19-Dec-2016 (Mon) Wherein DNA Lounge will be closed soon, without your help.

I worked in the software industry. In the mid-90s, during the "first bubble", I made a whole lot of money. Not entirely coincidentally, that tech bubble had a dramatically negative impact on the culture of San Francisco. I loved it here (and still do). I didn't like the changes I was seeing (and still don't). So I decided to push back, and put my money where my mouth was.

DNA Lounge has always been a political project: an attempt to move the needle of culture in this city. To provide a forum for a wide variety of art that makes this city a better place. DNA Lounge is putatively a business, but it is also activism.

As it turns out, that's not cheap.

I don't have an opulent lifestyle or particularly expensive tastes. With my winnings in the Startup Lottery, I bought myself a condo, I bought my mom a condo, and I bought a nightclub.

In the 17 years since I signed the lease on DNA Lounge, I've spent about five million dollars on it.

That is a truly gargantuan amount of money, inconceivable to most people, including many of my friends. Including me. Maybe if you'd had that magic briefcase dropped into your lap, you'd have done something more noble with it. Or more venal. Well, this is what I did: I spent most of my adult life running a nightclub, in a near-constant state of panic.

There have been stretches of our history where DNA Lounge was "in the black" (in the sense of: on a day-to-day basis, covering its operating costs, if you completely ignore all past investments), and I could breathe a bit easier. However, DNA has never turned a profit. Though this has been my full time job for almost two decades, I've never collected a salary. The opposite, in fact: through most of our history, the way we make payroll is, I write personal checks to cover it.

Well, here's the thing: I've run out of money.

I'm not about to be out on the street or anything. I would never compare what I'm struggling with to what less financially stable people are going through. So many of my creative peers are barely keeping their heads above water. That includes most of the people I employ for far less than they deserve. My nightclub, like my city, is full of people who put up with a lot more pain and suffering than they should ever have to just to hold onto a sense of community. But it is all connected. We're all together, standing around, watching countless strongholds of alternative culture in the Bay Area, and independently owned and curated creative meeting grounds in cities all across America, fade away. Some of them are literally crashing and burning. It's heartbreaking and horrifying.

I have known for quite some time that I couldn't afford to subsidize this particular stronghold much longer. It's painful to admit, but I'm at the point where I would have to pick between propping up DNA Lounge for another few years at best -- and supporting my mom.

For several years, from basically 2009 through 2014, we were doing reasonably well, financially: we were able to make some improvements. We were able to convert from a 21+ venue to an all ages venue, and we weathered the storm of our retaliatory license suspension that called us a "Disorderly House Injurious to the Public Welfare and Morals". We were able to use DNA Lounge income to cover the creation of DNA Pizza and the expansion of the club into Above DNA. In the end, DNA paid for those projects without me having to increase my investment. Things were looking up. In fact, we were turning business away: we had more people wanting to throw parties than we had nights available, and we were having trouble keeping up with our pizza orders on weekend nights.

So we decided to expand again, and opened a second location of DNA Pizza and an attached all ages dance club, Codeword, trying to replicate what seemed like a winning formula.

We started construction on Codeword in 2014. It took about a year and a half to build everything out. We opened at the end of 2015.

Meanwhile, between 2014 and 2015, DNA Lounge's attendance dropped off by about 9%. By the end of 2016, it had dropped by another 15%. Couple this with the fact that Codeword has no business to speak of, and we're screwed.

To break even, we need to increase our overall attendance by about 800 people a week. (That could be across both venues, or multiple nights: four 200 person events or any other permutation is just as good. It all goes into the same pot.)

Another way of saying that is that we are running at a loss of somewhere in the neighborhood of $380,000 per year. And I don't have it.

And no matter how much I try to wrap my brain around this, I don't know what the hell to do about it. That's the reason for this post. I need help, or we will be out of business soon. I can afford to continue to prop things up for a short amount of time, but not very long without both completely screwing my future, and also not actually solving the problem.

"Sell Codeword" is the obvious thing, and yeah, if I could snap my fingers and make that happen, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, to sell something, you have to have a buyer. I've got a long lease on that space, and even if I just locked the doors and sold the liquor license, I'd still owe the landlord every month until I could find a new tenant. We've talked to a few local nightlife people we thought might be interested in taking over the place, but with no bites so far. We're still looking.

Besides, Codeword is only about 1/2 to 2/3rds of our problem. DNA Lounge is losing a ton of money all on its own. So getting rid of Codeword would help, but not enough.

I really don't want to have to close DNA Lounge. We have done some great things here. Not me, we. The umbrella of DNA is host to countless vibrant communities and thousands of regulars. We've had fifteen years of the most diverse, weird, interesting calendar of any venue I've ever seen. A typical month here doesn't include just bands and DJs, but comedy, lecture series, circuses, robotic exhibitions, dance performances, hair shows... We provide a home for a whole lot of truly amazing art. I'm so proud of everyone. I'm immensely grateful to our staff for making it happen. They all clearly have a lot of love for this place too, because there's no other reason someone would put up with the low pay and appalling working conditions!

I started writing a bit calling out some of our incredibly devoted staff by name, but it's impossible to do so without the crippling horror that I'd insult someone by leaving them out, and if I didn't, this would we so long it would start looking like a memorial wall. So I'll just say that this place could not exist without the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of people who have devoted their lives to it (and that's not just because the dark machines in the basement are literally powered by tears).

Some nights, even on nights where I'm not personally a fan of the music, I will look out over the balcony and see a room full of people moving as one, and I think, "This is what we do. This is why we did it." I try to take a mental snapshot of those moments.

I've heard from so many people over the years, customers and employees alike, that DNA Lounge has been a huge part of their lives: that they have a sense of community here, and that they feel safe here in a way that they don't anywhere else.

It's always funny, talking to different people firmly embedded in their own particular subcultures, who all see this place completely differently. To some people, DNA is "the goth club", because that's all they listen to and this is the only place they see those bands play. To others, DNA does nothing but the most brutal metal shows. To some, it is candy raves. We used to be that place that only did Deep House dance parties. I have heard actual people say with their actual mouth-holes, "I'm at Bootie, where DNA Lounge used to be".

They're all right, it's all of those things.

And in this city, historically notorious for its hostility to small businesses in general and to nightlife in particular, I think places like this need to exist. Places like this matter. The value of a thing is not its monetary cost.

But how do we make enough money to keep us alive?

One time-honored method is to find an "investor". But can you call it an "investment" with a straight face when there is literally no chance of getting your money back? Yeah, no. By "investor", I really mean "philanthropist".

Some form of crowdfunding is a possibility, I suppose. Most people want something in return for their Kickstarters and whatnot: it tends to be viewed as commerce more than charity. So at the low end, this would probably look a lot like: buying a spot on the guest list for a year, or a stack of "get in free" cards, or something. It would be easy to mis-design those rewards in such a way as to not actually make any money from them. But maybe at the high end, there would be enough people willing to kick down substantial contributions: people who feel it's worth more to them than $12 per show to keep DNA Lounge in existence.

Another possibility is looking for grants. Grants for the arts are out there. A few years back, Yoshi's somehow convinced the City to just give them $7.2 million. And then they went out of business anyway. So.... we know that's possible, I guess? But writing grant proposals is a specialized skill. I don't possess it and I don't know anyone who does. Do you? By all means, send 'em by.

There are also a number of businesses that DNA Lounge could or should be in, but is not; or rather, variants of our core business. E.g., we almost never book corporate parties, conferences, film shoots, that sort of thing. Why? Well, we're bad at it. Ok, that's not a real answer. I guess the answer is that it's a slightly different skill set than booking bands and DJs and we don't have anyone who works here who has the right contacts.

"So hire that person!" you say. Sure! But hiring is hard. Really, really hard. And that person is probably quite expensive, if they actually know what they're doing.

The problem with many of the business development ideas we've had over the years is that they take the form of: invest a bunch of money and then wait a year or longer before it is possible to even have a guess as to whether it is working, or even whether we hired the right person in the first place. That is, unfortunately, often how things work. That is often the reality. The world does not always provide you with quick fixes. But we need a quick fix, because I am out of money. I can't make long term investments because I don't know how I'm keeping the lights on in the short term.

(Ugh, while I was writing this, I had my Mac read it out loud to me, and it sounded like HAL 9000 begging for its life.)

So maybe you were hoping this would end with some big call to action, or some kind of hopeful note. I wish it did. I need ideas. I need suggestions. And I need your patience, too. Please, bear with me.

I know that with this level of transparency and vulnerability I'm setting myself up for a bunch of wisecracks from people who are all too eager to tell me what I did wrong and how they totally would have done it differently, having created nothing of lasting value themselves. How this situation or that was "obvious". Haters gonna hate, I know how it goes.

But if you have suggestions, please have them be about things I can do in 2016 and 2017, not things I should have done in 2004.

If you don't have suggestions, there are always the obvious things you can do:

  • Attend our events.
  • Buy tickets.
  • Buy drinks.
  • Buy pizza.
  • Bring your friends.
  • Get them to bring their friends.

If you don't support DNA Lounge, in a tangible way, it won't be here any more.

Hitting "Like" isn't enough.

If you're too broke, too crippled by existential despair, or too geographically incompatible to show up in person, how about at least posting a fond memory of your time at DNA in the comments below? It won't keep the lights on, but it will be nice to hear.

Update, Christmas Day:

Hey, if you've made it this far, you should know that I've made a few followup posts on this blog and will continue to do so. Short version: among all of the other leads for increasing our business that we are following up on, we're in the process of designing some kind of subscription membership program, probably using Patreon. But in the meantime, I've added the ability to accept donations to the DNA Lounge store, so if you are feeling generous, you can help us out right now!

Support DNA Lounge!
Your donation helps ensure that we can continue bringing you the kind of awesome, eclectic and weird events that you've come to expect from us! Your donation keeps us independent, and lets us continue to take chances on the kind of local live entertainment that makes San Francisco great. Won't you pitch in?

$5 $10 $20 $50 $100 $1,000 $2,000

Thank you again for the outpouring of sympathy and support, and stay tuned!

Update 2: We also have a DNA Lounge Patreon now, so you can contribute on a monthly basis.

535 Responses:

  1. I come every chance I can, and bring as many as I can. As for ideas, I'm sure I can't offer much that others haven't already, but DNA will have my support as often as I can. It's up to the community to keep places they love alive, and I'm hoping they show up in spades for you guys, many hands to keep the ship aloft.

    • Diane Thomposon says:

      Bring back NWC night, Meat and more Death Guild nights mabey a DG Saturday for people unable to attend Mon. I definitely would be there. ❤️

      • Tracy Semonik says:

        wait, there's a DG Monday? I thought it was Saturdays! I'm so confused! I'm newly single and kinda cute, looking for someone to do on the regular, I'll be there.... seriously, tho, I moved to the Bay Area partially because of all the fun times I had at the DNA. Every time I visited local friends, it was on the agenda. Sad to say, you move here and, well, life gets in the way of fun. I'll try to drag my friends into the city more often. We're losing time, we're dying, darlings. We're dying from the day we're born, we can't go the opposite way. if I'm gonna live dying, I'm gonna live dancing. To the music that makes me smile ear to ear. And so what if it's The Thrill Kill Kult. So what if I'm sad and sorry and lame! Long live the DNA! I'm gonna look for a show and buy tickets right now! And have my naked dance party til it's show time!

    • april says:

      my friends and i saw LE1F perform here probably 4 years ago, and it was the first and last "real club" i've been to. My friend jumped on stage to dance next to Le1f, and we thought the bouncers would try and kick my friend off stage but clearly, Le1f didn't want that. i hope y'all push through, your space is so inviting even for introverted queers like me.

    • William Calhoun says:

      I predicted 15 years ago) the disintegration of the multi-faceted "club scene" wherein freedom reigned supreme based on shear demographics changes and the homogenizing of the culture. In a multi-cultural society there is no "diversity" because everyone compromises their uniqueness and identity to a giant overseer of fairness and equality which is a bigger and bigger government and a bigger and bigger media as disseminator of truth. Hip-hop which is pervasive is the McDonald's or Walmart or Starbuck's of music where there are no unique or flourishing creativities as inertia to a business or music business enterprise but an annihilation of all diversity. With the influx of non-freedom oriented cultures to the Bay Area or cultures where repression is accepted as a reality of everyday life the move toward destruction of the individual has increased exponentially. Even DNA has a more or less Hip-Hop night "Bootie Call", but this will not work because this night is not unique or celebrated as unique but just a rehash of what's going on all over the globe: A GIANT HOMOGENIZING. You might as well just shut it down because essentially your and others liberalism and ultra-tolerance has destroyed all individuality and freedom around the world. Even "Death Guild" is very politically correct and shallow. Just ask the designer of"techno" scene in Europe who said, "love is dead" and has stopped the month long raves which used to flourish in Europe...can you say over-running Islamic immigration and the anti-freedom anti music precepts of the Quran.

      • Alan Smithee says:

        Hey. You know who has NEVER been welcome at DNA, and never will?

        Nazis, honey. Nazis.

        You don't know the first thing about love.

        • William Calhoun says:

          Let go of your hate and simple mindedness and brainwashing. There is absolutely no love at DNA Lounge. Very sad that you so fascistic in your so-called "loving" viewpoint. Try to progress and gain wisdom.

