Astro Biz: Blue Moon Tavern

Many businesses, products, and places have names rooted in space and astronomy. We’re featuring them regularly on Seattle Astronomy.

The Blue Moon

The iconic Blue Moon sign at the tavern on NE 45th Street in Seattle’s University District. Photo: Greg Scheiderer

Today’s Astro Biz is the famed—many online sources, including its own Twitter account, use the term infamous—Blue Moon tavern in Seattle’s University District. Opened shortly after the end of prohibition in 1934, the Blue Moon was said to be a hit with University of Washington students. Location is everything; the tavern was just over a mile away from the campus of the time, and state law then prohibited the sale of alcohol within a mile of the university.

The Blue Moon website notes that the tavern “welcomed an assortment of radicals, artists, writers, journalists, beatniks, hippies, and wannabees,” as well as universitiy students and faculty. The site tosses out such names as poets Theodore Roethke, Richard Hugo, Carolyn Kizer, Stanley Kunitz, and David Wagoner among the clientele, along with famous visitors such as Dylan Thomas and Allen Ginsberg, and perhaps even Jack Kerouac. A Seattle Astronomy favorite, Tom Robbins, is also said to have hung out at the Blue Moon back in the day.

It turns out Blue Moon is not such a rare name. We’ve already featured Blue Moon Burgers on Astro Biz, and an internet search for “blue moon tavern” also turned up results in Everett, Portland, Baltimore, Newton, NC, Eben Junction, MI, Parkersburg, WV, Coos Bay, OR, and Buford, GA. The Eben Junction spot burned down a couple of times and was rebuilt as the New Moon. Blue Moons may turn up wherever the Merry Pranksters travel, or in places where occasional tipplers go for a brew once in a blue moon.

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