‘Secret’ Japanese bar sues foodie website over unwanted publicity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 10:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 10:59pm


An exclusive Japanese bar is suing a foodie website, arguing that unwanted publicity from a review is damaging its operational strategy of being little-known and hard to find, reports said.

The bar in Osaka has asked the popular Tabelog website to take down a client review and photos of the establishment.

But the operators of the site, which claims to have about 53 million users a month, turned down the request, arguing that the review was covered by the right to freedom of expression, the Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei business daily reported.

The bar, which opened in 2010, requires customers and their guests to ring a doorbell and ask staff to unlock an iron door.

"It was a way to differentiate [our bar]. Our stagecraft as a secret hideaway was designed to appeal to visitors' imaginations," the bar operators told the Osaka District Court on Wednesday.

The Tabelog information "took away the elements of surprise and fun, and undermined our operational strategy", they said. They are demanding that the website take down the post and asking for 3.3 million yen (HK$250,000) in damages.