          • Jim Patyooch says:

            Sure - love is hate, according you the clueless media-duped nazi. Don't you people ever get tired of proving to others that you're idiots? It's like you're just never happy with what an idiot you've shown yourself to be, when you can still keep digging yourself in deeper. Like you're afraid someone out there wasn't absolutely convinced yet that you're too clueless to pay attention to.

      • Van says:

        Can you say I need psychological help and my intolerance is showing?

      • Matt V says:

        Nazi punks, fuck off.

        • William Calhoun says:

          Go through all the photos for the last 5 years at DNA Lounge and discover who is wearing uniforms: everyone.

          • Jim Patyooch says:

            Lol, you're still at it? "Look at me, everybody, I'm not enough of a moron yet - but I'm working on it!"

  2. andrew says:

    I like the idea of a supporters/members club. I know that DNA is one of the most important venues for me in SF, maybe THE most important. It won't cover the entire difference, but I bet you could get a lot of regulars to pony up $100 or $200 a year, and get a fancy shirt or badge or drink specials as a thank-you.

    You might have to do those terrible public radio style pledge drives, though.

    • b says:

      I would be down for a super duper membership just to have fancy shit and feel morally superior. Maybe something like the Long Now decanters where folks get their own special fucking bottle scotch that nobody else can have and that's there waiting for them to drink it.

      • andrew says:

        Oh man, a DNA private bottle could be epic.


        Tons of ideas, I tell ya.

      • b says:

        (And, sorry about the typos and poor attempt at humor. It's a serious suggestion.)

      • Bob Dobbs says:

        Agreed. I'd pay for a membership. A bottle service would be cool too. I've rented the VIP booths before, mainly to support DNA.

      • Joe Thompson says:

        I would definitely subscribe to some sort of membership just to keep DNA going. As it happens I work for a SF-based startup for the last year so I might actually have the opportunity to use any benefits that came with it despite being East-Coast-based, but would happily have subscribed regardless.

        I mean I spend something like half a grand a year on Starbucks[0] while traveling for work. I can spare the cash for a better cause than lining Howard Schulz's pockets.

        [0] haters, hate all you want, but far too often it's the least-worst option, especially after 5 PM or so outside a major-metro downtown area

      • Laura julia says:

        I will support you!

    • Kat Powell says:

      Yes! THIS!!! I support this!

      • andrew says:

        If needed the community could come together to form a Friends of DNA. Better for jwz to do it, but we can help.

    • Clarissa says:

      Have you talked to Alan at Borderlands Books? They started a sponsorship system a couple years ago.


    • heather dale says:

      i would HAPPILY pony up $100/$200 for a membership! 2 or 3 levels of membership would be cool...starting at $100.

      i'm totally down with this idea.

    • CJ says:

      Running a spot with my wife so we know how hard it is and appreciate all you do! Personally, I have been to several shows in the 4 years since I moved to Pacifica and will return soon. Great spot for live music, no question. Awesome Venue! Only wish that I could do more. Very best of luck in the future and cheers to you and yours

    • Andrea Morfin says:

      I would totally hand over some cash just to have a slick looking black and green card that said DNA lounge on it.

    • Evan says:

      This idea worked to help Comix Experience stick around. I don't know if their situation was more or less dire, but I saw a similar post from them a year or two ago. They started a "graphic novel of the month" club and that's helped them stick around.

      I love DNA lounge, and I think there could be significant support for a "membership" type thing with drink deals and other perks.

    • Rebecca says:

      I agree! I would definitely support becoming a DNA Lounge member. Wouldn't need any fancy perqs but just a way to show support.

      • Xavier M says:

        YES!!! Love the idea of a membership (count me in). OMG - all the amazing shows i've been to over the years: Meat Beat M, Nina Hagen (twice), Peter Murphy, Lydia Lunch, Twitch (upstairs venue), Dark Sparkle, Dancing Ghosts...... will keep you in my thoughts and will most definitely get friends to attend shows w/ me in the coming months.

    • Other Jamie says:

      This is actually not a bad idea. Affinity memberships can work. I'd join, even though we're not friends and I kinda hate clubs these days, because DNA is part of my wider cultural circle, not to mention part of my neighborhood[1] and one of the only places to hear music in town.

      If nothing else, it might be a Hail Mary, if the math works out and it isn't too late. Sell them with an option on a show-poster from -Pizza if the club shuts down anyway to calm that fear.

      [1] Shuddup, SOMA does so have neighborhood-iness.

    • Lady Di says:

      I love this idea. I'd be a member even if it was just specials on drinks. I'd even be up for just straight donating. I love DNA lounge even though I've only been there twice (just recently moved to the bay area). I'll go way more often as long as the doors stay open.

    • Robert says:

      I like the idea of memberships because they support the notion of DNA being a community. I would sign up for:

      - 1/2 off admission until 10:30
      - access to some private spaces
      - throw in a hoodie

      If they pre-pay for the year up front, give them a discount, e.g. $500 for the year.

      Then you can have other tiers as well. (e.g. just 1/2 admission for $25/month, prepay to $250/year)

      But maybe start high and then lower the price if there aren't enough takers, so that those who can spend more will jump in first.

      You can also do sponsorships, but instead of corporate sponsorships they would member sponsorships (e.g. actual people). ATT Park sold bricks, in Coit tower there are steps with sponsors names engraved. You can do something like that and have a sponsor wall.

      Raising $400K, given the good will and wealth in SF, is doable. But what happens next year? There are clubs that make money here, and no shortage of places to eat pizza, so if you need a year or two to right the ship, I'm sure the community will step up, but if you have to do it every single year or go out of business things get dicier.

      You may also consider turning DNA into a non-profit -- not sure if there are liquor license issues, but being a non-profit will help with asking for grants and will also help, in terms of P.R., when asking for memberships.

      • andrew says:

        That's math that might actually work out. Fifty a month for gold, twenty-five for green, prepay for a year at $500 or $250. I doubt it would raise the full $400K, but it would make a meaningful dent.

        People on this board WANT to help! This is a very straightforward way to do it.

        Plus we get a card to show off.

    • Rob G says:

      I will participate in a Sponsors program like the one Borderlands Books has. It may not be the only thing that is needed, but it could be a start. I never attended shows regularly at DNA until finding Odd Salon, and I am glad a venue has taken the risk on such an eclectic offering. I love that community AND all the people you have working there. Thank you for all you've done, and best of luck!

  3. Chris Grassi says:

    Please don't close!! I love your venue, it is a great and representative icon of progressive and alternative culture that makes the city of San Francisco a fun, exciting and interesting place to be! 😎

    • the hatter says:

      There's no point asking Jamie 'please'. He's already putting all he can into it, at a cost to his personal wishes, needs and obligations. You need to ask others, as he is doing here, please don't let it close. Whether that is getting friends to turn up, or finding a way for an organisation with money to support it's activities.

  4. Kody Albert says:

    Nick Albert dude no fucking way

  5. Avani says:

    I'd recommend talking to the owners of Borderland Books about how they started a successful sponsorship program where they collected donations and "repaid" members in a variety of financially un-impactful ways.

    • andrew says:

      YES THIS. Remember the Borderlands hoodies? And, for that matter, the "Save DNA" tees (which I still have and will now wear as often as I can)? This is a very doable option.

      • jwz says:

        All options are on the table, but I just need to point out that we ended up tearing up hundreds of those Save DNA shirts to use as rags, because nobody would buy them even for $5, and they were taking up space. So I don't think "sell t-shirts" is a way to keep the lights on -- or probably even pay for the t-shirt printing.

        • andrew says:

          Yeah, the idea is not to sell a shirt for $25, it's to sell a sponsorship for $200 that has a shirt (or other schwag) thrown in. Just adding more merch to the catalog won't get the necessary $.

        • Donald Burbano says:

          FWIW, I would be happy to give money to some sponsorship fund and not expect any goodies in return. The arts are important, and helping that carry on is enough of a reward. (Ok, maybe front-of-line privileges here and there. :) ) I don't know if there would be enough people who feel this way about it and are capable of giving money simply "just because" and need no thank-you-hoodie in return..but then again maybe there enough people out there that would be so willing. In the mean time, I'll go to more events and do my WAH routines at DNA pizza. Pepperoni + beer seems to help my workday. :)

          • andrew says:

            Yeah, I know where I'm stopping for a beer and slice on the ride home today. Every little bit counts!

          • the hatter says:

            Front-of-line sounds like a winner to me, it's credible, costs almost nothing (a rope, a sliver of door staff time, and a bit of database management) and best of all, everyone standing in the regulars line can see that if they throw $100 or whatever into the pot then they won't be standing in the cold next time.

        • Jay Skyler says:

          A "Save DNA" shirt, hoody, bath towel, etc. is simply a bad idea, I'm not surprised you ended up throwing them out. Night clubs are about being trendy and popular, about being cool by being part of that scene. No one is going to go to buy $8 drinks out of pity. Portraying your club as a dinosaur headed toward extinction only damages the brand and hastens its demise.

          I've moved more DNA fliers than anyone in the history of time, trust me on this one.

        • Nadja says:

          A GoFundMe could work, you don't need to give out backer rewards.
          Along the lines of shirt fundraising, there are companies like Bonfire which don't print shirts unless a quota is met. I'm no longer in the bay area and I'd like to help in some way.

          • Chris V says:

            I know 38,000 different people have been through DNA. SF alone has 750k people. Only 5% of the population need to throw down $10 & there ya go. I don't live in SF but I'd throw down $10 for all the awesomeness I've experienced. Gofundme!

            • Lloyd says:

              Millions of people have been through TSA checkpoints at airports.

              Throw down $10 for all the security you've experienced! Save the TSA!

        • Mr.E says:

          No you shouldn't be trying to sell t-shirts, you should be giving them away... Anyone that catches your attn. Anybody You might want to come back. Again n again.. Then(suggestive) you have special time frames daily, if your wearing that shirt... Discount.... Make different types of shirts for different levels of discounts.. Given away appropriately, your choice. Build that team, V.I.P gets VIP class shirts.. std. Average yahoo, gets std t-shirt.. One or two levels in between. Diversity in style n colors. You name needs to be in the back of the all.. Badge logo in front and side sleeves.. Note back to daily specials, ad certain days for door bonus and super bonus specials.(wear your shirt bring a guest, shirt gets 1st drink on house. Idk what ever makes them want to do it again). + If people want to buy a sponsor shirt or upgrade their sponsorship. No problem. Your not looking for a sponsor, you are the sponsor.. The public is your future team. And your not afraid to sponsor anyone, respectfully. To add to ideas.. prize raffles, nightly. I know for a fact that you'll be able to petition local business, and companies near n far for product or a service that are happy to give away. Anything to get the customer in their door. Related it unrelated to demographic of clients. Everybody has promotional swag yo give away.. Plus you'll be giving away a vip something every raffle. Everybody is v.i.p , just they all don't get the same shirt. For whatever happens, and what you choose, remember.. The world is your team! Give them a good program and make them want to win..
          Best advertisement money I ever spent was putting my name on people's backs. They'll do the rest. It's the cost of doing business.. Much better than cutting it all up n wiping someone's ass or other BS with it. Good luck!

    • Alex says:

      First I moved to Oakland, and started coming to the DNA lounge less simply because I was further away, then I moved out of the Bay Area completely, but I sincerely hope that DNA will still be there when I come back. I would certainly pay a yearly $200-300 membership simply for DNA to not go away while I'm away. But it seems like the DNA's shortfall is much larger than Borderlands' :(

      I wonder if the Codeword venue could be discharged in bankruptcy court. It's only part of the problem, but coming up with 190k/yr is definitely more than 2x easier than coming up with 380k/yr.

      • Amelie says:

        Yeah, same here... used to go to DNA a lot but had to move to east bay, and public transit here just doesn't support night life at all. :'( Hope DNA can stay open! Just having food available late at night saved me more than a few times! <3

        • jwz says:

          Our public transit is awful, but for live shows, we do always try to end them in time to make the last BART train...

          • K says:

            You know there is an all nighter bus that goes from Sf to Oakland and connects to other all nighter bus routes in the east Bay right? It's called the ac transit all nighter. The one from Sf to Oakland is line 800. It passes thru west Oakland and stops at 14th and Broadway where other all nighter bus routes connect. During the week it runs hourly, on weekends half hourly.

            • K says:

              In Sf you can catch this bus at market street and van ness in front of, I think it's a bofa ATM. Kitty corner to the all night donut shop. It costs $4.50 cuz its transbay.

          • Lloyd says:

            ...or, as it is known, the BARF train.

            Fun times.

    • Clarissa says:

      Whoops, should have known someone would have already mentioned this. :)

  6. Rodger says:

    Kickstarter's probably pointless, but have you looked at Patreon? Seems more geared to the problem you're describing.

    • David says:

      +1 to Patreon. It's supposed to be for the arts and you could do something like a free drink or minor discout for ticket prices. Or maybe a stream of sold out shows on the website?

      • Det3 says:

        Another +1 to Patreon. I can't make it to the DNA Lounge (Live in WA), but would love to support the club!

        • MagnusMKI says:

          Additional +1 to Patreon. Even if it was something like a week post show you had an online video for the backers only of, say, an interview and part of the set with the bands permission. I'm on the other side of the US, but I could justify getting myself and pressuring a few others on that bandwagon.

          • Ian says:

            Agreed on Patreon. The key there is to have a consistent online presence to keep your backers engaged. Conveniently, you already have one of those.

