Chalk it up as another victory for Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl franchise. Being driven out of Manhattan, rival “Housewife” Sonja Morgan’s ill-fated Tipsy Girl restaurant has regrouped and will open in Hartford, Conn., instead.RELATED: Luann de Lesseps Has Sonja Morgan to Thank for Her Latest Piece of Couture
“The Real Housewives of New York City” star’s attempts to open the eatery downtown were vanquished earlier this year by the combined forces of co-star Frankel — who rankled at the similarity of its name to her Skinnygirl brand — and the community board, which denied boozy Morgan a liquor license.
Hoping for a better pour in a different state, Morgan and business partner Peter Guimaraes have signed the lease on the new space in Hartford, Page Six has exclusively learned, and hope to open this month after some renovations.
We’re told they’re eyeing a Miami location next and hope to reapply for the liquor license in New York after making some “legal changes” to an application. They don’t expect Frankel to launch a new challenge this time around, however.
The “Housewives” hooch hassle has raged throughout 2016. Morgan announced late last year she was launching the Tipsy Girl line of prosecco and planned to open the restaurant chain. Calling it a “feeble attempt to trade on her brand reputation,” Frankel — who sold the cocktails arm of her business to Jim Beam in 2011, but still owns the rest of the Skinnygirl brand — responded by trying to trademark the similar “Tipsygirl” herself, to prevent Morgan from using it, a move Guimaraes called “underhanded.” But the US Patent and Trademark Office killed her attempt.
Earlier this year, Morgan told us that — in spite of the similar names — the brands are actually very different. While Frankel’s products are aimed at calorie-conscious drinkers, Morgan said, “I’m a big, fat, tipsy girl . . . I have a different market . . . The very young party girl and a very old party group that just wants to brunch all day, tourists [who] sit around and drink all day.”