Will Capitol Hill See The Comet Again?

Comet has left the hill at blinding speed, but some say it will be back. Fans of the local capitol hill dive bar, The Comet, may not have to fear that the bar is gone. Capitol Hill blog reports the bar may have a new owner.

The Comet Tavern is and was the oldest bar on Capitol Hill. It made is debut in the 50s and became known for its odd collection of punk rockers, loud performances, regular drinkers, smelly bathrooms and sticky floors. It may not be pretty, but it’s a dive bar, known as one of the last dive bars on the hill–and it’s well loved.

A lot of the bar’s charm comes from the fact that it feels like it has never changed. Take 21 has a short video on the history of the bar. Some quirky facts include that it used to be a Budweiser bar. When it was a theatre bar, actresses would take of their tops, to the delight of the crowd, to score some free beer. Another strange rumor claims the original owner’s remains are in the post of the barstool where she frequently sat, labeled on the bar counter as “Ethel.”

Many lovers of the bar and occasional patrons were upset when a few weeks ago the doors were shut with no official “closing,” and many on the hill were very confused. Michelle Smith, talent booker, has told many sources such as The Stranger that the closure was due to a water bill/lease issue. Rumors have been flying around that owner Brian Balodiswas shut down for not paying taxes and that he is looking for a partnership to save the bar.

As a frequent patron of the bar, the word on the street that I heard was that late one night Balodis was seen with his father loading equipment into his truck before shutting the doors for good. This rumor has been confirmed by Michelle Smith’s Facebook profile “Mamma Casserole,” where she wrote “The Comet owner secretly removed the sound system and other items of value from the venue.”

Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the building landlords are talking with prospective bar owners to come in and continue the nightlife legacy. One potential owner is musician Ian Hill. Hill and other candidates will have to look for a way to cut a deal with Balodis to use the name “The Comet Tavern” and keep the original location.

Some questions I raise as a previous patron are “Is it still really going to be ‘The Comet’?” Granted, there are some things that new owners could change. The bar can go without the filthy and frequently broken bathrooms, afternoon flies and sticky–pretty much everything. I know many argue these things make it “The Comet,” but I find much of it to be gross.

What I would like to see stay are the amazing happy hour deals for cheap beer I enjoy on Fridays, some of the same crowd, partnership with the hot dog street meat outside, great friendly bartenders and that laid back “dive bar” feel.