, they’re going to be hit with fan-friendly prices.”
Davis said music fans will be blown away by the look and especially the sound of Vinyl.
“We spent a lot of time and money focusing on the acoustics, so the room sounds absolutely amazing. We bought the best possible audio system. The lighting is fantastic. We spared no expense when it came to the fan experience. Fans can see the band from three different sides of the stage – it’s a big open room so as soon as you walk in, the band sort of hits you right in the face. The sightlines are perfect and the audio in there is off the charts.”