Two popular Lexington night spots — The Dame and The Fishtank — will close in the next several weeks, the latest instances of reshuffling in the city's bar and club scene.
The Dame will close Aug. 23, less than a year after it moved to a new location on East Main Street, part of the Main Street Live complex.
"A lot of the charm of The Dame was the old building," said Nick Sprouse, who books talent for the club. "After CentrePointe, we were never able to recapture the magic we had at the old spot."
The original Dame location was on the block that was cleared last summer for the proposed CentrePointe hotel and condominium project, which has stalled for lack of funding.
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The Fishtank's nine-year run on Euclid Avenue is ending because of a liquor licensing issue related to owner John Tresaloni's new bar, Cosmic Charlie's, opening across the street in the old Lynagh's music club space.
Tresaloni applied for one of the city's three new liquor licenses made available earlier this year, but he wasn't chosen. Rather than serve only beer at Cosmic Charlie's, Tresaloni decided to transfer his liquor license from The Fishtank.
Cosmic Charlie's will open at the beginning of September, serving only beer until The Fishtank closes at the end of September.
Sprouse, 31, plans to open Sprouse House Productions to book bands for other area clubs. After almost a decade of working with booking agents across the country, Sprouse said he feels confident striking out on his own.
Sprouse said he was sad to see The Dame go, but "a lot of new things are happening in Lexington." He feels optimistic about the future of the city's night life. "We'll be OK," he said.
There are other changes that will affect the local nightlife scene:
■ Buster's, also displaced by the CentrePointe project, is now Buster's Billiards & Backroom and is finding new life in the Distillery District. It opens Sept. 4 in the Old Tarr Distillery warehouse on Manchester Street.
"I'm down here all day every day, getting this place ready. When we started, there weren't even bathrooms in here," said Jessica Case, who owns Buster's with her husband, Clark. She said they jumped at the chance to open Buster's in the planned arts and entertainment district.
Case spent Thursday interviewing bartenders and bar staff.
The Cases are also attorneys.
"We've got to do something to pay the bills," she said, chuckling.
The 11,000-square-foot warehouse gives the Clarks the largest downtown music venue, with a capacity of 1,000 people.
■ Taking The Fishtank's spot will be The Cathouse Music Club & Sports Bar. Behind the new venture is Rich DePaso, who operated the Triple Crown Lounge before the building's owner sold it to pave the way for CentrePointe.
The bar will have a live music night. DePaso said he expects to open The Cathouse a few days after The Fishtank closes. "It's still going to be The Fishtank at heart," he said.
■ Austin City Saloon owners Deidre and Bill Ransdell are looking at three larger spaces as possible locations for their popular bar and music venue.
"It's just a matter of space," Deidre Ransdell said. "We're not dead set on moving. We've just outgrown the building where we are right now."
The saloon has a capacity of 299 people. The Ransdells also are exploring ways to expand their existing location in Woodhill Shopping Center.