Mobile music venue battles for its name against Nashville restaurant

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A Mobile music venue is in a battle over its name. “The Listening Room of Mobile” is under fire by a similarly-named restaurant in Nashville. The Nashville establishment, named “The Listening Room Cafe,” wants $10,000 from the Mobile venue.

The owner of Mobile’s venue, Jim Pennington, said he is planning on fighting against the litigation. He says he’s been nice about the name changing, but now it’s gone too far.

Pennington said, “Before I went to Eddie’s Attic, or the Monkey Duck, I probably had never heard the term listening room.”

Pennington opened The Listening Room in 2015. While he had heard of The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, he says it’s just a term. He said, “I was very aware of it, but it’s a full-blown restaurant. It’s not anything like what we do here.” He added, “A listening room has been around a long time, that term, but it’s where you come in and sit down and listen. I mean that’s self-explanatory.”

What’s not so self-explanatory is the draft of a lawsuit Pennington was hit with. He said, “They’re soulless. I mean, it’s over the top. I mean, it’s ridiculous.”

He says this draft is the first time he’s heard from The Listening Room Cafe since the year he opened, which is when his venue was just called “The Listening Room.”

Pennington said, “Said hey you know, look we’re the Listening Room Cafe. They weren’t threatening or, it was just done from their operation, not even from an attorney. We’re the Listening Room Cafe. We’d appreciate it if you’d alter your name, you know just something very simple.”

Pennington told us he then changed his name to The Listening Room of Mobile. He thought his troubles were over. He said, “All of a sudden earlier this summer, I get an actual cease and desist letter.”

He was ready to change his name again. This time to “The People’s Room,” but he says that was not good enough for the Nashville company. Pennington said, “They came back. Well, you still owe us 10-thousand dollars. I’m sorry that was a game-changer.” He added, “I will absolutely shut it down overnight, open it back up before I pay them a dime.”

Pennington said The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville trademarked their name after his venue in Mobile opened. He added, this is not the only lawsuit the Nashville company has against similarly-named venues across the country. Pennington says shows will go on as scheduled.

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