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Following in the footsteps of a murderer

I visited Dante’s during a recent trip to Seattle because of my interest in Ted Bundy. The infamous serial killer was a student at the nearby University of Seattle and killed a number of young women who lived on campus. Dante’s was Bundy’s favorite watering hole and the murderer is believed to have stalked a number of women he first encountered at the bar. Bundy’s victims were all physically similar: young, brunette women with long hair parted in the middle. Ted Bundy’s murder spree would continue in Utah, Colorado, and Florida before he was eventually captured and executed.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t any Ted Bundy photographs or memorabilia on display at the bar. Perhaps the current proprietors of Dante’s felt any Bundy reference would be in bad taste, but did let a documentary crew use the bar to film dramatizations of Bundy’s early life. Bundy’s crimes happened a generation ago and he has gone from a boogeyman in newspaper headlines to a legitimate part of American history. He was the first serial killer that gave authorities proper insight into the mind of a sociopath.

Dante's

I was staying in downtown Seattle but took an Uber across town and visited Dante’s on a Saturday night. I could have ordered a bottle of Mickey’s malt liquor (Ted Bundy’s favorite drink) but I never developed a taste for beer. Mixed drinks made with Sailor Jerry were on special so I ordered a rum and pineapple juice. I gave up drinking soda months ago and ever since have had difficulty in ordering a mixed drink. In the past I would always pair my rum with Pepsi or Coca-Cola, but I followed the bartender’s advice (he’s the expert) and tried pineapple juice; it was very pleasant and the perfect drink for a summer night.

I quite enjoyed the unique three-tiered layout of the bar. Located on the lowest level is a dance floor and DJ booth, and a back room with billiard tables, skee-ball, and pinball machines. Restrooms, the bar, tables and booths are located on the second floor, while the third floor features additional seating and a dartboard. If I were a student at the University of Seattle I might have also counted Dante’s among my favorite hangouts.

Two days after my visit Dante’s was decimated by an electrical fire. I’m so happy I was able to visit the bar before the accident. Here’s hoping they rebuild and reopen soon!

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