            I love DNA, but I am a super busy person and don't manage to get to a show but every month or two. I've followed the blog closely since the beginning, though. I'd happily throw in $10/mo just for that.

          • Mycroft says:

            Another +1 for a Patreon or other sponsor mechanism. I've never lived close enough to be a regular, but I've lurked on #dnalounge, pulled down the ncode/dcode streams, attended codecon, and will always remember Disco D at Sister SF vs. Guys in Drag. You've got a lot of friends in the world.

    • Devin says:

      Patreon is a good idea, but they end up taking a 10% cut of the pledges, or more, once you add their 5% fee + credit card charges.

      • Sherlock says:

        Sure, but those credit card charges are gonna be there no matter what service you use. 5% sounds like a fair deal

        • andrew says:

          DNA has its own credit card processing, so rolling its own Patreon style membership shouldn't be difficult. And DIY is better, right? (Easy for me, the peanut-gallery-dwelling dude on the internet, to say.)

          • jwz says:

            Doing it myself using our existing credit card processing would be my instinct, yes.

            But people argue that using a service like Patreon is better because people who use Patreon are already logged in there and can just add us to their list, rather than having to use a new service. Also there is presumed to be some advertising benefit to being listed on Patreon.

            (This is also the argument for using Ticketmaster instead of selling tickets in-house using your own merchant account, which I've rejected strongly in the past.)

            So, who knows. I suppose we could do both, but that might be confusing.

            • fantasai says:

              Both would be fine, just if you have a list of sponsors or something keep it sync'd so it's just two different payment options (which people are totally used to, see e.g. credit card or paypal which is everywhere) rather than two different things.

            • nightbird says:

              +1 to Patreon, and +1 to F*Ck TicketMaster.

              Ask VB how Patreon is working for her.

  7. Jamie Zawinski Barry Synoground we'd like to try to build an indie 2000s event, we finally have the time, money and right partners. (Something we didn't back in 2011 fringe@dna) interested? Private Message me

  8. Phil says:

    Well I sure as hell don't know where I'd be without the place. This sounds exhausting and scary. I have a few ideas off the top of my head. What should I do with them?

  9. Michael says:

    What about a patronage program? Maybe couple it with a "party once a year" or something like that? It's basically your philanthropy idea just spread out. Have people commit to a year upfront, and see how it goes? Essentially patreon without the patreon part.

  10. Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about the financial troubles. DNA Lounge is the first and one of few places I've seen chiptune shows, and I made it out to almost all of those. I'm not much of a clubber, but the crowd at the shows I've been to at DNA have always felt welcoming. The shows always feel like a bunch of people coming together to enjoy the music they love, which is exactly how it should be.

    • rrix says:

      8bit SF, Cyberdelia and similar events held at DNA got me through some really dark times. Would be a shame to see it gone, the venue is wonderful, and the folks that I meet at DNA are wonderful people.

      I'd kick a monthly or yearly membership without hesitation. I'd get money to you all in a way that keeps the doors open, regardless of if I get a tee shirt or a private party or whatever, DNA is important.

  11. i will share this and pray for a miracle...have had many good times in your club- have watched my son play there...great venue...i, too am saddened by what san francisco is "becoming" i left in 1988 and do not recognize the vibe anymore...

    • Agree, San Francisco has changed so much in the last couple years. Born and raised here And i don't even recognize it anymore

    • Angelica Ochoa Garciacano :(

      • Harrison says:

        I think you have to figure out a way to increase bandwidth for corporate functions. The bandwidth is phenomenal and conferences, holiday parties, etc would see a great use case here.

        Also, how about submitting this to a Stanford MBA group? I'm sure they'd outline some opportunities no one may have thought of.

  12. Danny Kline says:

    I sure hope not! One of my favorite places to see shows! I've lived here since I was 3 years old and it sucks to see good clubs like this close its doors. Means less bands to come to the city.

  13. Alyssa says:

    This was so disheartening to hear - I had no idea DNA was in trouble financially. I have been coming to DNA for 5+ years and discovered the venue while on vacation in SF. Since moving to the city I have frequented DNA for all the amazing shows and bands (especially Mortified which I take everyone that comes to stay with me). The venue truly is open and encompasses everyone - which is the true spirit of DNA. I try to go as much as I can and am always checking the calendar for events but please let me know if there is any other way to support! It would be devastating to see this place close. I will do some brainstorming.

  14. Taylor says:

    Man... Really sad to see you guys in such a tight spot. I've found myself coming to your venue more and more lately as you always have the shows I want to see. The atmosphere, people, everything is so much better than every other venue in SF. People need to bring more friends to the shows, I always get at least 5+ people to tag along!

    See you guys on Jan 08 and i'll be sure to grab some pizza.

  15. Chris Grassi says:

    I attended both the Lidia Lunch and Agent Orange shows in 2015 and 2016 respectively and loved them both as well as your great venue!

  16. TK says:

    I'm bringing my friends here for NYE and for my birthday, a week later! This is one of the only places left in SF I call home. Please say it isn't so! Will buy all the pizza.

  17. Sclatter says:

    Well, I'm broke, geographically distant AND full of existential despair. And the one time I came to DNA I had kind of a bad time and a super awkward run-in with a very drunk dmay. But I like living in a world with places for weirdos and I have fond memories of working with you, Jamie. Recently I found myself behind a bubble gum blue Miata at a traffic light and remembered you pissed off tear-assing out of the Netscape parking lot in yours. I'm glad you opted out of that bullshit business and found a different life, though it has not been easy. I do know something about that.

    I'm not a person who likes fun, as you say, but I still have very much enjoyed following your adventures. If I knew how to help I would.

  18. Remi Barrett says:

    I would gladly join a supporters/members club, though it may be hard for that to cover the amount needed. There could be different tier levels, and personally I would be okay with opting out of some of the perks if it meant helping DNA more. A grant also sounds like a great idea - I hope you are able to find someone who can help with that. DNA is such an important part of SF and I can't bear to imagine it going away. THANK YOU for all you have done and continue to do. I wish I had more immediately useful ideas but I'll keep thinking, and will keep an eye out for ways to contribute/help out with the effort going forward.

  19. CTD says:

    Stupid question about the Codeword space: Why is it hard to find someone to take over the lease? I thought real estate in SF was hard to find and stupidly priced.

    • Jered says:

      You confuse the residential and commercial-zoned markets with the retail market, which is a soul-sucking morass of overpriced, vacant spaces where landlords won't cut a break for someone pursuing their dream in the hopes that Starbucks will move in.

  20. Patreon might help! Hubba Hubba revue uses it!:-) having monthly patreons might help keep the club afloat!

  21. Leka Rosin says:

    Marina vão fechar nossa balada 😱

  22. Charlie says:

    Jamie and Barry, I always knew DNA was a labor of love not money. I'll throw my back up braincell at the problem at hand and spew forth whatever flows out. You guys are great and have done great things. I have complete faith in you guys and your "family" .DNA is the best club in SF and it has to survive. Hang in there guys , you can do it. Best. Charlie.

  23. Chris Palmer says:

    Dang, I remember avidly reading your blog for the construction pics when I first moved out here. It was exciting! And one of my previous bands (Dot Punto.) played the upstairs room a while back — one of my favorite shows to have played, due in significant part to the hospitality of DNA peeps. Thank you all for that. Actually I think that was that band's swan song, which makes it extra nice to have had.


    There's the Borderlands sponsorship option; it worked for them (and I am glad to contribute, and I would for DNA too).

    I think you have friends at EFF?, who might know a grant-writer who could pitch in — that seems like a potentially great solution, with the right writer. It's possibly at least a partial solution even with a 1st-time grant-writer. Worth looking into anyway.

    I assume you've already gamed out the various possibilities for increasing drink prices/premium fancypants drinks, et c.

  24. Jamie B says:

    Dear Sir. I want to thank you for all youve done in the Music community.. The biggest crowd we ever played for was at your club during a Battle of the Bands a few years back...I'll never forget that... I hope things work out for ya.. One Love!

  25. Ryan Zane says:

    Sucks - I went to a few mashup nights and new years parties over the years. Fun place. I even went there again for the Mechwarrior Online launch tournament.

  26. It was only a matter of time before it closed. Ruby Skye and 1015 are the only ones with good DJs.

  27. kai says:

    this is sad. been there only once, i hope to get there again in 2017

  28. acb says:

    I've visited when I was in town, but don't live in the Bay Area. If you had T-shirts or similar, I'd buy one or three.

  29. Molly says:

    I think attendance would go up if you guys booked good headliners instead of all of the shows that you guys have been having recently. I used to attend DNA all of the time for dubstep shows, but now it's all hardcore and psy shows, which brings the crowd I'm not into. I rather pay $20 to see headliners vs pay $5 to see terrible Kandi kid music. Plus when you book all ages shows, you don't make as much money off of drinks. Book more 21+ shows.

    • Bruh says:

      So become like every other club in northern california. If that's the case, I rather see it die. DNA lounge is the one place to hear non-mainstream music. Sidenote: dunstep brings the crowd Im "not into". Wont call it terrible and insult it like you though.

    • Aly says:

      It's kinda hard to book good headliners when you don't have the money to do so. Also DNA charges way more than $5 for those "kandi kid" shows. What good would come of getting rid of one monthly event at this point? The DNA is literally one the only places in the SF Bay Area that hosts above-ground hardcore events, while there are constant dubstep shows all over the bay area. That's not fair to stop having hardcore events just to have another space for dubstep.
      The great thing about DNA is its diversity in the talent it showcases, headliner or not. I think what would be beneficial to the DNA at this point is to continue to do as it's been doing and also throw more 21+ events.

  30. With the more time and availability I have, I plan on coming more often.

  31. noone says:

    I second the 'Member of the DNA Club' idea. Essentially: pre-pay the cover for the year, and you get a shiny VIP card that lets you skip the line.

    Maybe a private 'Club members only' party (with a +1) one night a year.

    Maybe a discount at DNA Pizza

    Maybe a free slice from DNA Pizza 1/month (cost built-in to membership cost, of course)

    Maybe turn the Balcony into a 'Members Only' area for some shows.

    Look at it this way: You need 400k... maybe you can get 400 people to pony up $1k each for a year of no-cover - or whatever the number is that will make most of that 'additional' revenue and not just pre-purchased.

    • andrew says:

      Tiers of membership would work.

      $100: you get jwz's endless* thanks and a bunch of stickers
      $250: above, plus an EXCLUSIVE hoodie (not sold on the merch catalog)
      $1000: above, plus the skip the line card and some free drinks/pizza
      $2000: above, plus 1x bottle service any day you want including NYE or Halloween and some number of days of pre-paid cover

      Don't know if the dollar amounts are right, but you get the idea.

      * expires one year after purchase

      The point is not to sell too many of the $1-2k memberships (though they help too), but to sell a lot of the $100 and $250. I'd buy the $100 right this second and the $250 if it were advertised as part of a fairly transparent members' program (kickstarter or patreon or DIY or whatever).

      • Eric says:

        You realize that bottle service on a big night like NYE or Halloween is already $1000 plus alone, and that there are a limited number of booths, right? There's no way in hell a $2000 annual membership would keep DNA alive while denying them the income from those booths (which always sell out on on the "big" nights).
        Maybe getting 1x bottle service (but not the corner booths upstairs) at a $5000 a year membership, excluding the big nights. It would have to be a limited reward, since there are only so many booths to give away and I'm sure they're not going to want to offer more than 1 or two of them any night (again, they still need the income from them).

        • andrew says:

          I'm sure you're right on the math. Just thinking of ways to offer the right incentives (preferably with inventory that goes unsold, so maybe not the big nights).

  32. RJ Owens says:

    I have met some of the most amazing people that I am honored to call my friends at DNA. Jamie or Barry...if there is anything I can do...let me know. It's the least I can do after the "Angry Hornets Nest" incident of October 2008!

  33. Creech says:

    Pinball machines at pizza. :). Give up one table, make a few hundred on the games and better yet: Get the draw from players spending money on beer and pizza.

    Let's talk.

  34. I miss Trannyshack. I would love to come back to DNA Lounge more frequently if you were able to host more drag shows.

    • Steen says:

      For the record, the main reason we don't host more drag shows is that Heklina got her own venue. So that's really just down to logistics, not a choice on our part.

  35. My job moved me across country, and you all are the #1 reason Brittney and I want to return to the Bay Area.

    We love DNA Lounge, the music, the food, the people; and we desperately want to return as soon as my job will send me back the the Best coast.

  36. Tanya says:

    Being of the cripplingly broke variety:

    Just about every person in my life was met at or through connection to the DNA. When I was out of state, visits home were never complete without visiting the clubhouse, and other venues just made me homesick. D:codes, Spooktaculars, Poproxx, MEATs, Hubbas, so many good times.

    I'm sorry you're going through this, it sounds like hell.

  37. Creech says:

    Pinball machines at pizza. Give up one table, put in two to three machines and make some cash. Also recognize pinball is a draw to businesses. You'd see a bump in pizza/bar revenues from players and you'd have a draw that operates 24/7 with no increase in employee costs. Let's talk.

  38. Anthony Enriquez says:

    I absolutely love the DNA Lounge and have been coming for years. I only come for concerts since I am old (lol) and have to drive from about 200 miles north in California. But it's always worth the trip, and hopefully I'll down for many more concerts.

    I love you, DNA Lounge!

