Stranger Things Pop-Up Bar Gets The Best Cease And Desist Letter From Netflix

Stranger Things Pop-Up Bar Gets The Best Cease And Desist Letter From Netflix
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Image: Chicago Eater

Stranger Things is awesome, so it’s not surprising that people want to do all sorts of things around it. Like Emporium Chicago, who ran a Stranger Things themed pop-up bar inside their arcade bar. It’s got all the things you’d expect: flickering Christmas lights, cocktails inspired by the show, an 80’s themed dance party and music from the Hawkins Middle School A.V. Club.

The one thing it didn’t have: the permission of Netflix.

Before we go any further, here’s a video from the Emporium Chicago Facebook taking you through the bar. Honestly, if this was in Sydney, I’d be drinking there every time.

So back to the letter. Netflix finds out about this unsanctioned use of their IP, and refers the matter to their lawyers. Netflix’s senior counsel of content and brand IP emailed Danny and Doug Marks – the owners of the bar – letting them know that, hey, you kinda need to ask us first before doing this sort of stuff.

But in a neat twist, Netflix’s lawyers are going to allow the pop-up bar to continue operating until the end of September (when it was scheduled to end):

“We love our fans more than anything, but you should know that the demogorgon is not always as forgiving. So please don’t make us call your mum,” the letter ends.

If you want to be ultra-cynical, it makes complete sense for Netflix. Themed pop-up bars are becoming a savvy alternative for commercial campaigns, and Netflix has the good fortune of having a private business go out of their way to make one without Netflix having to spend a dime. On top of that, the bar will wrap up only weeks before the second Stranger Things season drops on October 27.

So it’s a win-win for everyone. But it’s also nice to see that lawyers, sometimes, don’t have to burn fan creations down to the ground entirely. Unless it’s video games.


  • Classy. Perfect example of how these things should be dealt with in the first instance. I hope other companies are paying attention – you can always fall back on legal arseholery later if you don’t get a result by being decent about it first.

  • Man thats not even bad, considering they are allowing them to continue the campaign until the end of the schedule. They could have been dicks and said cease and desist right away. What champs I’m glad I support Netflix.

  • I like it, goes to show that you dont have to go strait into dickhead mode when asking someone to stop using your brand without permission, its a nicer way of handling a sensitive matter, no need for it to blow up like 99% of other cease and desist orders that go strait to the threat.
    GG Netflix

  • I like the fact they gave the request to stop by the end of their first run, gave them the option to actually continue by contacting them and iron out the details AND still complimented them on their dedication as fans. Well done 🙂

    • They’re not instantly burning bridges and showing that they are willing to work with others meaning more people are likely to approach them. It’s beneficial for all. Netflix, the bar and the fans.

  • As the others above have said, this is how cease and desist should be done. Its not slapping them in the face with ridiculous demands or threats, but acknowledging their efforts as fans while passively reminding them that there are processes that still need to be followed for this sort of thing.

    And the style of their letter goes a long way to making it feel that way. If it had just been filled with legalspeak, it would still come across as sterile and threatening, but to approach it in ST terms softens the legality to just the right level.

  • It’s good to see a company that isn’t going right to the “shut this shit down now” method of protecting their works. Who knows, maybe Netflix will watch how well the nights do and then might strike a deal with the bar to put on other themed events in the future.

    A complete opposite from the games industry as a whole, who will just shut shit down or abuse systems to remove the offending content from the face of the Earth.

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