4

Brothers v. My Brother's lands in court

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Oh, brother! Jim and 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 for more than twenty years, it did have an actual sibling: While Jim oversaw Brother's, Angelo managed the Wazee Supper Club, another watering hole the brothers bought, at 1600 15th Street, from 1974 until he passed away in 1994. (Today the Wazee is part of the group that owns the Wynkoop Brewing Company, as well as a half-dozen other restaurants.)

Now another Brothers is entering the market -- but it's no relation. Although Jim Karagas didn't mind so much when Chris and Nick O'Sullivan started Brothers BBQ -- the homegrown chain has "a totally different name and concept," he says -- Brothers Bar & Grill comes too close. Literally, since this Brothers is slated to open less than a mile away from My Brother's, at 1920 Market Street (once The Real World: Denver house, most recently Theörie).

And 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, noting that MBI "has demanded that Fortney Affiliates cancel any plans to use the Registered Brothers Marks" and asking the court to rule that Fortney can use the Brothers name here - and also award it attorney's fees. The Brothers bars "cater to a young audience and have a reputation for competitive drink specials and large drink selections," the complaint continues. "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 the oldest continually operating bar in Denver. So let's raise a glass to My Brother's -- a true original.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.