Comet Tale
Comet Tale
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Halley’s Comet comes around every 76 years or so, lightens up the celestial sky and then disappears again. Here in Seattle, on 10th and Pike, arguably one of the scariest and pukey, best-ever dive bars, the Comet Tavern, gloriously stayed with us for well over 60 years before disappearing overnight. But alas, unlike the famous celestial comet, it looks like this one will never return. And sadly therein lies a tale; a comet tale if you like.


The ‘Vomit Comet’ (as it was affectionately called) welcomed hippies and punks with some of the cheapest drinks you’ll find in Seattle. It was the city’s oldest, divest bar, famous for its loud music, pungent toilets, ceiling of nicotine-stained dollar bills and the way it fondly honoured a departed bartender named Ethel. It kept her ashes inside the bar stool she used to sit on.  Opened in the ’50s, the Comet was a popular hangout during Seattle’s grunge years. It was also a den of solace for musicians after the 1993 murder of local singer Mia Zapata. Her last drink had been at the Comet; her death was a catalyst for feminist change. 


Then, out of the blue, early last October, the Comet shut its doors and they didn’t open again. The Comet’s owner fell into serious financial troubles, and then secretly removed the sound system and other items of value (surely not Ethel’s bar stool?) from the esteemed venue and changed the locks, leaving that particular corner of the Pike/Pine corridor – where it was regarded as a permanent fixture – dark for the first time anyone could remember.


So farewell then, Comet Tavern….perhaps like Halley’s Comet, you’ll come back in another 60 or so years.


Leica M3 & 40mm Summicron-C

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Ilford FP4+(@200)

HC-110 (Dil.H – 1:63 @ 13 minutes)

Plustek 7600i & Vuescan