Oh, the Comet Tavern. The ol' graffiti pit was there for the worst bands you've ever seen, the best bands you couldn't believe were playing there, your first show, your fiftieth show. A place to start your night with a shot of whiskey with a couple grizzled regulars. A place where a hazmat suit should have been provided before entering the bathrooms. A place where tales of drugs, drunks, and debauchery were never in short supply. Love it or hate it, the Comet, which weathered well over 60 years on 10th and Pike, seemed as much a fixture as the Pike/Pine corridor itself.

Then, out of the blue, on October 2, 2013, the Comet shut its doors. Rumors of water bill and lease issues swirled, followed by more serious (and accurate) discoveries that the Comet's owner was having serious financial troubles. The sad and strange saga came to an end when the owner secretly removed the sound system and other items of value from the venue and changed the locks, leaving the corner dark for the first time anyone could remember.

The following month, it was announced that Lost Lake partners Dave Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse had taken over the lease. They plan to reopen the new Comet at the end of March, spiffed-up and clean, and, for the first time in the Comet's history, with a food menu. Live music will still happen, but on a scaled-back schedule. Will you get a staph infection from the toilet seats? Probably not.

To pay our respects, or lack thereof, to the old Comet Tavern, Stranger writers, musicians, and notables around town vomit up their good, bad, and grimy old Comet stories.

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