  39. My good friend Brian bright me here years ago and I've been an occasional attendee for a couple of years.

    We built a fundraising platform that could be used for exactly this. Check out Pitchly. If you are interested in doing a fundraiser, let me know and we'll hook something up.

  40. Trevor says:

    I've seen some brutal metal shows here and have even had the honor to run the lights at some. Hooefully things work out

  41. Ka Ma Ja says:

    A membership plan would be cool. Three tiers, I guess. A $30, a $75 and a $100. Probably a $30 and a $100. What exactly that entitles I have no idea. But I'd do $30.

    Getting some sick bands would be awesome! Maybe even tapping into the gaming industry. Your WiFi BTW is awesome.

  42. theindra says:

    Hiya. Ask your CPA to verify before doing this but you might be able to write off more of a loss for Codeword's operation expenses if you donate it as a community space on nights it's dark in conjunction with a non profit umbrella. You could do this even if you got a grant. It would require some scheduling admin and some vetting of the groups who would want to use the space and the non profit umbrella would want an admin fee usually based on the percentage of the total donation or write off. It's a lot of shuffling to save on taxes. You write off the loss already but you may get a bigger write off if it's in a donation category.

    • Katherine says:

      What about passing Codeword to The Save Our Stud Collective? I don't know a lot about them and their full status, but I do know that they are currently a worker-owned co-operative and that they are going to have to move from the legacy location in two years, and last I checked they did not yet have a place to move to. Maybe there's a way you can get a grant or city assistance together? DNA and The Stud have had a lot of overlap in shows such as T-shack over the years.

  43. Good that venue sucked and the staff was shit they tried to give me someone elses credit card and their id to close out my 215$ tab that i accumulated about 10 mins after walking in then the lady and the guy at the door spit on me and sockes me after "confiscating" my wallet cell phone and even my fucking shoes fuck the DNA lounge and fuck the staff serves yall right. Trash.

  44. Has DNA been around long enough to apply for legacy business status?

    • Alycia Moore says:

      No, you have to be in business for 35 years. Very familiar with the process, just got my work legacy business status. Even then, they only pay $500 bi-annually per full time employee. It's not much money.

      • MattyJ says:

        I thought it was 30 years ...? Did they change it? There are also provisions in there for exceptions for businesses that have been around for 20-30 years.

        I'm not sure what the reality is, regarding effort to get on the registry, and as mentioned it's not a huge amount of money for the business owner, but it's something... and might be worth a shot.

      • Twinklecrepe says:

        According to legacybusinesssf.com it's 30 years. And $500 per employee is a start, even if it won't keep them afloat all by itself.

    • For DNA would the clock start in '85 when it opened as DNA or '83 when it opened as Chaps (both less than 35 years I know).

  45. Id love to host a house music monthly

  46. Tila says:

    NOOOOOOOO. Wow. DNA is a magical place. All of the performers here in Chicago wonder why Chicago doesn't have a space like this, at least one that is affordable to rent for shows. This seems like an extra terrible time as this, THIS is the time when we need spaces like this most.

    I truly am sorry to hear about the current situation. Of the times I was able to perform on the stage with the Dolls of Doom for dance events and for Hubba Hubba it was a truly wonderful experience. There is a breadth of experience, talent, creativity, and physical space that doesn't exist many places at the same level. Whatever happens, you have changed this showgirls life but giving space for performance.


    May the Schwartz be with you....

  47. Chris Buda says:

    Hi Barry... it's Chris from Chico (perche no)... I have experience grant writing and if you wanted to pursue them, I can help write them. :)

    • Carl Karsten says:

      Hey Chris from Chico, Chico CA or Chicago?

      If Chicago, PS1 (see url?) has kicked around the idea of grants, and it allways ends with "we should find someone with experience grant writing."

  48. k3ninho says:

    I'm geogrpahically-distant, but I'd throw money at a Patreon pot as if I'd got tickets to come along. I might ask to be able to book in some tickets if I'm ever in town.

    I'd also pay for the live streams if you decided to monetise that. And reselling recordings of live performances might be an avenue -- but needs some good connections in music licensing. That sounds like becoming a record label, like you said about vertical integration and music journalism: you have the bands there already.


    • jwz says:

      I'd also pay for the live streams if you decided to monetise that.


      This is a serious question, because I've heard people say this before, and I'm not sure I believe them. I mean, have you actually watched the video webcast recently? I find the video quality pretty intolerable, even if you ignore the drop-outs and lack of AV synchronization. It's hard for me to believe that people would pay for the video streams as they are now.

      We do get quite a few people watching it, but my assumption has been that they're not actually watching it: they clicked play on the video, but they're not really looking at it, they're just listening. And if what we offered was only the audio streams with no video, maybe nobody would notice or care.

      It's easy for me to believe that someone would pay for video streams that were much better than what we have now: better video quality, properly mixed audio, hand-held multi-camera shoot. But now we're talking about a serious investment of money in terms of infrastructure and realtime human operators.

      (And that's even before we get to the licensing and contractual nightmare that selling such a thing would entail, which is a whole other can of worms.)

      • k3ninho says:

        There are parties which I'd want to see, so sometimes I'd want good video for the days of exceptional visual magic. Mostly, I agree with you about streaming the music and the contractual nightmares of rent-seeking music agencies.


  49. Trevor says:

    DNA Lounge is easily my favorite one of, if not my #1, favorite venue(s) in San Francisco. It's absolutely fucking awesome, and I am saddened to see this, but I'm glad there's an opportunity for people to help.

    All of my best memories at DNA Lounge come from seeing one of the Bay Area's finest acts, In Letter Form, perform here on a number of different occasions. I love the band, I love the venue, and I have wonderfully fond, sparkling memories of the nights I spent at DNA Lounge seeing ILF, and the time I spent with them there. (I am friends with the band.)

  50. 80's dance party... That one went to. They were longtime hosts to great bands over the years and have moved them to the 2nd room (an attic for Christ's sake) while the main floor was empty for a lame 80's dance party night..

  51. A fan. says:

    Borderlands (the bookstore in the Mission) was in a similar situation a few years ago, and started a sponsorship program, and it's kept them afloat on the strength of their community. I'm proud to support them, and I'd be proud to support you in a similar way.


  52. Brant says:

    This shall not come to pass. DNA is in the DNA of SF.

    Seriously you need to talk to Alan and Jude at Borderlands. The sponsor program has really worked out great and they focused the rewards on things that don't cost much additional money. It also resulted in a revival of interest in general and allowed longer term planning.

    I haven't been to a show in the main space in years but I'd pay a couple hundred a year to support your crazy fever dream of art, music and alt community.

    Add me to the call for sponsors. You have my email.

  53. This is a bummer

  54. Razi says:

    I went to see Cattle Decapitation and took my mom with me so she can see how death metal shows. she ended up loving the mosh pits and watching from the balcony at everyone have fun. it was great to bond over music she doesent listen to and enjoy the energy it gave out. ill head out when there is another metal show

  55. Sarah Delush says:

    Damn. Sorry to hear this. Also just realized I've been djing there- FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS. Fuck I feel old. The other thing I'll say, is that I've hosted multiple events there over the course of the years beginning from Sister SF, and as far as club owners go, you were always straight with us, paid us well, and treated us all really well. While I don't have a solution, I just want to say thank you for all you've done for the dance community over the years. You absolutely deserve to make a living with this place and not lose your ass. Good luck! I look forward to reading about a solution.

  56. Jordan Davis says:

    I don't live in California anymore but I would happily donate to help this place out. I adore it and would be crushed if it had to close down. Please keep us updated if you decide to start some sort of GoFundMe type thing!

  57. Court Arning says:

    I used to go at least 2X a month before SF turned into a huge shit ball of an extension of Si Valley. I tried to go a few times after I moved and between my car getting broken into and the staff actually harassing me (I guess since I was not really a regular any more). Sorry to see it go but many patrons are being pushed out of the city anyway. :(

  58. Come to East Bay? :D

  59. Jenn Guerra says:

    Talk to the folks at First Ave in Minneapolis. That place is thriving and they do yearly membership and sponsorships. Great shows there all the time. Love DNA you guys were my home away from home when I lived in Sf. Talk to First Ave they are pretty friendly folks.


  60. Philip L Gangi says:

    I made some really cool friends when you were having Sequence SF on Tuesday nights and also at So Stoked. Will miss seeing everyone plus the punk shows upstairs.

  61. Jenn Guerra says:

    Talk to the folks at First Ave in Minneapolis. That place is thriving and they do yearly membership and sponsorships. Great shows there all the time. Love DNA you guys were my home away from home when I lived in Sf. Talk to First Ave they are pretty friendly folks.


    • Karl Shea says:

      I'll second this. If you've never been there it's a similar-sized club(s) to yours. I'm pretty sure they do more touring acts, but they also do a lot of dance party nights and local running shows sort of like (but not as good as) Bootie.

      Also, memberships with perks: http://membership.first-avenue.com/

  62. John says:

    I have no advice, only sympathy. I've been watching you fight the good fight since this blog started, and I went to DNA often when I lived out there.

    Here in Chicago, we lost Neo a year and a half ago, and there's been no real replacement since. I came of age clubbing in the 90's. But all of the clubs are shutting down.

  63. Jayrtfm says:

    People are opening VR arcades/experiences. Perhaps your spaces can be used for that during times it's not used for music. Not saying you run the VR, find companies planning on doing it anyway.

    • jwz says:

      If you know of people who are looking for spaces and might be interested in working with us, please send them our way. I've never even heard of this, so I don't have any contacts.

  64. Ari says:

    Please add me to the list of folks that will gladly cough up money for Patreon, yearly sponsorship, what have you. DNA is part of what makes SF so special, and whatever I can do to help it stay afloat, please let me know.

  65. Ya, Keep them open so they can continue to rape small local band. They make bands pay for a fully stocked bar and Bartenders that they don't even need.

  66. I've been coming to DNA since almost the beginning. My favorite memories of SF are 90% there. I was working at a club in NY in 2004 and a guy came in wearing a DNA shirt and I started crying because I was so homesick. He literally gave me the shirt and it was my mission to make it home. I can proudly say my band Vore Aurora played there a week ago. If we can give back by donating or playing for free, we will. I know touring bands are struggling to pay their own bills but the locals need to pull together and support this venue or we will all be responsible for its demise. Thank you for these honest words that were so hard to say.

  67. Nugget says:

    With a bunch of underground venues closing I think you will get more business. If youre having to turn down bookings because of not enough days available, increase the cost of renting the space. Not ideal, but better than not having a dna lounge.

    • K says:

      I was thinking that might end up happening too. Lack of underground spaces could bring a demand. Be the alternative that feels underground n be good. Not like take advantage of a result of a tragedy but more like a help eachother out kinda thing. If that makes sense..

  68. Babs says:

    Sorry to read this. I was a regular at DNA back in the 80s and 90s. Would be very sad to hear of its closure.

  69. Aneel says:

    I was a regular at the DNA Lounge for years. I loved D-Code and N-Code and didn't understand why everyone didn't, but there's no accounting for taste. Now that I've left SF, the kinds of shows that I wish would play Austin are the ones that my friends talk about catching at the DNA. I'm going to miss enjoying them vicariously from afar.

  70. Nikki Arias says:

    It wouldn't be that hard to tweak things to offer more by way of corporate parties (as in creating a BOOK THE DNA tab on your website, have an form folks can fill out). As an Office Manager, I throw office parties often. For $8-12K, I would expect full use of the venue, open bar, A/V equipment, full staff (security, bartenders, coatcheck, DJ...), get partnerships with some good local caterers, and you could bump that up to $15-20K for ONE NIGHT. I'm throwing a party at Harlot for that much next month. Would love to have the DNA Lounge as an option to throw a killer party for my company. If you allowed access to the DNA for private corporate parties, once every two weeks, (say on a Thursday), the average being $15K, you'd make $360K a year.

    • Katherine says:

      I think this is really important. Could we maybe hold an open meeting for people who are fans of DNA who are in the position of booking office parties who could tell Jamie what they need to make the space viable for that? Do you have friends who do the same job you do?

      • Nikki Arias says:

        I do have resources that put me in contact with hundreds of Office Managers! I'm happy to help out in this manner of Jamie is interested.

    • kw says:

      I am a marketing director for a restaurant group. About 25% of all of our sales come from catering and special events. Cross market with catering companies and event planners and have them put you on their preferred venue lists. Use them to serve the food when people come to you. Just waiting for the general public to roll in the doors and pay the bills is not going to work. Seek out high tech. Have them hold their team builds and parties at your venues. They often have an exorbitant amount of money to spend on these events. And...of course, make sure you're operating within your margins. Pay attention to labor costs and excess inventory. You can email me if you have further questions. I've been doing this a long time and all of our restaurants are insanely successful.

    • ctp says:

      partner with a local small event planner who wil manage these events, e.g. act as you in-house events manager as a rev share deal.. they get x% of the fee in exchange for their work so you don't have to have a FT employee on staff.

      plus rental fee s an be increased based on what tech components the client uses. also you can upcharge any "talent" you connect the corporate client with so it's a win win for venue and artist. i think most venues survive in this town due to corporate event dollars...

      • jwz says:

        "Partner with a local event planner who will manage these events" is the kind of thing that literally everyone says because it is literally the first thing anyone ever thinks of.

        For DJ dance parties, this is basically our entire business model and has been since day one. So this model is not news to us. For DJ events, we do it all the time. Because we know a ton of people who do that and are good at it.

