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March 29, 2010

The skinny on the Grey Goose Bar & Grille

this grey goose vodka promo photo is from 1999. i'm not sure what  the puppy has to do with vodka, but he seems at least vaguely interested  in it. maybe it's an alcoholic puppy. a hooch pooch, if you will. The new Grey Goose Bar & Grille in Hampden will have a new name and a few new bells and whistles, but it's basically the same as Flip's, according to new co-owner Lynnann Allen.

The Grey Goose, which could open as early as next week, will have a new door and a couple new pool tables. Otherwise, Allen and her sister, Jeana Cooke, haven't changed much with the building.

"We just added a little extra to what was there," Allen said.

Allen isn't worried that Grey Goose Vodka will have a problem with the bar's name. 

"One has nothing to do with the other," she said. "There's a Blue Moon Cafe. You think (Blue Moon Beer) minds?"

Touche on the Blue Moon, Lynnann. But I beg to differ about one having nothing to do with the other ...

Blue Moon Cafe is a diner, which doesn't serve Blue Moon beer. They don't even have a liquor license. I'll bet Grey Goose vodka will be served at Grey Goose Bar & Grille.

Allen and Cooke used to work at the bar in the '90s, when it was called My Father's Place (her family owned it). She got into securities for a while, before deciding to buy back into the bar business. Her reasons?

"Sentimental reasons, business reasons, adding to our community," she said. "It was just sitting there empty."

If Allen has her say, it won't be empty much longer.

(Grey Goose handout photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:58 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


My understanding of copyright law as a non-lawyer is that if one product or operation could be logically connected or confused with the other then there is infringement. That is definitely the case here.

When this was first announced, several people immediately guessed that they had licensed the name from Grey Goose. Plus they most likely will sell Grey Goose vodka there.

Why name your bar that? Duh, to trade on the value of the Grey Goose brand name. I don't think a super-premium French vodka wants their brand value diluted by being associated with a bar in Hamden (no offense).

Why risk it? It just seems foolish. This will not end well. I suggest that they consult an actual attorney. At least change it to the less infringey Gray Goose.

I'm not a lawyer either, but everyone loves playing one on the Intertubez, so here goes.

I would think that there may be another issue at stake here. Folks who work for beer/liquor distributors are not allowed to work in or own bars & restaurants due to the (real or conceived) image of them pushing their own brand. By naming the bar The Grey Goose, one could make the same arguement.

...or I'm just an idiot, something that has yet to be disproven.

Agreed on the name thing. See another recent case of a Hampden business being required to change their name due to trademark infringement. The pet store Howl was previously named Chow Baby and was forced to change their name by Purina who owns the trademark for Puppy Chow.

Just remembered that Woody's in Fell's went through something over their name a few years ago. Had to change it from "Woody's Love Shack & Rum Bar" because there's another somewhere.

There's precedent for this. Sony successfully sued a woman who opened Sony's (her name) restaurant. I think it was in the 90s. I couldn't find the case on-line. But I 100% sure it happened. ANy lawyers out there?

the bar is full of it. If you named the bar the GrAy Goose, that's cool. but they're clearly using the UK/Euro spelling of Grey.

Precedent! and it's in BMORE!

a costly legal battle that pitted the resources of the maker of Walkmans, Watchmans and Betamaxes against Sony's fried rice and shrimp rolls.

Whoa! Hot tub time machine!

Note to Grey Goose Is Cooked owners: the name Gaylord Hitlerbarf's Hooch Haus is still available

once again I want to remind everyone that Bacardi is the owner of the Grey Goose.

Sam, can you start an unofficial official pool for us to make bets on how long before Grey Goose sends the ol' C&D?

Me thinks there's more to the name choice than meets the eye. Unless the owners can explain it, logically?

I mean, why even risk such blatant infringement with a 'new' venture?

Oh yeah... "any publicity is good publicity".

Expect to see some headlines referencing a "cease and desist" letter with a local bar.


Already looking forward to all that cheap Grey Goose on special at the going-out--of-business sale.

No one ordered a Chef Hitlerbarf at Sid's on Saturday sadly. They are still proudly on the menu.

Did these people forget that Dog Pub used to be named Thirsty Dog before legal action by a brewery with the same name? That was less than 3 years ago. Interestingly, the Brewery has registered their name and it is owned by a place with "goose" in the name... so...

I've been reading the comments on this, and I think it's finally time to weigh in. I'm with Bryan, why would you risk potentially infringing on a huge brand? Was there really nothing else you could think of to name your bar? It really just doesn't make any sense.

"where are you going for happy hour" ... "oh, heading over to grey goose" ... It doesn't even sound good.

I guess Grey Cilantro would have been worse.

I was just reading all the blogs on this and if you google the name Grey Goose Bar and Grille there are a few of them all over the US.So dont see why there would be a problem here.

@Anonymous - Unless one of THOSE decided to sue for the name...

@ BC - only one of those few could sue, the oldest, richest one.

Whatever it's called, who can its neighbors contact about its unruly patrons?

The place could be called "Million Dollar Champagne," and it would do nothing to attract a better crowd. It's hurting the neighborhood.

I loved Flipp's… good for the new owners for re-opening this place. The thing I liked was how quite it was and the friendly staff. I sympathize with neighbors, but I'm imagining having a few beers on their beautiful patio (not after 11 though). Hopefully the silly name will keep away the haters.

I loved Flip's and was there quite often when it was open. I visited the Grey Goose last Friday night and must say it reminds me of the old Flip's, except there was karaoke. Still a fun place to sit, crank back a few and mingle with fellow patrons at the bar. And isn't that all that matters?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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