Back in August, Danny and Doug Marks, a pair of Chicago bar owners who run Emporium Arcade Bar, opened a Stranger Things inspired pop-up called “The Upside Down”. Complete with the Byer’s couch, Joyce’s light-up Christmas light wall and plenty of “Hawkins”-related material, the bar also offered drinks inspired by the show (for instance, “Eleven’s Eggo’s” has a maple syrup base and is served with a wedge of a waffle).
In mid-September, Netflix got word of the clever pop-up and unfortunately for the Marks’ brothers, they never sought out permission or licensing. The pair received a cease and desist from Netflix but in the form of a rather humorous letter penned by Netflix lawyer Bryce Coughlin. The text of that letter is below:
Danny and Doug,
My walkie talkie is busted so I had to write this note instead. I heard you launched a Stranger Things pop-up bar at your Logan Square location. Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a total wastoid, and I love how much you guys love the show. (Just wait until you see Season 2!) But unless I’m living in the Upside Down, I don’t think we did a deal with you for this pop-up. You’re obviously creative types, so I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s important to us to have a say in how our fans encounter the worlds we build.
We’re not going to go full Dr. Brenner on you, but we ask that you please (1) not extend the pop-up beyond its 6 week run ending in September, and (2) reach out to us for permission if you plan to do something like this again. Let me know as soon as possible that you agree to these requests.
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 mom.
While it sucks for fans of the show who had access to this obviously cool bar, kudos to Netflix for reacting so smoothly and great job on creativity by the Marks brothers; best of luck on your next venture (just be sure to get permission next time)!
Stay gory my friends.