        If you actually know an event planner who does corporate stuff, please send them our way. Because every time we've talked to one, it has gone absolutely nowhere. We give them a tour, they say "this sounds great", and then we never hear from them again.

      • Carl Karsten says:

        > partner with a local small event planner who will manage these events

        +1 - They are good at it and they have connections, marketing, etc.

        And then have them talk to me and Troy about doing NodeDNA conference during the day. http://nodepdx.org - that is a club in Portland. Troy will find presenters, your meeting planner will handle ticket sales, travel and hotel bookings. I'll make video's of the talks (and maybe feed your streams, and run my own.) You make sure you make money.

        * during the day means we don't eat into your evening revenue.
        ** tech conference attendees eat pizza and drink.
        And then we do this every month.

    • jwz says:

      Well, that is exactly what the FACILITIES link on the front page (and the Codeword version) is for. (We argued over whether to call it BOOKING instead.)

      The reason we decided not to list flat rates is that our rates vary widely depending on so many things. Depending on what you're doing and what you need, it might be $400 or it might be $20,000. So we didn't want to just put a random-assed number there that would scare people away.

      It is entirely possible that those pages might not be saying the right words in the right ways to attract events-that-aren't-DJ-dance-parties. But we wrote those as well as we know how to, so if there's something wrong with them, I need someone to tell me what that is. Specifically, and non-vaguely. But as I don't really know anyone on the other side of the "corporate party booking" game, I don't know who to ask.

      As far as I can tell, Harlot's site doesn't list prices either...

      • Nikki Arias says:

        Please email me, and I'm happy to help out with a sample rate sheet. No one lists blanket rates, because it all depends on the headcount, and what services they want. You pancake the rates, stack them up. For example:
        Venue/Facilities rental (includes security, bar, coat check staff):
        Sun-Tue: $4K, Wed-Thu: $5K, Fri-Sat: $6k (add $2k for second story use)
        Catering: 6 items per person: $45, 8 items pp: $55
        Bar: Standard $50 per person, Mid $55 pp, Top Shelf $60 pp
        DJ: $500 flat
        A/V: $1-3K
        Tables/Chair, per use

        So, the bigger the party, the more it's going to cost. Closer to the weekend? The more it's going to cost. Including the upstairs? More money.

        I've been throwing office parties for years. Happy to help: incurablenikki@yahoo.com

  71. Emily k says:

    This was my mom's hangout in the late 80's and early 90's and then it became my favorite venue. Funny how things workout like that. She's only 44 now, and me 24, but for her 50th birthday she wanted to party at the DNA Lounge. I really want to make that wish for her to come true.

  72. Simone Cohen says:

    This is the best venue to see metal bands at, imo. Perfect sound and a great space! It's disappointing to see the lack of metal shows lately. I'm always hopeful when I open your emails. We need something like FTB again.

  73. Marisa says:

    Capitalize on the geeky vibe, and go for a coworking space during the day? I dislike the "office lite" feel of the workspace options and I know I could get my hack on at DNA because I've done so during BSides before.
    I'll buy a membership. DNA Lounge Forever!!

    • andrew says:

      You're onto something here, I think. Why not offer access to Above during business hours as a membership perk? The marginal cost would be VERY low because the cafe is right downstairs. (Might have to cover one security shift per co-working shift, so not zero.)

    • jwz says:

      Renting DNA or CW as a coworking space might be a fine idea, but here's the frustrating part about suggestions like that (and I get them in this form a lot) -- "you should find someone who wants to rent the place" usually doesn't help. What would help is "I know someone who wants to cowork the blah blah from 8am to 6pm every weekday, I gave them your email."

      Most often the conversation goes, "you should X!" "Great! Do you know how to X?" "No! But I'm sure it's easy!"

      • jer says:

        Basically, calculating in all the hours that some random 2D space is not put to any use is of some value. You open at time X or make it available for setup from X-4h and you close at Y, and from Y until the next X or X-4, you could be doing other things than "resting on you laurels". But it would require more of the bright sharp type of micromanagement to optimise the "off" hours and might put strains on the entire business for the next year or so before it's profitable and running smoothly. So it's one of _those_ ideas.

      • fantasai says:

        Starting up a coworking space is a lot more involved than finding a person who wants space from 8am to 6pm everyday. You need to create a fully-functional office space, you need to create a community, you need to create an environment where it's okay to leave your equipment out while you go to the bathroom or run out to get lunch, and you need to give people a reason to cowork from your place rather than somewhere else. I suspect DNA isn't a good fit for it, particularly since the furnishing requirements are quite different, and coworkers often want the potential of after-hours access--the daytime event market seems like a better thing for DNA to pursue.

        That said, if you want to look into it, I suggest contacting Rebecca Brian Pan at CoVo. She co-founded NextSpace, now started up CoVo this year, and knows a lot about the business and how to do it well. Also, she's a five minute walk from DNA (and is generally awesome).

  74. I did not know how precarious your situation has become until I read this. Reading this open plea for help brought tears to my eyes, and I'm usually pretty grimdark. I suppose I should have been able to guess that DNA has always been in trouble and it would be extra super bad right now. Admittedly, I can't honestly say I'm surprised– I too haven't wanted to admit how bad things could be.

    I have no suggestions or ideas. I'm terrible at that. I have many fond memories— too many to mention— of events at DNA over the many years I have attended, though not very frequently because I don't go to clubs much anymore— my lifestyle changed.

    I can only promise to do my part the help stave off the final reckoning as long as possible by coming to more events in 2017.

  75. Eu Shie says:

    NERDS ARE RUINING EVERYTHING. life was way better before them. Dna was one of my favorite places to go every saturday during the early 90 s. Awesome place. I hope they don t close!!!

    • DC says:

      Yeah! Blame it on the outgroup!

      A lot of Bootie regulars I know are nerds. Not to mention JWZ himself.

      The magic of DNA is that it is welcoming to everyone.

  76. RaferRawb says:

    Im gonna get in trouble for this, but have some of your regular event promoters do some fundraisers... I cant do much, but I would definitely donate some DJ sets to DNA <3

  77. Kosher Bacon says:

    I'm a huge fan of DNA, one of the only dance venues in the Bay Area I'd recommend to anyone of any taste, and I'm sorry to hear that you're in such tight straits.

    I also got teabagged because I followed the link to this post from Hacker News.

    I get it, Hacker News is filled with a bunch of Ayn-Rand-reading douchebros who think that culture is buying a spot at a turnkey camp at Burning Man and going to readings at the Battery. But there are plenty of locals who read it for the interesting tech news and are exactly the people you're trying to reach. From your origin story at the top of this post, you of all people should know that making money in tech doesn't immediately disqualify you from having taste, a sense of community, and a love of art.

  78. I'm a huge fan of DNA Pizza even if they consistently forget to make my pizza when I order it for takeout or end up waiting an hour for a large pizza when I show up in person. Despite these shortfalls, I want to support and will make sure to stuff my face with your pizza as often as I can because I would hate to see you guys go :(

  79. How does a venue, that charges 7-8 bucks for a PBR in a solo cup, not have money to pay its bills?

  80. Tim Trzepacz says:

    Make a new company. Sell DNA lounge and any assets to it for little money. Leave Codeword and any debts in the old company. Old company files for bankruptcy. You can either use that for leverage on the landlord or let it go. You've now halved your outflow.

    Obviously, clear all that with your lawyers and accountants.

  81. Jeremy says:

    I mostly remember a series of conversations, mostly at night and after a few drinks, that started with you saying something along the lines of "I'm thinking I should get a nightclub." I hope you still think it was a worthwhile thing to have done, and be doing. It's clearly had a big positive impact on lots of people and something to be very proud of.

  82. J. Peterson says:

    I've never been to the DNA. But I've followed the story here since it started, and found it plenty entertaining.

    So I just bought some merch. If you set up a "Donate" button or post a PayPal address, I'll chip in some more.


  83. Ben orum says:

    Let us know how weneedmerch.com can help! If you go the crowd funding route, we could help do a bunch of DNA clothing options at a very friendly price.


  84. Not that it'd make much of a dent, but I'd be more than willing to throw down some Zërowolf sets, and donate the proceeds. Y'all took a chance on me, and Turbo Drive helped to put me on the radar. I owe that to DNA at the least.

  85. Liz says:

    I'm really sorry to hear this. I have attended events at the DNA for over 10 years and know many of the staff. I have had amazing times there. Admittedly, I assumed this was a very lucrative business and regret not knowing it was a labor of love. THANK YOU for that! Really, truly. The bay needs more spaces where people can feel free and safe to let their freak flags fly.

    I have not been to Codeword, so admittedly, I do not know it's layout. A couple of ideas come to mind immediately. Perhaps there is a way to harness the economic serpent which is strangling the bay and use it, like Robinhood, to fund the good. Start-ups need spaces for tinkering and getting off the ground. Maybe you can market it as a "creative space" with Bay Area rents per-foot for tech start-ups. That way, the space can be funky and unpolished, yet cover it's own costs. Renters can be encouraged to furnish their own spaces.

    The next thought I have (not having been there, again, just guessing) is that perhaps the space could be used for sex parties? Or quartened off and rented out to doms for private dungeons which they furnish?

    Corporate fund raisers? Team building events?

    Just brainstorming. I really, truly wish you the best of luck and wish there was more I could do. I'll spread the word.

  86. Nicky Starr says:

    Your promotion suks when Adore Delano played there 3x there was no promation in the gay community or on social media she should have sold out but didnt cause if lack of promtion u didnt even put it in the ad of the weekly newspaper

  87. Forrest says:

    Have you considered opening the venue to non dance music acts (local bands etc.)

  88. Philip L Gangi says:

    Also I remember picking up customers in my taxi years ago when DNA was a gay biker bar, lol.

  89. Kat Powell says:

    I'm going to try to keep this short, in the hope that it will get read and will lead to something positive down the road.

    DNA Lounge is, hands down, my favorite venue in the city. I love everything about it, and I am willing to do whatever I can to keep it alive.

    The only problem I have with doing that is that I suffer from massive social anxiety, and it takes a lot of emotional effort for me to make it to DNA. I don't often have the energy for it, but I want to know that the club will be there when I'm ready to visit.

    So here's what I propose: Set up a crowdfunding campaign, and make one or more of the reward levels a set of free event passes and/or drink tokens... But charge double (or even triple or quadruple) the normal cost for these items, so you can be sure to make a profit.

    I can't help DNA by going to Death Guild tonight, but I would be happy to throw down $100 for a handful of Death Guild tickets and drink tokens. Whatever it takes. Just please let me help.

    • Kat Powell says:

      edit I would also like to add my name to the list of people who would gladly support a membership or Patreon campaign. Whatever gets the job done.

  90. a says:

    I had the good fortune to be introduced to Information Society and a few other great acts at DNA lounge. DNA lounge's brand of weird is something that San Francisco can't allow to disappear quietly into the night. I'll commit to more frequent attendance and I'll bring along whoever I can convince to come.

  91. First The Boardwalk in Sac, then Red House in Walnut Creek, and now, if things continue, the beloved counter culture hub of San Francisco. I've spent so many nights as it transitioned into early mornings here. The raves, the death metal shows, the synthwave "goth night" events, the live theater and robotic bartender showcase. This venue catered to the niche subcultures of so many walks of life. This venue gave an outlet for the underground, in all of its multitudes of branches genres and cultures... much of which has been displaced by the tech boom in this city. This was the last stronghold of the indie scene. I've been a promoter for the edm scene as well as play bass in a death metal band, and this is one of the few places that catered to both worlds under the same roof. Since coming to the city and discovering this place, this alone has represented a deeper purpose and setting that these other trendy clubs just can't comprehend. I wanted to see the Thrill Kill Cult for 20 something years after discovering them from The Crow soundtrack in 1994. They actually played this place and I couldn't believe it. This will always be a venue who has my heart, and if it should disappear, it would take with it a large part of why I love this city. I want to do what I can to keep this place alive.

  92. Ana Fraus says:

    I take about 4.5 hour drive just for shows at this place.I love the atmosphere and most of all the pizza which is 24/7

  93. Joe Loughry says:

    I'll help. Put me down for the $100/yr club membership tier right now.

  94. Monique woodhams says:

    Perhaps you could rent it out as.band rehearsal space during the day? Monique woodhams

  95. mlis says:

    A yearly fundraiser / silent auction might help. Attendees/past performers could be solicited for donation items. I have friends that have run such things in the past and could provide a scope of effort if needed.

  96. mark says:

    Maybe i'm missing something here, but given the massive popularity of weekly events like bootieSF, why not raise admission by $5 or so, and add on maybe an extra $1 or $2 to the drinks (which are underpriced relative to other SF nightclubs)

  97. Snaps says:

    Long live DNA!

  98. Ashley says:

    I think having a Patreon page for the Lounge could help a lot. There's a huge community behind this club and I'm willing to spend $5/month to save it. I know there are people out there willing to spend more per month. The payoff would be perks: like maybe raffles, drink tickets, t shirts...it might be a good solution? Hopefully something is figured out, we'd been losing a rare gem.

  99. Deborah Claire says:

    I am very sad to hear this. I love Death Guild; one of the best clubs in the world; largely as DNA is such a cool venue. Also love DNA Pizza! I only attend a couple of times a year due to living 6000 miles away; but I would gladly help out if you did crowdfunding or something. It would be worth to me to contribute $100 just to keep it going a bit longer.

