Bristol, VA

Hard Rock International Breaks Ground on Permanent Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Bristol

John M. Dabbs
Groundbreaking ceremonyPhoto byJohn Dabbs/Photographer

Hard Rock officials, VIPs, and the media at the former Bristol Mall site near the old Sears store for the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, December 7, amid the pouring rain. Hard Rock and the Bristol community celebrated the long-awaited permanent facility's groundbreaking.
Marc DeLeo, Randy Eads, Israel O'Quinn, Allie Evangelista, Jon Lucas, Jim McGlothlin, Clyde Stacy, Anthony Farnum, Jasen Eige & Martin KentPhoto byAndy Poarch/Alliance Group Ltd

The celebration included John Lucas, Hard Rock International COO, and Allie Evangelista, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Bristol. Local officials, State legislators, and community leaders also participated. The groundbreaking ceremony was done in "Hard Rock style," using shovels with guitar-like handles.
Photo byJohn Dabbs/Photographer
“From the very start, this property’s economic and community impact has surpassed expectations, and we are thrilled to unveil what’s coming next... We are especially grateful to our local partners, Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy, whose vision has made all this possible.  Building on our momentum, and with the incredible support from the Virginia Lottery and the Bristol community, we are ready to begin the next chapter.” - Jon Lucas, Hard Rock International COO

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will be approximately 300,000 square feet featuring 1,300 slots, 50 gaming tables, a sports book, and multiple dining options, including their signature Hard Rock Cafe and a fine dining restaurant Council Oak Steaks and Seafood, Constant Grind, a Rock Shop, a Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, authentic music memorabilia, and much more. 

The Hard Rock Hotel will house 200 high-end rooms, complete with a spa, indoor-outdoor pool, and many other amenities. Patrons will enter the casino through the main hotel entrance and pass through the lobby and into the casino.

The project is expected to create nearly 1,000 construction-specific jobs and will be managed by TN Ward of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and BurWil Construction of Bristol, Tennessee. Once the permanent location opens, the casino is expected to create over 1,200 full-time and part-time jobs. 

“This is an exciting day for Bristol... Our temporary casino has been a tremendous success, and we already have welcomed guests from all 50 states. Our amazing team members – with their friendly smiles and can-do attitudes – are the foundation of this success.  I cannot wait for the next step when we open the permanent casino in 2024 and have even more entertainment, dining, and music amenities to offer our customers.” - Allie Evangelista, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol
Photo byJohn Dabbs/Photographer

Lucas, Evangelista, and others could answer questions at the press event. Hard Rock officials quickly credit their team, which they refer to as "the band" in Bristol, with their local success. They also credit the service and hospitality of the communities in and around the area with their initial success. They expect even greater things to come when the facility opens in the spring of 2024. Lucas credits Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, with the company's success. Lucas says they are a hospitality company first, not a casino. He says they stay true to their values, emphasizing on:

  • Hospitality
  • World Class Service
  • Food and Beverages
  • Entertainment
  • Gaming

Lucas and Evangelista say the company is about entertainment and partnerships. Lucas says, "We are really working and forming a lot of partnerships to open Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Bristol by spring in 2024.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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