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Babylon Newcastle forced to rebrand to Bartholomew’s


It’s been a tough 18 months for the owners of Babylon Newcastle. 

The bar and restaurant located on King Street is being forced to rebrand following a trademark infringement lodged against it by a Queensland-based hospitality giant. 

The owners of Brisbane’s Mantle Group Hospitality, best known for their Pig ‘n Whistle venues, issued Babylon Newcastle’s owners, the Elsley family, with a notice requiring them to cease trading under the Babylon brand. 

It also includes any close variants of the brand. 

‘B’ for Bartholomew’s

The Esley family has been operating under the brand, that ironically refers to two separate empires, since 2018. 

They were initially notified in May 2021 of the claimed infringement.  

After initially challenging the notice on the basis that the two venues were both very different, and that the Newcastle venue has been in business for longer, the costs were considered too high to risk taking the challenge further.  

As a result, co-owner Phil Elsley says the business will be transitioning its name to Bartholomew’s through November and December. 

“It’s a real kick in the teeth for us. 

“Having ridden through the challenges of the last few years in the hospitality industry, this was not something we were prepared for,” he said.  

“Their trademark wasn’t in place when we opened the doors. The first thing we knew about there being a potential conflict was when we heard from their lawyers ordering us to close the doors and pay them a substantial sum of money.  

“It has cost us over $200,000 to try and defend ourselves against this claim.  

“We were confident of defending ourselves but in the end, we just couldn’t risk the huge financial cost. 

“The Mantle Group is one of Queensland’s largest hospitality operators and are expanding Australia-wide.

“They had a very slick legal team and a lot of money behind them. Being a local family run business, this was a lot to take on.

“We believe in our brand and we’re confident that we could bring the same wonderful experience under a different name.”

Bartholomew’s – formerly Babylon Newcastle

The 1920’s themed restaurant, whisky and cocktail venue will change in name only.  

The local owners still plan to trade in the same fashion to minimise the impact on trade.   

“We know that locals love our venue. It’s an incredibly unique building and we are so lucky to have a great following,” Phil said. 

The rebranding will be phased in slowly to allow everyone to adjust, with the deadline for transition in early January 2023. 

It’s not the only challenge the popular night spot has been forced to deal with recently. 

A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Ryan Duck

In the early hours of Monday 28 November, champion bodyboarder and Bartholomew’s formerly Babylon Newcastle general manager Ryan Duck was allegedly attacked and stabbed multiple times by a stranger while fishing with colleagues in Pacific Palms, near Forster. 

The 35-year-old suffered stab wounds to his arms and abdomen and was airlifted to the John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition.  

He has since undergone surgery and is set to face a lengthy recovery process. 

The Berry Brothers have set up a GoFundMe page for Ryan which has currently raised $38,000 to assist the soon-to-be-father with his rehabilitation. 

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