  100. I wish I was in a financial position to help but the most I can do is come to DG every week and buy a slice or two and some garlic knots. It is my favorite club in SF and after going to my first DG on the day I turned 18, I was looking forward to spending my 21st there as well for Bootie. I saw some of my favorite concerts there -- Aesthetic Perfection, William Control, and Covenant (which is still one of the best shows I have ever experienced) -- and have made dozens of new friends over the past few years. And hey, everyone needs a fun, safe space to go to at 4 am when nothing else is open. I hope you find the support you need to keep this space open because where else can you find a great club with industrial music on a Monday night?

  101. Monique woodhams says:

    Perhaps you could rent it out during the day as a rehearsal space might partner with lennon studios or something

  102. Jan Wyss says:

    Have you guys thought of setting up a Patreon? it's basically a website that enables a support network of people that can give a little money each month, from little to a lot. A lot people use it successfully, and i believe this is something that would work well in our community. I would be more than happy to give a little each month, and i think a lot of people would be too.

  103. Dan Gailey says:

    It might help people if they additionally knew the actual scope of the problem. To provide a good strategy, requires understanding the parameters of the problem, so we can fit appropriate fixes. I've never run a night club, so my questions might seem naive:

    1. How much does DNA cost to run per hour?

    2. At normal operating frequency/capacity, how much would you expect the community need to cover to keep it running as-is?

    3. Given the annual rate of audience lost, what do you project the loss in revenue for 2017 to be? (assuming no recovery in audience) (worst case)

    4. What is the timeline until the "money runs out?" (gauging urgency)

  104. Monica says:

    Will be there throughout the holidays. I can write grants too..: hit me up mclemoremr@gmail.com - anywhere to donate now?

  105. Terrible news. Geographical considerations make direct support difficult for me. But I share your view on the wretched effect tech industry money is having on San Francisco, a city I love very much but seems to get worse every time I visit, and I hope DNA doesn’t go the way of Yoshi’s and the Lusty Lady.

    I have only been to DNA Pizza once but I remember it as one of the stops we made on an especially good night during my first visit to SF, during which I came to love the city.

    I hope you can find a way to stay afloat.

  106. Craig Knights says:

    I wonder why, me a guy living a very long way away in New Zealand, has been reading your blog since the year 2000? I have never been to San Francisco.. I like music and computers and drinking, so for some reason I check at least once a week to see what there is to read... still not sure why, but I still do... I also like to read about construction disasters and weird shit customers do.. I think I found a link to your blog on a classmate's blog... and just kept on clicking...

  107. CJ Scaduto says:

    I'm CJ with ShowDown which hosts Game Nights at the Folsom Street Foundry every Tuesday and Thursday. Please have someone reach out to me as we could surely host some fun stuff there too!



  108. As someone who has toured this country playing music, I've seen my fair share of clubs that all run things a little bit different. There are a few clubs out there that do this brilliant idea of double booking the venue, therefore getting double the revenue with two full shows a night. What I mean by that is this: They have all ages rock shows that start at 5pm and end at 9:00pm, then they shuffle everyone out, reset the venue, and turn it into a dance club that "opens" at 10pm. Two totally different crowds attend, and the band's set times are shorter than normal to accommodate for the time crunch. This strategy effectively let the club double dip on their events for the night.

    The only thing about this idea is that for it to work for DNA you would have to make the "club" side of it feel like a club, which would mean a remodel of some sort with table service, etc. That scene kind of demands nice amenities.

    Basically, imagine if Ruby Skye had bands from 5-9pm and did their normal club gig thing after 10pm and that's the idea. It was brilliant when I saw it unfold in front of me and I am surprised that this type of thing does not exist in SF or LA.

  109. I was just there for the first time not to long ago and I was in love. The pizza was amazing and your employees made me feel so comfortable. One of the chefs was singing and flipping pizza like craZy 😜 it was absolutely amazing. My friends and I will def be there again to share our support. I'm from the Central Valley, but your business is worth the drive!

  110. Kent Williams wow I can't believe it's still open...."your son is dead". Don't tell me Winky and Estaphonia still have it

  111. As someone who has toured this country in a band, I've seen my fair share of clubs that all run things a little bit different. There are a few clubs out there that do this brilliant idea of double booking the venue, therefore getting double the revenue with two full shows a night. What I mean by that is this: They have all ages rock shows that start at 5pm and end at 9:00pm, then they shuffle everyone out, reset the venue, and turn it into a dance club that "opens" at 10pm. Two totally different crowds attend, and the band's set times are shorter than normal to accommodate for the time crunch. This strategy effectively let the club double dip on their events for the night.

    The only thing about this idea is that for it to work for DNA you would have to make the "club" side of it feel like a club, which would mean a remodel of some sort with table service, etc. That scene kind of demands nice amenities.

    Basically, imagine if Ruby Skye had bands from 5-9pm and did their normal club gig thing after 10pm and that's the idea. It was brilliant when I saw it unfold in front of me and I am surprised that this type of thing does not exist in SF or LA.

    You could also do a rock show first then a hip hop show second, that would require no remodel and is doable now, but I'm not sure the bar money is as good as a straight up club (I could be wrong).

  112. Some of my most formative date nights turned debacherous happened at DNA. When I think about the happy memories with my ex, DNA is a huge part of many. Thinking about DNA not being around makes my eyes watery. I hope things turn out well. I'm no longer in the Bay but will be rooting for you from Portland.

  113. XaosPrincess says:

    Being from Munich I could only visit DNA Lounge a couple of times when my stop-over time in San Francisco allowed me to, but to me it's really the very best club I've seen in the States so far, I really love it!!
    And I truly hope and keep my fingers crossed
    that you find a way to keep going!

  114. Perry says:

    Myself and 5 others came down to DNA lounge for Halloween. A friend of ours won a spot in the Trannyshack lineup for that evening. The space is fantastic, much cooler than anything in Seattle. The Burning Man community is strong up here and much stronger in San Francisco. Have you considered alinging yourself (if you haven't already) with events that community puts on? Large theme camps need $ to run on. We do it here by hosting a large themed event that gets $ for our theme camp and $ for the venue. Its really a win win. A equitable solution is worked out with tickets and alcohol that benefits both. Usually the theme camp is 100% responsible for promotion, the venue just hosts.

  115. Hi there, I am a sponsor at Borderlands Books and they have done a great job of putting on events and keeping everyone in the loop as to what is going on there - even when we can't be physically present. They have a regular newsletter and calendar.

    And that's a huge part of it - being able to get support both from people physically there and people who can't get there or are remote - that's what the sponsorship/membership or Patreon model can do for you. Meets up with people where they are.

    Also, in terms of the music, adding live streams of performances as well as videos for later, associated with a donate/support button could make some of the music bring in money/attention for you during and after the live version has ended. So the same concert could end up being "sold" more than once. This would require an agreement with the artists but could be really great for extending your reach and theirs. You might even build up a remote "audience."

    I think there's a ton of passion to support you, and putting in the right "plumbing" might mean opening up the venue to people who are farther away. And getting them to pay in.

    Happy to talk more about this.

    (PS My son is the bass player for Fat Lizzy who played there Sunday night the 18th and they're very grateful to have been able to come there and play.)

  116. Sarah says:

    I have great memories of DNA Lounge over the last ten years. My best memories are seeing Abney Park (the steampunk band) every time they came through SF.

  117. jamfish728 says:

    Definitely down for the sponsorships/investing/Patreon.

    • jamfish728 says:

      Thank you for posting this. DNA is pretty central to my time here in the bay (and to many of my other friends). My first job post-Google (which was pretty rough), you were involved a lot in my graveyard shifts at work by being the only Pizza Place in SOMA/FiDi open after 2am(ordered from you a lot), and having shows that I could go to and then sneak off to that shift. And now even more recently, where I'm actually a part of the performer community here as a Drag King, and am friends with the Hubba performers and go to those shows when I can.

      Hell, you've also held BSides too(and other events for those in tech)!!

      So, in short, let me know how I can help. With so much art going away from the city and the Bay Area in general, I'm happy to help in any way I can to keep it here.

  118. That $1k membership sounds like a great idea.

    I move to SF in January. Knowing a place like DNA existed helped seal the deal... I hope it's still there when I arrive!

  119. Ari M says:

    I've been more parenting than in the scene for half a decade now, but I have such love for the DNA, and I'm so sorry to hear this news. I don't have much, but I'd kip in what I can to a patronage program or save up for a membership, absolutely. There aren't many places where I have felt so safe and such belonging. Thank you for that.

  120. There is a good solution to this. Just try to collaborate with local musicians and organize more gigs for your local bands. There are a lot of bands that would come out and play if given a chance.

    • jwz says:

      You know this is our entire business model, right? We have two full time employees who spend all day doing this.

  121. Been going up to the city to DNA on and off for ten years. I took my cousin when he came to visit from Mexico. It's terrible to see small, important venues close. I will be there soon.

  122. Steve Miller says:

    I'm from NJ, on my honeymoon my wife, and I cancelled our dinner reservations to try and get tickets to see Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies. My wife knows nothing of punk rock or Me First but I told her it would be worth it. We stood on line for two hours, as all the punks looked at my wife and her Chanel bag like she was an alien. Finally, as the line drew closer, the doorman asked if I was the guy who called on my honeymoon. He told us there was an opening act, to go to a French steakhouse around the corner and when we were done with dinner to come back. The restaurant was amazing, and when we got to DNA after, several people we recognized from our wait on line we're still there waiting. The doorman asked how our dinner was, told us they had a table ready and refused to let us pay a cover. DNA cleared out the center of the balcony and had a table for my wife and I ready as Me First went on... it was amazing and she loved them. I tipped the bartender $200 for DNA's hospitality and it was one of the highlights of my honeymoon. I hope they don't close

  123. Suzy Ply says:

    Codeword space, lease to a weed business.

  124. Rachel says:

    Here's an idea, what about reaching out to a local business school to help develop a business plan to profitability? For an MBA candidate this could be a most amazing case to work on. There's a ton of talent in the Bay Area. It's time that our elite start getting involved to save the cultural gems that are part of what make this overly expensive city worth living in.

    This is actually a great time of year to reach out since it's between semesters.

    • Ronald Edwards says:

      While I agree that this is a good direction to be thinking, a rookie (or not yet) MBA is a potentially dangerous path forward, because they will not be as savvy as someone who does this for a living. You want someone who knows what they're doing (because they've done it), not someone who thinks they know what they're doing and potentially missing a very important part of the process. Also, that rookie will not have years of successful business relationships with investors, and probably not have a good relationship with bankers.

      I want to see DNA stay in business, and I agree that changes must be made regarding how things are done. I'm not saying I WILL rescue the DNA (nothing in business is guaranteed), but I can introduce management to people I know whom HAVE rescued businesses like this. I'm open for a conversation if anyone in management wants to talk.

    • Kate says:

      This is an EXCELLENT idea. It won't solve it on its own, but it would be the right way to get good dedicated expertise that you don't have to pay for. Starting up the patron program? This person will research what types of tiers/incentives have been found to be most successful in similar cases. Thinking about renting out as work or corporate party space? This person can develop a plan for who and how. Etc.

      1) E-mail the Director of Haas at Berkeley and say you'd love to be an MBA business case study next semester. Julia Hwang, julia_hwang at haas.berkeley.edu.

      2) Call and e-mail the professors of Business Finance at Stanford to talk to them directly. They might like to be the one to get to offer the DNA case to their MBA students -- it would be a top pick. They are:

      - Assoc Prof Shai Bernstein: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/faculty/shai-benjamin-bernstein

      - Prof Jonathan Berk: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/faculty/jonathan-b-berk

      - Prof Anat Admati: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/faculty/anat-r-admati

      #3) Ditto on calling/emailing business finance professors for Santa Clara University. Here's the list of them, their contact info is on each person's page: https://www.scu.edu/business/about/faculty-directory/finance-faculty/

      That's about 3000 students between those three programs, with one of the most awesome cases one could hope for. Call folks now to see if it's possible to get in on next semester.


  125. Deena Gwin says:

    DNA was a third of my trifecta of my places, along with Hamburger Mary's and The Stud, since it opened. Whatever Barry and I can do Jamie. Would DEFINITELY become an annual sponsor or something like that, with no expectations in return. Well, except maybe you stay open.

  126. Jessica Govoni says:

    So, I will share that DNA lounge allowed me to hear my most favorite metal song played in person and I almost went mad with joy. It was off a demo album from when the band was young and I never ever expected to hear it played live.
    Thank you Barry! ❤

  127. Jacob says:

    Do you have any stickers or shirts for sale?

  128. Tom Weinstein says:

    Would it be any easier to raise money from philanthropists if you were a 501(c)(3)? If you've never really made any money anyway, why not go all in and admit it's a charity/artistic foundation?

    • jwz says:

      A few times over the years, I've asked my lawyers whether being a nonprofit made sense and their answer was always, "OMG no, that's a gigantic pain in the ass, and since you don't make any money, it won't save you any money anyway."

      But, I dunno?

      • andrew says:

        People would be more likely to donate if it's a 501(c)3, since they can write some portion off on their taxes. "DNA Foundation" or some such. That's kind of what Burning Man did, first creating a foundation (BRAF) and then transitioning the whole thing to a nonprofit.

        Bad news is you'd need a board, IRS reporting, and all that, exactly the pain in the ass you describe.

