If you’re going to rip off a bar, you might as well rip off one of the most lauded cocktail bars in recent memory. And, even better, do it in a place that’s outside the jurisdiction of the original bar’s trademark. Pfft, and people say opening a bar is hard.
According to the New York Daily News, a bar in Iceland formerly called the Brooklyn Bar (as you can see, creativity is the owners’ strong suit) has rebranded itself as a hip cocktail bar called the Dead Rabbit. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because a bar with that name in downtown Manhattan has won repeated awards since opening three years ago, including World’s Best Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu from the Spirited Awards.
As much as the theft of the name stings, even more appalling is that, according to a tipster, the owners of the Icelandic version of Dead Rabbit put their drink menu together by simply coming to New York, buying the bar’s cocktail book and then taking it home with them. “[A former employee of the Iceland bar] told us the names of the owners and he basically said they checked into your bar (on Facebook while visiting it) two weeks before they closed (the Brooklyn Bar) and they’re reopening as the Dead Rabbit,” co-owner Sean Muldoon told the Daily News.
Apparently, “Dead Rabbit” has a trademark for their name in the U.S. and is seeking one in the European Union, but even then, Iceland isn’t an official EU member so the owners of the real Dead Rabbit have little recourse.
Muldoon said his biggest worry is that if the Icelandic rip-off is subpar, it could sully his brand name. I mean, they’re using his cocktail book. How bad it could it be? Besides, you know, really bad.