By Megan Jones
The recent rumors of two downtown business closings have many students questioning the vitality of Richmond’s downtown social scene. Taylor’s pool room closed Jan. 18, and the Buddha Belly bar on South First Street may be closing.
After hearing her customers ask whether local downtown Richmond bar T Bombadils, also known as T Bombs, will close, co-owner Rachel Billings just wants to get the word out.
“We’re not closing,” she said. “We have no plans to close. People ask me every night if we’re closing.”
Another fixture on Richmond’s downtown bar scene, the Buddha Belly, may be closing and relocating to Lexington, according to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Repeated attempts to contact the Buddha Belly ownership were unsuccessful.
Taylor’s pool room, also located on South First Street, closed Jan. 18 after almost 60 years of operation serving “world famous” hamburgers.
T Bombs co-owner Billings said the Buddha Belly’s potential closing may significantly damage the downtown bar and social scene.
“I think it will hurt,” Billings said. “Everyone needs competition. Everyone needs more than one reason to come downtown.”
Although a possible buyout of T Bombs may occur sometime in the future between the co-owners, the bar would still remain open even if the buyout occurred, she said.
“It’s still up in the air,” Billings said, “but we are not closing.”
Nicholas Tucker, a broadcast news major from Lawrenceburg, said the closings would draw away people from downtown Richmond’s social scene.
“It won’t be as crowded on Thursday and Friday nights,” he said. “The (Richmond) social scene is not going to be the same. People will probably have parties at other places in town.”
Ben Dowdy, a senior emergency medical care major from Richmond, said Richmond didn’t have much of a social scene to start with before the rumors started.
“What downtown social scene?” he asked. “It’s not really that much. There are two bars and one of them has a dance floor. I’m not surprised (about the bar’s potential closing). There are plenty of other places to hang out outside of Richmond.”
Leah Campbell, a junior English major from Berea, said Richmond would be affected quite a bit if the downtown bar closed.
“It will take business out of Richmond,” she said. “After going to a bar in Lexington, if people are hungry afterward, they will just go spend money at Lexington restaurants.”
LeAnn Stivers, a senior economics major from Louisville, said the potential bar closing may negatively effect Richmond’s social scene.
“I think if (the bar) closes it [will] probably lead to other potential bar closings and many students will have problems finding something to do on Thursday nights,” she said. “People will probably just go to Lexington for entertainment.