Collecting Hard Rock Cafe

Original release: June 2002
Byline: Brent Sehnert

When you collect very few glasses as I do, one is always looking for the special challenge. For a while I was on the Volpe Tumbler kick. Those are the sports glasses put out in the 60's and 70's by the artist Volpe. These tumblers are the insulated kind that were given out by various venues. Well I found quite a few of them and filled in the collection very fast and then I came to a screeching halt. Not only was it next to impossible to find the glasses, but when they were being found, the price was getting outrageous. They are selling for more than just about any other sports glasses out there. Maybe it is time I sell off mine and concentrate on my new collection, Hard Rock Café Shot glasses.

I started collecting these a few years back when I would visit a HRC, I would pick up a shot glass or a pin, t-shirt, etc. Rarely would I leave with out something for myself or something as a gift. My wife still wears the polo shirt I got her from the HRC in London back in the mid 80's.

Hard Rock Cafe 30 Years shotsCollecting Hard Rock shot glasses has become increasingly popular over recent years. What makes collecting Hard Rock shot glasses so popular is the Hard Rock's policy for selling merchandise. The Hard Rock does not mail order any merchandise from individual Café's. Someone must physically go to the Hard Rock to buy a shot. With the help of the internet and EBAY it has become a lot easier to get shots from around the world. There is a where you can buy a lot of merchandise, although much of this does not list individual cities. Now you no longer have to make a road trip across the entire USA or fly overseas. You simply jump on the internet and trade with others or buy from one of the online auctions. 

You will see many different logo styles even though the shots may be from the same city. I will attempt to briefly describe the history of the Hard Rock and how the history effected shot glasses. This is a general description of what happened, there are many exceptions and variations to the rule. 

Prior to 1996 there were three Hard Rock companies around the world. Hard Rock Cafe America, Hard Rock Cafe International and Hard Rock Cafe Canada. 

Hard Rock Cafe America (owned by Peter Morton) operated roughly all the cafes west of the Mississippi River as well as some cafe abroad such as Tel Aviv, and the Australian cafes. Hard Rock Cafe America also owned the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. These cafes offered shot glasses with the 'Save the Planet" motto on the logo.

Hard Rock Cafe International (owned by the Rank Corp.) operated all the Hard Rock Cafes east of the Mississippi River and most of the cafes abroad. Generally these shots had the standard orange circle logo, although the Asian Cafes had a yellow circle.

Hard Rock Cafe Canada operated all the cafes in Canada (and one in Beirut). The logo of the Canadian cafes was a very different and distinctive blue logo.

In 1996 the Hard Rocks united. The Rank Corp. bought all the Canadian cafes and all the Hard Rock America Cafes leaving Peter Morton with the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Since 1996 the shot glasses have been changing. The 'America' cafe shots have lost their "Save the Planet" motto and the 'Canada' cafes have lost their blue logos.

Hard Rock Cafe mini hurricanesMany changes have been made since 1996 and the number of shot glasses has increased tenfold. Now they are putting out shot glasses for different events throughout the year such as St Patty's Day, Halloween, Cinco De Mayo, Holiday Christmas shots, Multi colored shots, Anniversary shots and mini hurricane shots. Most of the shots for special events are very limited as they only make approx 200 for each event for each Café. Some only give you a shot if you buy a t-shirt so it becomes more expensive to get the shot.

The chances of getting them all is never ending and near impossible. But
because of the number of new ones coming out 6 or so times a year at each café, it still makes it fun and reasonably priced to enjoy.

Mexican Hard Rock Cafe shotsBeing increasingly popular, a lot of FAKES and RENEGADE shot glasses are now in distribution as well. The renegade shots are those that use the Hard Rock name but are not affiliated with the official Hard Rock family, there are about a dozen of these renegade facilities out there such as Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Mykonos, Crete. The fakes are mainly found in Mexico where street vendors are known to sell shot glasses with the HRC logo of any city in Mexico. Some HRC shot collectors want to get every one made including any fakes and renegades where others are only concerned about one from each café, etc. The choices for a collector are endless as one can even only collect the ones from the café's they visit.

Currently I have a couple hundred and am always looking for people to trade with. Trading always has been the most fun way for me to collect over the years. So if you live near a Hard Rock or plan on visiting one, drop me a line as I am always looking to trade.

Plain Hard Rock Cafe shotHard Rock Cafe Halloween shots 



This site was last updated 11/22/06