Betty Moore, iconic lesbian bartender in Dallas, dies at 83

Posted on 26 Oct 2012 at 12:45pm

“She could cuss you out in a heartbeat, but she loved her patrons and friends and had a big heart.”
Dedra Pfarrdrescher

Betty-MooreDAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

Longtime Buddies II bartender Betty Moore passed away on Oct. 22, three days after her 83rd birthday.

Moore worked at Buddies for about 28 years. After the bar closed in 2009, she moved across Maple Avenue to Cherries, working there until she suffered a stroke this summer.

Before Buddies II closed three years ago, it was the oldest continuously operating lesbian bar in the country, and Moore may have held the record for the bartender who worked the longest at the same lesbian bar. Without a doubt, she held a Dallas record. Moore’s friends this week remembered her as an icon in the community. One described her as “crusty.”

“She was well loved,” said Dedra Pfarrdrescher. “She could cuss you out in a heartbeat, but she loved her patrons and friends and had a big heart.”

Daphne Derden, a former manager at Buddies, said the more Moore cussed, the more it meant she loved you.

“The shift would change and Betty would stay for her two drinks,” Derden said. “The day crowd would leave when Betty left.”

At the time Buddies closed, Moore told Dallas Voice why she stayed at the bar for so long.

“Well, I loved [owners] Dawn [Jackson] and Sandy [Myers], and I just didn’t want to do anything else or go anywhere else,” Moore said.

She said that what made Buddies so special was “the courtesy people have, the friendliness. They treat everyone the same here. I have the nicest day crowd any bartender could ask for — the nicest, and the most faithful.”

And her customers loved her so much that before the bar closed, afraid they wouldn’t see her again, Buddies regulars insisted on celebrating her 80th birthday a month early, in September.

Moore hosted a number of the club’s regular events. The Old Timers Party and the annual Texas-OU watch party were two of her favorites. Born in Oklahoma, she was a huge OU fan.

The building that housed Buddies II was demolished earlier this year to make way for a high-rise office building that will be the corporate headquarters for Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym.

The bar had two buildings with a swimming pool and deck between them. Moore staffed the back bar during the day.

Buddies owner Myers died in August 2001. Jackson continued running the bar until 2009. At that time, developers were pushing out businesses between Oak Lawn Avenue and the Dallas North Tollway. Jackson closed the bar and went to Florida to take care of her mother who was ill.

Jackson was in Dallas last week to take care of Moore.

“Her ashes will go in the ocean with Sandy [Myers],” Jackson said.

Moore moved to Dallas in 1960 from Hugo, Okla., after her parents died. She lived in Highland Park with a wealthy aunt, Sue Fitzhugh, and in the 1960s they traveled together extensively.

She began bartending one day while dating a bartender at Jugs. Moore would show up at the bar in a dainty dress and gloves to see her girlfriend. Myers was managing.

One day, her girlfriend didn’t show up for work and Myers put Moore to work behind the bar. Moore said she didn’t know anything about mixing drinks.

Many of her customers would agree. She never really learned the names of mixed drinks. If a customer asked for something like a Tom Collins, she’d just ask if they wanted a scotch and water.

Because Moore fed all of the cats on the deck at Buddies and around her apartment, friends suggested donations in her memory be made to the SPCA.

A celebration of her life will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at Randy’s Club Cherries, 2506 Knight St.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 26, 2012.

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