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December 11. 2013 12:15AM

Battle between Bernie's bars


The sign for Bernie's Bar in Hampton. Its owner is suing Bernies's Bar in Nashua over for taking the name. (JASON SCHRIBER)
BRENTWOOD — A battle is brewing over two bars with the name Bernie.The owner of Bernie's Beach Bar in Hampton is taking legal action to stop another Bernie's bar, this one in Nashua, from using a similar name.
Albert Fleury of Hampton filed suit last week in Rockingham County Superior Court seeking an injunction against Bernie Goulet, owner of the Bernie's at 522 Amherst St. in Nashua.
Goulet said Tuesday that he hadn't seen the lawsuit yet, but called it a "frivolous" case that will likely be dismissed.
In an affidavit filed with the suit, Fleury said he registered the trade name Bernie's Bar and Grill with the Secretary of State's office last January. The bar is located at 73 Ocean Blvd. and is known as Bernie's Beach Bar.
On Aug. 1, Fleury said he learned from several of his customers that a bar was opening in Nashua under the name Bernie's.
"In fact, several of my customers were under the impression that the Nashua Bernie's would be owned and operated by me," Fleury said in the affidavit.
Fleury said he looked into the Nashua Bernie's further and learned that it was a similar establishment that offered a bar, restaurant and entertainment.
"In addition, I learned that the Nashua Bernie's would be utilizing the same distinctive font that I had been using for my bar," he said.
In an interview Tuesday, Goulet said he actually opened his Nashua Bernie's in March and that Fleury didn't open the Hampton Bernie's until late May.
The Nashua Bernie's has created confusion for some customers of the Hampton Bernie's, the suit said. In one instance, Fleury said one of his customers posted a question on his Facebook page asking if a certain show had an age restriction, but the show was actually taking place at the Bernie's in Nashua.
On another occasion, a band promoter promoting a band performing at the Hampton Bernie's mistakenly posted an advertisement for the band on the Facebook page for the Nashua Bernie's, the suit said.
"I have devoted considerable time, money and resources in opening Bernie's and establishing goodwill and reputation as a premier bar and nightclub in southern New Hampshire," Fleury said. "I have taken steps to protect the name so that customers will come to know Bernie's and associate the name with a quality dining and entertainment experience."
Fleury sent cease and desist letters to Goulet in August and September, but he did not reply, the suit said.
In an interview Tuesday, Goulet said his bar is called Bernie's, which he named after himself, and is registered with the state under the name Evolution Night Club LLC.
On its Facebook page, the Nashua Bernie's is described as a concert venue with a full restaurant.
"This is more about some revenge and wasting my time and the court's time," Goulet said.
Goulet said he used to work as a music promoter at Wally's Pub in Hampton, which is also owned by Fleury. He left two years ago and claims his departure made it harder for Fleury to book big acts.
Goulet said his name is well known in the area, and he felt it was a "slap in the face" when Fleury used the name Bernie's when he opened the new bar earlier this year.
"There's no reason to name it Bernie's," Goulet said of the Hampton Bar.
As for his own business: "If you're telling me I can't use my own name that's ridiculous," Goulet said.
jschreiber@newstote.com