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In a dispute fitting of an Ernest Hemingway novel, two bars in the hard-drinking author’s former home are fighting over rights to use the name of his old watering hole. But this bar brawl is taking place in court. The two bars, Sloppy Joe’s Bar and Captain Tony’s Saloon, are half a block from each other and both claim to have served Hemingway. From 1933 to 1937, Hemingway friend “Sloppy Joe” Russell ran a bar out of a former city morgue at the site now occupied by Captain Tony’s. Russell moved half a block to the current Sloppy Joe’s location in 1937. Captain Tony’s now has signs identifying it as “The First and Original Sloppy Joe’s, 1933-1937.” Sloppy Joe’s Enterprises International Inc. sued in federal court July 7, saying Captain Tony’s Key West Bar Inc. was infringing on its trademark. The lawsuit accused Captain Tony’s of creating confusion in the marketplace. The owners of Captain Tony’s, Joe Faber and Richard Johnson, were unavailable for comment Monday, a bar worker said. Sidney Snelgrove and John Mayer, who bought the bar named Sloppy Joe’s in 1978, are asking U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King to order Captain Tony’s to stop identifying itself as the “original “Sloppy Joe’s.” No hearing date has been set. “Captain Tony’s has sullied Sloppy Joe’s distinctive style and decor,” the lawsuit said. As well as serving food and drinks, Sloppy Joe’s has a “Hemingway Picture Wall” covered with black-and-white photos of the author. One of Hemingway’s fishing rods dangles from the high ceilings and his skis are encased in Plexiglas on a wall. Captain Tony’s, which doesn’t sell food, has bras hanging from the low-slung rafters and business cards stapled to the walls. There is a single bust of Hemingway, and a single photograph of the author fishing with Captain Tony Tarracino, a former owner of the bar and one-time mayor. Asked which bar could claim Hemingway drank there, Monroe County historian Tom Hambright said: “Both, as far as I can determine.” Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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