Music News & Reviews

A new home for The Dame

Little laughs kept slipping into Tom Yost's voice.

The owner of The Dame announced Sunday that the popular music venue that closed in June will reopen in a new location — still on Main Street — on Oct. 3.

"It makes us feel great that we can stay in Lexington and stay downtown," Yost said. "We looked at a lot of different places, some near the university, but downtown tugged at us."

The Dame will go in the Main Street Live complex at 367 East Main Street, into the east building containing the music venue and dance club.

"One hundred percent of our staff will be returning to work for us at our new location," Yost said from his home in Atlanta.

That includes Nick Sprouse, who will again be the talent buyer. "We're looking forward to teaming up with Main Street Live and getting started again," Sprouse said.

Within the past 48 hours, Sprouse said, he has lined up an act for opening night. The name cannot be released until the contract is signed, but he said it would be "a larger act that's familiar to The Dame crowd."

"We'll definitely be running an '80s dance party that opening Friday night," he said.

Greg Hardin, president of Hard Spike Inc., the company that owns Main Street Live, called the addition of The Dame to his music venue "a great marriage."

"We are excited that we're not going to be competing, but working together," he said.

Main Street Live will concentrate on booking acoustic acts in its sports bar and karaoke bar. The complex will keep its volleyball court and large outdoor patio.

Main Street Live will close Saturday for minor renovations and to get the space ready for The Dame.

"We're bringing some signature Dame items like posters from bands that have played at The Dame, and the bar which was rescued from Walgreen's drugstore years ago when it was being torn down," Yost said.

Of course, the black and red rendering of the music club's mascot and icon — the sultry, dark-haired woman holding a Kentucky Ale — will be back.

The Dame was formerly housed in a historic building at 156 West Main Street. The club had been in that location only five years, but it made a permanent mark on the music scene in Lexington.

It closed June 22. The Dame's lease was bought out by building owner Joe Rosenberg as part of a move to clear businesses from the block to make way for construction of CentrePointe, the proposed 35-story high-rise hotel and condominium tower.

All of the buildings on the block have been razed.

On Friday night, Brittany Clark held a mourning ceremony for loss of the music venue and an '80s dance party like The Dame had every Friday night. About 500 people showed up for the event in Cheapside Park.

Reached on Sunday, Clark said she was "ecstatic" about news of the reopening.

The owners of the Main Street Live building will be in charge of maintenance, which will free up Yost and Sprouse to concentrate on entertainment.

"We'll have more time to book bands and work on the high definition broadcasting (of The Dame music) on the Internet that we want to get going," Yost said.

Yost became concerned that he would not find another location. "It was a little too close for comfort," he said of the search.

But "every time we got down, we always got pick-me-ups from customers and other business owners downtown," he said. "We feel we're one with Lexington and one with our customers."