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Future's uncertain, end always near

Paris fan's "Doors" bar may have to close its doors after letter of complaint from the band's lawyer.

PARIS - The walls of the Paris bar are plastered with images of Jim Morrison and the Doors, and a bust of the lead singer presides over the beer tap - all reflective of the owner's lifelong passion.

But an attorney for the group doesn't love it madly.

Christophe Maillet said he received a letter from a lawyer in Beverly Hills, Calif., warning that "The Doors do not want to be seen as having approved of your establishment and also the consumption of alcohol."

The April 21 letter - signed by Anthony Keats, the Doors' intellectual-property lawyer, and shown Friday to the Associated Press - urged Maillet to remove images of the group within three months.

Not an easy task.

The walls feature oversized close-ups of Morrison and framed photos and posters of the band. And there's that bust of the flowing-locked singer at the tap.

Morrison, known for a partying lifestyle, died in 1971 at 27 of heart failure in his bathtub in Paris, just minutes from Maillet's bar. His grave at Pere Lachaise cemetery remains a pilgrimage site.

Lawyer Keats did not respond to e-mail and phone messages Friday about the letter.

The decorations are from Maillet's own collection - the fruit of 25 years as a dedicated fan, he said.

"I found my passion for Jim Morrison at the age of 12," the soft-spoken bartender said. "Then I found a profession that could go along with it.

"Since I started in this business, my goal was to start a bar dedicated to Jim Morrison."

After nearly a decade spent working at other people's establishments, Maillet's dream came true nine months ago when he opened the Lezard King - from Morrison's nickname the "Lizard King." Because he worried about possible copyright issues, Maillet used the French word for lizard, he said.

On the menu are cocktails of Maillet's own creation that he named after Doors songs: the "Light My Fire" blends rum, Cointreau, and citrus juices; the "Roadhouse Blues" mixes tequila, Cointreau, and blue curacao.

Maillet won't say how much he invested in the bar in Paris' hip Bastille neighborhood, but said it amounted to his life savings.

Maillet doesn't know what could happen if the legal action goes ahead - the lawyer's letter doesn't specify - but he said: "I guess worst-case scenario is that they could close the bar."

Maillet, who does not have a lawyer, replied to the Doors' attorney but said he hadn't yet received a response.

He said that, in order to appease the Doors, he'd be willing to add other 1960s and '70s bands to the bar's decoration. The letter also demands that the name of the bar be changed - which Maillet flatly refuses to do.

He said he knows of about a dozen Doors-themed bars, from Amsterdam to India, and it's unclear whether others have faced similar legal woes.

"I didn't do this to destroy [the Doors'] image or to dirty it," Maillet said. "I did it to make them happy."