the end of buster’s… as we know it

The wall next to the beer-only bar at Buster’s tells quite a saga.

The ties to its next door neighbor, The Dame, are emphasized through a series of flyers for performances there – most of which took place months ago. But older postings that have been stapled over tell of local theatre, film and dance events. And near the bottom, almost undetectable, are remains of posters for shows at High on Rose, a longtime local bar and music spot that closed three years ago.

But the most revealing poster is plastered en masse all over the place, especially on the windows that look out upon the late night comings and goings along the corner of Main and Upper. The five words that dominate the poster’s black and white design explain the inevitable: “The End of Busters… as we know it.”

Today, in a day-long farewell that begins at noon, the mainstay bar, music joint and pool hall, which would have turned 18 years old this Halloween, closes down as part of planning for the proposed CentrePointe project. Like The Dame, Buster’s is looking to relocate. But the end of the downtown Buster’s, coupled with the already vacated Mia’s on it’s Upper St. side and the Sunday closing of The Dame to the right on Main, foretells the end of one of Lexington’s most frequented corners of downtown nightlife.

“It’s going to be interesting to walk around that corner real soon,” said Johnny Shipley, a bartender for seven years at Buster’s and the principal organizer of the bar’s intimate local music performances. “There won’t be anything there.

“It’s disappointing, of course. A lot of people that come in Buster’s may be turned off by the music on the jukebox or that we only have beer. But others really appreciate it for what it is and the character that is has. Countless times, someone comes in from New York City or Chicago or Los Angeles – any big city, really, with a lots of bars – and goes, ‘This is one of the coolest bars I’ve ever been in’ or ‘I wish LA had a pool hall like this.’ And they’re saying this about a little bar stuck in the middle of Main St. in Lexington.

“For those kinds of people, this is going to be a big loss.”

(above photo of The Dame, right, and Busters from

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