Yuppie Chains to Open Boston Branches

Boston's consumers will be able to live the yuppie life available in other major cities when two consumer delights, the Hard Rock Cafe and Tower Records, open branches here soon.

Late-night music afficianados will have a new place to plunk down cash when Tower Records opens its store at 360 Newbury St. on Saturday. Offering records, tapes and compact discs products, the store will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight on Monday through Saturday, and from noon to midnight on Sunday, every day of the year.

The national chain is also famed for its wide selection of music, particularly foreign rock bands and hard-to-find oldies. The Boston branch, managed by Greg Wallis, will be no exception, a spokesman said.

While music shoppers will be able to experience instant gratification this weekend, fans of the Hard Rock Cafe will have to wait until next year to experience the Boston branch of the upscale eatery.

The chain--which has branches as far away as Moscow and Stockholm--has purchased a site at 131 Clarendon St., formerly Jason's Restaurant, said Benjamin A. Kilgore, who is in charge of Boston public relations for the chain.

Although the restaurant will file for a liquor license in January, it will not open until the summer, Kilgore said. "Construction begins in March," he said, "the renovations include stone pillars on the front like a Federal period building."

All Hard Rock Cafes feature pop memorabilia decor, and the wall of the Boston branch will feature guitars and record jackets from Boston-based bands including Boston and the Cars, Kilgore said.

Patrick Lyons, who currently runs the Metro and several other Boston clubs, will manage the Boston Hard Rock Cafe, Kilgore said. Lyons could not be reached for comment.

Because Back Bay residents were concerned about parking and noise from the restaurant, Lyons and Kilgore held a discussion with about 40 area residents to forstall community complaint. "We wished to [hold] community meetings so that we're no surprised at the licensing hearings, Kilgore said.

The Boston branch will seat 500 to 600 people and include private rooms for parties, Kilgore said. "The restaurant will be along the lines of the one in New York, but not quite as big," he said.

The Boston restaurant will also house a small shop selling Hard Rock Cafe--Boston t-shirts, sweatshirts and other souvenirs, Kilgore said.

Known as yuppie hangouts, Hard Rock Cafes around the world feature American food. The Boston restaurant's upscale version of bar food will include various gourmet hamburgers, salads, steaks and fried foods, Kilgore said.