29-May-2009 (Fri)
Wherein there's more good press in which DNA is ignored.

Here's another really good article about the ABC crackdown on live venues in SF Weekly:

Outdated rules threaten the life of local all-ages clubs

A major problem stems from the fact that live music venues are classified as restaurants, in the language of the ABC. "We don't license nightclubs," says ABC spokesman John Carr, who clarifies that his agency licenses bars (21+) and restaurants (no age limit). "A lot of people use the term nightclub, but it's not a term we like."

This is a ridiculous attitude that gets to the heart of the matter: There's a big difference between a restaurant (where people go with a meal in mind) and a club (where people go with music in mind). They are not one and the same; one shouldn't have to jump through the hoops of the other.

There isn't a specific liquor license for all-ages music venues. Under current state law, places like Great American are licensed as a "bona fide public eating place" because restaurants are the only public businesses that can serve alcohol with minors present. Leno says it's currently up to the ABC to deem what percentage of these businesses' sales should come from food. "They could say 40 percent or they could say 60 percent," he says. "They get to make the determination, and it's pretty much up to the establishment to take it or leave it."

The perceptive among you will note, again, that the author of this article doesn't think DNA Lounge's legal struggle with the ABC prohibitionists is worthy of a mention, even going so far as to refer to Bottom of the Hill, Slims, Great American and Cafe du Nord as "the big four". Perhaps you should ask the author why we get no respect, despite having been in this ABC fight for about a year longer than anyone else?

Perhaps your outrage at this will incite you to buy a "Save DNA Lounge" t-shirt or donate.

Also: In my last update I made a typo and said that our upcoming fundraiser with Eric Lewis is on Jul 4; it's actually on Thu, Jun 4, six days from now. Get your tickets!

7 Responses:

  1. I have not been able to make sense of these oversights. WTF.

  2. fantasygoat says:

    Weren't the other guests on the radio show the *spokespeople* for the venues in question? Someone previously mentioned a PR person might be in order.

    It might be worth the money to pay someone to spend all day getting the word out about DNA and the struggles with ABC.

  3. ext_31109 says:

    This article talks about drafting new rules. But a little research suggests that the ABC already has the power to issue a license perfect for a club like the DNA Lounge, (under 21s allowed, no need to sell food, etc.) it simply chooses not to. So the "new rules" needed are a change in policy at the ABC, that's your main hope. Somehow (maybe by people loudly demanding it from their elected officials) the ABC's stance on clubs has to change, or you are screwed. The lawyers are necessary to keep you open meanwhile, but a long term future requires political change. Ugh.

    • jwz says:

      The current situation -- of live venues technically being "restaurants" -- has been the status quo for literally sixty years, and ABC has only started behaving as if it is a problem recently. So yes, though the licensing situation is a little weird and nonsensical, it had been working fine for more than half a century.

  4. mysterc says:

    On a plus note, your music brought a huge grin to my face.