Banks Ave is new name for Public School bar on Asheville’s South Slope


The owners of Public School bar, which opened in July on Asheville’s South Slope has officially changed its name to Banks Ave. (The bar is located at 32 Banks Ave.) The bar’s owners were threatened with a lawsuit, apparently by somebody who had laid claim to the name. Here’s what Public School/Banks Ave posted on Facebook:

As most of you know we got sued for using our name. So we changed it. New name. Same squad. 2016 is gonna be a good year.

The bar was opened by three well-known Asheville bar workers: Mike Piroli, Benjy Greene and Scott Thomas. The three have worked at various bars around Asheville. The bar has a strong local following and a popular logo, an outline of a paper airplane, which a number of loyal patrons have had tattooed on various body parts.

This isn’t the first time that a local establishment has been forced to change its name. Two years ago, Natalie Pollard opened a West Asheville homesteading shop and much more that she called Small Terrain. She changed the name after Urban Outfitters threatened to sue, claiming the name was infringing on its trademarked term “terrain,” which it had used for a garden-supply shop.


A locally owned grocery store called Amazing Savings Markets also changed its name a couple of years ago after New York-based Simply Amazing LLC threatened legal action. The local company changed its name to Hopey & Co.

Some local brewers have also had a tough time with naming issues. Bearwaters Brewery in Waynesville was originally Headwaters Brewering but changed its name, and Sylva’s Innovation Brewing this year faced a challenge from Bell’s Brewery over a trademark name issue.


Stu Helm December 17, 2015 - 8:33 am

Even their logo looks familiar…

Stu Helm December 17, 2015 - 8:31 am

This venue seems extremely challenged in the originality department.

reality December 30, 2015 - 3:49 pm

If you really want to see them freak out, ask them how their time working at The Lab has contributed$ to their new bar.

ManBoyChild December 16, 2015 - 10:09 pm

Wasn’t the best name anyways, Banks Ave. is nice tho.

RJ December 18, 2015 - 10:55 am

Maybe naming a bar after a place children congregate is not exactly appropriate. What’s next? Girl Scouts Public House, Tiny Tots Tavern?

Hank Fuseler December 16, 2015 - 8:32 pm

In defense of Bell’s Brewing, they were not trying to enforce a trademark or trying to get Innovation to change their name. Bell’s was trying to prevent Innovation from trademarking the term ‘Innovation’, which was already in use by Bell’s and other companies. Bell’s was merely trying to save Innovation the legal responsibility of having to enforce trademark rights which would have been required if the Sylva brewery had claimed exclusive rights to the term and would have cost them a lot of money. Bell’s graciously offered to compensate Innovation for any legal costs already incurred by pursuing the matter. That whole deal got blown wildly out of proportion and we are lucky Bell’s decided to continue distribution in WNC in spite of the fact that everyone pulled their product out of the coolers and people were walking around with ‘f*#k Larry Bell’ t-shirts. They only distribute in certain states and could easily have decided to move out of NC in favor of another area. All of the reporting that was done during that period was published without contacting Bell’s to hear their side. It was a big misunderstanding, or a wag the beer scenario if you prefer.

Big Al December 14, 2015 - 3:16 pm

It was also the name of Danny Cordre’s bar in the TV series “The Office”.

Sean December 14, 2015 - 10:08 am

There was a bar/restaurant in Culver City, CA called Public School. Wonder if they were the perp…

Dusty December 14, 2015 - 2:31 pm

I was wondering the same….

Vince December 14, 2015 - 4:12 pm

Just wait until an Acme Dry Cleaners owner discovers there are hundreds of other dry cleaners in the US with the same name! Oh, the horror!

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