        (I was on the board of a theater company for many years - it wasn't THAT bad, though it was a WAY smaller budget than you have.)

      • Lindsey says:

        If you're going to be asking people to donate anyway, setting up a "DNA Foundation" with 501(c)(3) status might be a good idea because it'd mean people whose employers offer donation matching can take advantage of that. (Corporations mostly only match donations to 501(c)(3) organizations, because those donations are tax-deductible.)

      • Mark Lyon says:

        One thing that might be useful if the business were a nonprofit is the ability to offer PSLF to employees. It would also make attracting grant funds far easier.

  129. David says:

    I first went to DNA lounge by myself on a bus from Fresno, CA to San Fran. It was a few hours away but well worth it, I didn't rent a motel or a anything not enough money lol. I had enough for food and drinks, I attended Gammer's event I think before Earth Day by myself. I found new friends and left with remembering new people and a fantastic time good thing the after party event was right next door and ended at 7 a.m..The venue to me was gorgeous never seen one like it and will be returning pretty soon.

  130. Tuffy says:

    Dude. I'm sitting in a Thai restaurant in butt fuck nowhere off the I-5 trying not to cry into my Pad Thai. DNA is so much more than a club. For so many reasons.

    I'm down to donate to a fundraiser or buy a membership to get fancy at the one or two shows I can make it to a year, since I'm geographically challenged traveling all over the West Coast.

    I think Grant writing is a good idea too if the right person appears.

    But a great idea might be pitching to corporate companies, event companies and the like. They have budgets. I will try and put these thoughts into a coherent plan and message you, I'll include whatever corporate event contacts I have too.

    All the hugs. I know this was probably very difficult to share.

  131. Brian says:

    I have lived in San Francisco for 10 years. For the first 8 years I never set foot in either DNA Lounge or Pizza. In the last 2 years I've noticed a shift in that DNA Lounge shows way more metal shows. So I have since been going. I would love to see more metal shows.

    At the same time in those 2 years, I will say that I've spent way more money at DNA Pizza over Lounge. I think I've been to at least 4 events where you are serving rare and a huge variety of Firestone Walker beers. Lots of barrel aged beers and hard to find stuff. These events have been PACKED with beer fans. I would love to see more events not just from Firestone but other breweries around the area that have rare offerings. Having a beer event at least once a month could be really good for business. I know it won't solve everything but it's a start.

    Good luck

    • jwz says:

      Those Tap Turnover events were great; the only reason we stopped doing them is that the guy who was spearheading and promoting them got too busy with other things. And you really need a first-rate Beer Snob to take charge of an event like that to make it work: we can't just buy the beer and hope people show up. It needs to be run by "that friend of yours who always points you in the direction of the beer you haven't heard of but end up loving".

  132. I'm planning to go here new years, don't close! My thoughts are about business restructuring. Break-up the business. Have a separate license for the pizza business, and change the night club to nonprofit status. If you dont do it for profit anyways, might as well get the tax break and breathe easy. I don't live in california and Im not sure of the liquor laws with nonprofits. However, it should be possible, the pizza sales can be for profit, and youre not walling yourself financially. Consider even a third license (if liquor and nonprofit dont mix) to lease the property, hold the insurance, and the liquor license in a shell business. Contain the membership, donations, cover fees, band ticket sales, in a nonprofit. Third, being the pizza joint.

  133. Waider says:

    The only time I've ever been in the club was one day during construction when Morissa brought me over; I recall being introduced to you, whereupon I immediately commenced the SHY NERD LOOKS AT FEET routine, muttered platitudes about the potential evident in a half-constructed nightclub, and then wandered around to look at the place (I have a photo of a "kiosk" from pre-opening days: a disembodied computer attached to a wall) while you continued whatever business you'd been conducting at the time. I've been reading the saga here since it started, and watched/listened to a few of the streams, and always figured that one day I'd get a chance to see the place in action. I'll line up with those who are geographically disadvantaged and offer to chip in to a sponsorship programme, if such a thing materialises, because if nothing else you've been entertaining me for 17 years without me ever attending a single event.


    • Lloyd says:

      Didn't you at least talk about the Insidious Big Brother Database? I mean the emacs plugin, not the state apparatus fact of life.

  134. Michael Icefire says:

    Looks like you got a lot of good ideas, the corporate thing, you have offers now, the patron thing, good for folks that come thru once or twice a year, but want to fund..also, let your employees buy part of the company? Sell stock, if you're a private company? ..Hope all these people's ideas help..

  135. Gabrielo says:

    I can´t believe this. It truly breaks my heart.

    I´ve been to San Francisco only once, as I live in South America. During my stay, I took the chance to visit the lounge to see the Death reunion act, one of my favourite metal bands from my youth. It also was a chance to check the lounge, as I always wanted to go there, because of its story. Basically any act would have fit the bill; the fact that it was Death made it even more special.

    Hope strongly this place would never close. Really.

    Thanks for the gift of this venue, Jamie.

  136. Old guy here. First started hanging at DNA when it first opened under Bryan Raffi, Jeff Mason and Jim English. Hung out there for years, from the punk daze to hip hop, to new wave, and onward. Good memories.

  137. The DNA Lounge has been my music home since I was 16 so this is EXTREMELY personal on all levels. I played my 1st live show there at 17 and to this day I have the honor of being a resident DJ at the BootieSF event for 5 years. It’s givin myself and countless artists a home to debut their talents and creativity. A place for outcasts to have an outlet to hear music, dance, find love and feel a part of something bigger than themselves. I can’t stress enough how special this venue is and how many huge artists have performed there including PRINCE! We must do everything in our power to help keep DNA alive!!!

    • Sean McGrath says:

      There's an outside chance I know someone who might be into buying the Folsom spot, depending on how much. I also know a couple of people who know how to write grant props. I will see if they are interested.

  138. Jon Basmajian says:

    Grants sound like a good possibility. Mary Howe of HYA (Homeless Youth Alliance) has experience with the process. Maybe you can work out a quid pro quo agreement.

  139. Damon Dokhani says:

    One advice i would give is that start expanding the group of people coming to your events towards the growing EDM scene in the Bay Area, I personally am a producer and DJ, who actually DJ'd a private event at your club and I love the venue and can see the potential in it becoming a venue for small-medium local DJs and producer to perform at! I personally played at the Grand and I can tell you there is a lot of pull to have in the Bay Area (Being a student at Berkeley, and having grown up in SJ). I would love to talk about ways to adhere to the growing electronic music scene in the Bay and would love to talk about potential events that we can put to a trial and see what works!!

  140. I'm in Houston, Texas, so I'm not really able to patronize the club physically - but if there were a patreon or something where I could kick you a couple of dollars a month, I'd be thrilled to throw that at you, and I suspect there's a few more like me.

    Because I damn well want to make sure that CLUB WHERE FREAKY CONCEPTUAL SHIT CAN STILL OCCUR is a thing that can be. We're losing those far too rapidly.

  141. matt flynn says:

    I would say investigate chapter 13 Bankruptcy to kill off Codeword and its lease. Then shoring up DNA will be cheaper and easier. Was the lease in your personal name? Not giving legal advice, but I think its worth discussing with a competent attorney. I would be willing to contribute to a kickstarter each year. Especially because I will go insane if Deathguild ever closes. The idea of reorganizing under Bankruptcy in a case like this is to salvage the stuff that does work. I think DNA could break even or turn a profit without the drag of the other business. I have had some personal experience in this when I sold Real Estate and had a European Kitchen showroom at the same time....I also ran out of money and ditched the Kitchen biz through bankruptcy, it sucked, but I am solvent now. Thanks for all the good times I have had! and for the bad ones too. xoxo Matt

    • This might be a viable option.

    • matt flynn says:

      Also I am willing to meet to follow up on best ideas and help triage a bit to get things under control. It is overwhelming to run 2 places and have one failing. I would also be up for the 1000.00 a year thing...

    • Paul C says:

      Yeah i think this is the single best suggestion that has been posted here. bail out of the codeword lease and liquidate the business asap with the help of a competent attorney. Even if you do all the other things to raise cash you won't save the business, unless you stop the bleeding you will only delay the inevitable.

      I've had some great times at DNA over the years, and thanks for everything you've done, but i can't say I'm surprised with how empty the bar is every time I've been there in the last few years. Look at cat club selling drinks almost half price, bar is packed all night long. but it's 21 and over too. All ages events are great but no one can pay the rent without alcohol or drug sales and the latter is clearly not an option so cut cut cut, costs mainly, but also cut bar prices and raise admissions where appropriate (DG) to be more in line with other venues

    • jwz says:

      Investigating options for ditching Codeword is useful, but like I said, ditching Codeword does not solve the problem. Even without that boat anchor around my neck, I still can't afford to keep DNA afloat.

  142. I wish public transit ran late enough for night life. I know I am not the only one that has to second guess attendance or buying booze to support the place when I have to drive myself home 90 minutes.

    I have always dreamed of owning a night club. Whenever people ask, I tell them that it would be like DNA lounge. If I had the resources you had, I would have done the same thing, and it would have ended up very similar.

    I am now also losing my (smaller) business, because I cant prop it up anymore. either. I feel your pain, I really do. And if I won the lottery today, I'd be sending a ton of money to you to keep DNA open.

    SF needs DNA

  143. Fred says:

    I moved to SF so that I could go to DNA more often. I lived on the next block. Now I live two blocks away. However, I hardly ever go, despite having been in the goth and electronica world for 20 years, and I'm trying hard to figure out honestly why not. It's a well thought out space which never cut too many corners with the buildout. Perhaps the social scene feels a bit exclusive or perhaps it just didn't form community for me. Perhaps the food at the crepe truck is slightly less starchy. Perhaps I need natural light in the daytimes or the tables to be a bit lower for a laptop. Perhaps there's nowhere to talk to people during club nights. Perhaps I don't want to be aggressively cruised at Bootie. Perhaps too many DJs just play mp3s off a laptop and it sounds unsurprisingly meh. Perhaps I'm just too old, as I used to drive over an hour to get there. It's kind of a downer, as I want it to exist and succeed for all of the reasons you outlined.

    Mostly, I curse the city of San Francisco for being the most unfriendly place in the world to run a small business. As long as anything is making a profit, they want a piece of it, until it isn't making a profit any more, and then it goes bust. I do not particularly wish it well.

    I'll keep thinking about this.

  144. _ says:

    I'm not able to come to the club often these days, but I'm one of those people who have had many, many great experiences at DNA. Whatever it costs-per-year to be on a guest list for the few times I can actually show up (even if that turns out to be zero times in a particular year), let me know and I'll happily kick in.

  145. Vinh says:

    Maybe do a bit of neighborhood outreach for DNA Pizza next to Codeword? Prior to DNA Pizza opening, I received a flyer in the mail for the opening. Since then, there's a huge apartment complex built across the street and there are three condo buildings coming in, one finished and two almost done.

  146. Agent Catbot says:

    I love this place and used to go all the time.
    Here's my constructive feedback. I quit going because (a) life changes, you can't fix that one. (b) It was costing too much. The drink prices went up and there weren't cheaper alternatives. A $40 night turned into a $70 night. My constructive criticism: Can there be cheaper drink alternatives? Maybe this can get a higher head count. When friends don't want to go, entire groups may not go. People look at Facebook and say "Which of my friends are going to be there? I should go too! I want to be with my friends!" Or friend isn't going? Nah, not interested.

    Maybe group discounts to increase head counts, which attracts more people, which lets you sell more drinks.

  147. Butter says:

    Your pragmatic and transparent sincerity touched my heart. I get where you are, and its a tough spot. But 11th street without the DNA is not acceptable or realistic. Its a community institution and this community must step up to support the home that's supported it. I call on all promoters to step up, and book the DNA for at least one event next year... and make give back to this community.

  148. Stancy Star says:

    It's time to end this experiment...it's run the course

  149. Chad A. says:

    At some events back in maybe 2005?, someone who was associated with your club would give a one time free guest pass to the regulars. He would also give a few to give to the regulars friends. It seemed to work because those with a one time free pass would come back next, with their friends, as paying customers.

    Maybe you should reinstate this program?

  150. David Kaye says:

    BITTER TRUTH: I have experience in this kind of stuff, having owned several businesses, both successful and not. I think your current business model is fine, so go with it, but unfortunately you will have to cut staff and other expenses in any way you can.

    CODEWORD: It's not worth keeping Codeword open, nor having the pizza delivery run from there. Close it, eat the rent for a couple months, and shop the space. You have a long lease, something that is GREAT to sell right now. Codeword is not salable as a business, so forget it. Concentrate in marketing Codeword as the build-out, the equipment, the lease, etc.

    AS FOR DNA: You might need to cut back DNA Pizza hours a little and use the staff for maintenance duties, so that you can lay off one or two people. It's cool having a 24-hour place and I love the fact that you do, everybody does, but it doesn't sound practical right now unless you're seeing something I'm not

    BOOKING 4-WALL: It's a matter of brute force with lots of cold calls. It takes some chutzpah here. Nobody wants to cold call. Does anybody at DNA know anybody who works for Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc? Chances are they do. Work those contacts, no matter how tenuous they are. Also, contact ALL your competitors. Maybe Slims/GAMH might need an overflow venue for something they want to book but can't. Maybe Amnesia has some shows that have gotten too large for them where you can partner with them. Oasis? Club nights like LQQKS that don't currently have a home?

