Oh, brother! Jim and the late Angelo Karagas bought an old saloon at 2376 15th Street more than forty years ago, transforming it into My Brother's Bar, an institution so beloved in Denver that it needs no sign. But now, another Brothers is entering the market: Brothers Bar & Grill is slated to open less than a mile away from My Brother's, at 1920 Market Street (once The Real World: Denver house).
In March, Karagas's lawyer sent a letter on behalf of My Brothers to Fortney Affiliates, the Wisconsin-based company started by Eric and Mark Fortney that now has fifteen sports bars in the Midwest, encouraging them to change the name of their soon-to-open Denver joint -- or face potential legal action. But Brothers beat My Brother's to court.
On May 3, Fortney Affiliates filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Denver, supplying logos for the sports bars it's been opening in the Midwest under the name Brothers since 1990, and noting that MBI "has demanded that Fortney Affiliates cancel any plans to use the Registered Brothers Marks." Fortney is asking the court to make a fast ruling that would allow it to open the 1920 Market bar under the Brothers name, and is also looking for attorney's fees and whatever awards the court deems just.
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The Brothers bars "cater to a young audience and have a reputation for competitive drink specials and large drink selections," the Fortney complaint explains. "The bars are well known in their markets for offering over-the-top events for young adults in a fun, safe environment."
While it's true that no one could consider the classical music at My Brother's or its ongoing Girl Scout cookie sales or the modest presentation of its bar burgers "over-the-top," there's also no denying the "fun" factor of what's the oldest continually operating bar in Denver. It's been pouring since 1873.