|Bar owner Christophe Maillet (AP)Paris Bar Honors The Doors; May Have To Close Them
Posted: June 10, 2011
PARIS, France (AP) -- The walls of the Paris bar are plastered with images of Jim Morrison and The Doors, and a bust of the lead singer presides over the beer tap -- all part of the owner's lifelong passion for the band. But an attorney for the group doesn't love it madly.
Christophe Maillet said he received a letter from a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based attorney warning that "The Doors do not want to be seen as having approved of your establishment and also the consumption of alcohol."
The April 21 letter -- signed by Anthony Keats, The Doors' intellectual property lawyer, and shown Friday to The Associated Press -- urged Maillet to remove images of the group from his bar within three months.
Not an easy task.
The walls feature oversized close-ups of Morrison and framed photos and posters of the band. And there's that bust of the flowing-locked singer at the tap.
Morrison, known for a partying lifestyle, died in 1971 at age 27 of heart failure in his bathtub in Paris -- just minutes from Maillet's bar. Morrison's grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery remains a pilgrimage site for fans.
Doors lawyer Keats did not respond to email and phone messages Friday about the letter.
The decorations are from Maillet's own collection -- the fruit of 25 years as a dedicated fan, he said.
"I found my passion for Jim Morrison at the age of 12," said the soft-spoken bartender. "Then I found a profession that could go along with it.
"Since I started in this business, my goal was to start a bar dedicated to Jim Morrison."
After nearly a decade spent working at other people's establishments, Maillet's dream came true nine months ago when he opened the "Lezard King" -- a play on Morrison's nickname, the "lizard king." Because he worried about possible copyright issues, Maillet used the French word for lizard, he said.
On the menu are cocktails of Maillet's own creation that he baptized after Doors' songs: the "Light My Fire" blends rum, Cointreau and citrus juices; the "Roadhouse Blues" mixes tequila, Cointreau and blue curacao.
Maillet won't say how much he invested in the bar located in Paris' hip Bastille neighborhood but said it amounted to his life savings.
Maillet doesn't know what could happen if the legal action goes ahead -- the attorney's letter doesn't specify -- but he said: "I guess worst-case scenario is that they could close the bar."
Maillet, who does not have a lawyer, wrote The Doors' attorney back but said he hasn't yet received a response.
He said in order to appease The Doors, he'd be willing to add other 1960s and '70s bands to the bar's decoration. The letter also demands that the name of the bar be changed -- something Maillet flatly refuses.
He said he knows of about a dozen Doors-themed bars -- from Amsterdam to India -- and it's unclear whether others have faced similar legal woes.
"I didn't do this to destroy (The Doors') image or to dirty it," Maillet said. "I did it to make them happy."