I am planning on using a real bar in a coming novel.  I would prefer not to change the name of the business or alter its description because I feel it gives very interesting color to what I am writing about.

There is just one scene where the protagonist and a character sit on the veranda, sip beer and talk.  Nothing negative happens or is said about the business.  In fact, compliments about the establishment and also it's food are mentioned.

Is this OK?   

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Most businesses like free advertising, but some day you may need that scene for something decidedly nasty: conspiring to commit murder, for instance. On the whole, I'd keep it fictional.

Mentioning real businesses in passing, however, is all right. It adds verisimilitude.

I know it sounds contradictory, but it's what I do.

Can you alter it just a bit?  I understand that if a name is changed at least 10% then one need not ask permission.  The Book Den could become Ye Old Book Den or Fisherman's Lounge could be Fisherman's Wharf Lounge or something like that.  You don't need the hassle.  There's enough to writing, promoting, marketing without any added troubles.  Best!

Thanks for the reply, Tina.

Since that post I've gone with using real locations.  I only use fictional ones when something negative or derogatory about the business is taking place.  Business owners seem to love having their business named in the books and a few have actually asked me to include their business in my next book which I am going to do.

Also readers have told me they much prefer real locations and businesses that they recognize.  I know I do.  I have actually been turned off by well written novels which use fake names for cities, businesses, locations, etc., that I'm familiar with.

I don't believe there is anything to fear legally by using a business location as long as nothing negative happens there.  Anyway, I think the benefits far outweigh any cons, if there are any. 

Legally you CANNOT do this without permission.  The name of the pub may be registered. That would mean a corporate lawsuit of some type in future unless you got written permission.  For instance although I use Tiverton in my crime novel - my version has an 18 hole golf course.  The real market town does not. So, it is a fictional place.  I needed the name though as part of an anagram.


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