Netflix recently got wind of a pop-up bar in Chicago themed around its popular show Stranger Things, and put its lawyers on the job. What happened next, as they say, will delight you.
Ordinarily, studios normally respond to even tiny threats to their intellectual property with bombastic threats of fines and prison time. But in the case of the Stranger Things bar, which first appeared in August in the Logan Square neighborhood, Netflix took a different approach.
“My walkie talkie is busted so I had to send this note,” begins the letter from a Netflix lawyer in the first of many tongue-in-cheek references to the show, which is set in the 1980s.
The studio does ask the bar to knock it off but, in a remarkable show of forbearance, gives the owners six weeks to do so.
“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,” reads the letter.
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The missives concludes by expressing appreciation for the fans but warning that “the demogorgon is not as forgiving” and “don’t make us call your mom.”
All of this is good news for Stranger Things fans in Chicago, where the bar is reportedly a huge hit. According to DNA Info, which first reported the Netflix letter, the show’s devotees have been lining up for “Eleven’s Eggo” cocktails and a chance hang out in a mock-up of the protagonists’ living room.
The studio’s measured approach also drew widespread praise from lawyers, who applauded its decision not to bring out its legal sledgehammer:
Netflix’s response to the unauthorized pop-up bar may not only go down as an astute PR move, but also a shrewd business decision. The news of the bar had already drummed up a wave of free publicity for the studio, and the clever cease-and-desist has produced yet more buzz before the second season of Stranger Things begins on October 27.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the pop-up war is in Washington, DC.