    PROMOTION: Cut back on promotion dollars; seriously. The various specialty nights have their followers. You are unlikely to get more folks no matter how much money you dump into advertising to reach their niches, but they'll tell their friends. Promo money eats up a budget faster than anything else and for far less reward. I run a live jazz night at the Atlas Cafe on Fridays. The ad budget is non-existent. I kept cajoling performers to tell their friends, send me usable jpegs and links (musicians are terrible at doing this), and eventually the jazz nights got off the ground. Now they're doing well. I have spent a lot of promo money on various ventures and I can tell you that it's the fastest way to lose your shirt.

    I DON'T RECOMMEND changing your business model to non-profit, or asking for crowd funding. All that will do is delay your closure because your cash flow is negative. You've got to turn the flow positive by biting the bullet and digging in by cutting expenses and trying very hard to get extra new business.

    Contact me for more ideas.

    --david kaye

    • LHOOQtius says:

      Contact David, he has good ideas, especially about booking 4-wall. I do think, however, you could use crowdfunding as a stopgap during the restructuring.

    • James says:

      David, what do you think of Bolstr.com revenue finance? Alternatively, how about SEC Regulation CF for revenue loans, e.g. via WeFunder.com?

      • David Kaye says:

        I'm opposed to ANY loans, financing models, or even stock sales because they don't address the key issue of cash flow. If the cash flow isn't there then the infusion of capital will just delay going broke, as well as piss off people who've spent money to prop up the business. Again, I think Jamie's business model is sound but expenses are out of line.

        One of the hardest things to do is to lay off people or cut their hours, but survival of a business often means that.

        Other expense-cutting options are re-negotiating the lease, changing to cheaper suppliers, and picking up supplies rather than having them delivered. Also, if there are multiple food suppliers that carry a wide range of products it's good to schedule them so that they see each other and thus know that you could go elsewhere for the supplies. I did this and managed to get my Sysco bill reduced about 20%!

    • I have a feeling codeword's lease is longer than "a couple months".

      • David Kaye says:

        What I mean is close Code Word and continue paying rent for a few months until it's possible to sell the business. Having a long lease is an advantage right now, but soon won't be if commercial rentals begin to slow down, as I believe they soon will. SF zoning laws are generally mixed uses residential and commercial, meaning that new apartments usually must have commercial spaces on the ground floor. This concept is designed to create neighborhoods rather than suburban style housing. However, there have been a lot of new residential units being built recently, and it is beginning to become hard to find enough commercial tenants. So, now is the time to sell a nightclub lease, rather than 2017, in my opinion.

  151. Hallie says:

    DNA lounge was an important part in my journey through life. It gave me somewhere to go before I was 21 to listen to my kind of music, which at the time was the grimiest, heaviest, face melting dubstep! I have so many amazing memories here, oh and I partly have the DNA lounge to thank for helping create my love story with my boyfriend now of 5 years.
    We currently live in Portland, so I'll have to support from afar, but I know you will all make it through!
    Stay strong!

  152. DNAsince1985 says:

    Any way to leverage the legal cannabis situation? Maybe convert codeword to a legal cannabis lounge? I realize there would be expenses involved, but that's the sort of thing an investor might actually be into.

    Been going to the DNA since '85 and still make it there a few times a year. Hope you can find a way to make it keep going!

    • Katherine says:

      This sounds really intriguing - I passed by a legal cannabis lounge, the Northwest Cannabis Market, when I was visiting Portland and was a little under-impressed. Honestly I think that classy cannabis entertainment spaces don't yet seem to exist and maybe this is a space in which you can innovate. Having said that, I'm not sure it's as lucrative as a bar because the price of getting high is lower than the price of beer - but it might be worth a shot since you already are set up to sell food and such. Something like a hookah lounge with a full menu, only for cannabis?

    • Alan Smithee says:

      I can't stop laughing right now, picturing Jamie's face. I'm also pretty sure that this is the most potentially lucrative suggestion yet put forward for CW. (So, I'm crying AND I'm laughing right now.)

      • Alan Smithee says:

        (Also IWTGTT.)

      • DNAsince1985 says:

        You gotta figure someone is going to come up with a model for a cannabis lounge. I think the key issue would be smoking. Maybe a vaping lounge with edibles and other non-smoking cannabis treats?

        "San Francisco's first cannabis lounge" ?

        btw, love your movies, alan :)

        • jwz says:

          If there is someone out there who thinks that Codeword would make a great spot for their weed or hookah lounge, I will happily sell it to them.

          Beyond that, no. The fact that I find smoking disgusting in all its forms means I am the wrong person to spearhead that business.

          • DNAsince1985 says:

            Now I get why Alan was laughing... sorry if I'd known, I wouldn't have suggested it. I don't know you but am separated by one degree with several people, so I know you're one of the good guys. Wish I had more to offer/suggest.

            Not sure what gets this generation out to a club instead of in with a phone/laptop/kindle. A party where they can meet youtube stars? Live big screen video game contests?

            I'm going to do my part by showing up more than I have been, starting with My Melody on Jan6. Thanks for your hard work.

        • jwz says:

          Slight update on this, in case anyone is curious: I have been informed that as the laws currently stand, it's not legal to sell marijuana products in a location that has a liquor license. And it's not just a matter of "you can't sell them at the same time". To be a dispensary would require giving up the ability to sell liquor at all.

          Presumably these laws will be in transition over the next few years, but that's how it is now.

  153. Greg says:

    I'd put $1 a month on Patreon, from across the country, with no expectation of reward, just to support jwz continuing to be jwz.

  154. Irina says:

    Fond memory: my first NYE in San Francisco, and my first Bootie. I met some of my funnest, dearest friends in DNA. I also really like the pizza, which I eat with three types of fake cheese and at least one kind of meat, which tastes almost like real cheese pizza.

  155. Cyd says:

    This is so heartbreaking. I love DNA—from the loud and bumping shows to the quieter events like EFF and Bsides.

    Please let us know how we can donate. I would gladly send what I can, buy a membership, etc. In the meantime, I'll be by to dance, drink, and eat pizza. I hope our community can come together and save DNA.

  156. Jj says:

    Many of my fondest memories and fun stories are from DNA Lounge, I live in Perú and every few months I have to go to the Bay Area for work. I make sure to visit DNA Lounge at least once per visit and it never disappoints.

    I would be up for buying tickets for events I cannot attend to (geographically) or buy a membership even if I only get to go 4-5 times a year. I doubt there's enough of us to get things afloat.

    I don't know how sensible your audience is. And what 800 persons per week represents %, but I'd be up to pay an optional fee of 15% on my tickets for "Save DNA" concept. Less invasive than just increasing prices, but if you get a number of people that would be willing to do this, or run "charity events" during venues you could fill up the gap of people that didn't come.

  157. Please continue to post updates on this page! I am not always able to keep up with local news but I have extreme interest in helping out where I can. The community is strong here, even for people an hour+ away.

  158. Greg Deocampo says:

    Jamie I've admired you and DNA since the mid 90s. I'm going to think about $ strategies

  159. Annie says:

    There has to be some kind of arts or culture grant that may be applicable to DNA... Perhaps I am talking out my ass, but I've seen loopholes in my experiences with grant writing and proposals.

  160. ארי הף says:

    I hope it survives. I can't tel you what this venue has meant to me. It truly was a bastion for me. Now I live like 6 hours a way, otherwise I'd be for sure going every week. Hope the DNA lounge community can pull through.

  161. Dave C says:

    I like the idea of a Patreon. It's a bit like Kickstarter but recurring and some authors provide perks, but that isn't necessarily the case. You might consider early ticket sales, "free" tickets to some events, or badges/pins/patches, but based on the response here, I would be surprised if there weren't quite a few people who'd be willing to pony up $25/month to keep this wonderful place going. We only have limited events here that we are interested in (due to our musical tastes), but we'd certainly be up to support a Patreon.
    I'll also ask around and see if any of my linked in connections have experience with arts grants and would be willing to do some pro bono work. As you say, it's a pretty specialized field, so not sure I'll find anyone.

  162. Razz says:

    Aw man that sucks! DNA has always been an amazing place and I've seen TONS of shows there, from Bootie to one of the most badass and crazy hard metal shows I've ever been to in my life (Parkway Drive). I've only recently moved back to the SF area after a long time away and it breaks my heart to see so many venues struggle so hard just to keep music and arts going, especially as a full time artist. We need places like DNA! I'd definitely support a membership option to keep one of the last unique venues in SF alive. Rewards could be as simple as a few $ off admission (10 instead of 12?), bragging rights, and the ability to have a network of people to collaborate with or see at shows, perhaps even an annual members only event? If we can find a way we can collectively be your investors (or dark angels) we can keep the spirit going in this soulless chrome tech hole.

  163. Ken F says:

    I'd kick in money through a Patreon for DNA lounge. You're a worthwhile endeavor.

  164. elishia says:

    I've been going to DNA for years and it is heart breaking to read this. I hope that yall can somehow pull through this. I can only speak for myself, but I would absolutely be willing to pay for some sort of yearly membership. Maybe it could have a special card that allows something special like a small discount on food/tickets or maybe a private event for members once in a while. I don't go to events as often as I used to and while I hope to change that, I wouldn't mind cashing out some extra bucks because this is a space that I believe in. I'm not sure about day time events but maybe yall could have a bakesale or some other fundraiser. I wouldn't mind donating some baked goods for the cause if that happened. Or maybe yall could do something similar to the foundry but on a smaller scale before yall host an event. Of course test the waters to make sure you would have people interested but I think finding different ways to utilize your space (although it's already been so diversely utilized) could be helpful. I know it's a lot of work but whatever ideas you come up with I'd love to hear back either through e-mail, or through your blog. Good luck!

  165. Gigi says:

    You need a place you could do business day and night. Pop a hole for some windows, so it felt more open for a daytime event. Dance clue isn't so in anymore like in the early 2000s. People seem to be more upscale in SF these days. I lived in the area and often pass by early in the morning. It really smells like an old dirty pub bar every time. Sorry for the brutal honesty, I support DNA and you have done an amazing job keeping this place running for this long.

    Hope to see this club back alive and be the next hippest place to visit.

  166. Peter Lobaccaro says:

    This post was pretty hard to read as it sounds like a run of bad luck and poor business choices has put DNA in a tough spot. I'm sad to hear it for the community of SF as well as for myself personally. I can't say I know much about what DNA does as I've only been a patron of Bootie nights but I have always felt like it is such an inclusive and welcoming place where anyone can kick back and have a good time.

    When I first came to Berkeley, Bootie was one of the first big nights me and my friends had in SF. After that night we were sold. It was always our place to party in the city and it is such a unique venue between the burlesque shows, the multiple rooms, and all the good music. I can't believe that night is failing because it is the only spot like it in the city in my opinion. So this leads me to believe attendance has fallen off because people don't know about it. I've only seen it get passed around by word of mouth but with how high the turnover in the city is, perhaps that isn't good enough anymore. Have any social media campaigns been run? Surely in a city as connected as this one, there are low cost, social media driven ways to get the word out and drive up attendance. You may even be able to find someone willing to donate their talents.

    Also there was a time (maybe this is still going on) when the first 100 people in the door would get a CD with the music from that night. I'm not saying passing out CDs is a good idea or that this going to drive attendance but I still jam to some of those mashups now because they were just so good. Can you collaborate with your DJs to build out a Spotify station (or soundcloud or pandora or.. pick a platform or do all of them)? Think of Ministry of Sound and the massive following they have just from the music they release. Just some preliminary ideas I've come up with, no idea if they already been thought of or are being used but wanted to put them out there in case they haven't. I hope there is a way to keep the doors open. For me, Bootie is a number of unforgettable memories, and I hope other people will get a chance to have their memory as well.

  167. angel. says:

    The only party I attended at DNA Lounge was Roderick's Chamber. I imagine that dates me, though I know parties that have survived for decades, so perhaps it's still chugging along. I went several times, though I'm from NYC. In my experience, it was unrivaled in the US at the time. I still remember walking in and thinking "What...the...fuuuuuck?" I think it was probably a weeknight or something and it was huge and packed and gorgeous. It put NYC to shame. Made me up my game, that's for sure. At the time I was working on a party in NYC called Contempt. It ended up doing pretty well--we shut down on our 15th anniversary--but rarely did we get to luxuriate in a space nearly as nice as what RC had at DNA Lounge. That was always, like, a Holy Grail-level venue for me.

    Aaaanyway...the point of this is to say that DNA Lounge inspired me, and since it's been many years since I've been to SF (I have two little gothlings now; travel's a bitch and doesn't include much clubbing. LOL) I'm just as psyched to hear that you're still open and hosting dark parties as I am sad to hear that soon you may not. Aaaaand I happen to edit grants for a living. I don't write them, mind you. I edit them. But that means I know people who write them, and that, if push came to shove, I could probably go it alone. I just kinda hate writing, a point that the length of this post may place in dispute.

    So yeah, right now is shitty because end-of-year grant reports are due, and all my clients are making my life a living hell and oh, yeah, Christmas with kids...What? But if you start looking for funding lines now, we can talk about them in January and see if we can't get something written up for you in 2017. Contempt's tag line was For the Scene, By the Scene. It's clear from your personal and financial dedication to DNA Lounge and its programming that supporting alternative culture is in your blood. I want to help.

  168. SA says:

    I've run operations for a growing tech startup in the city for 5 years. I'd be happy to do some free consulting for you in case it ends up being helpful. Feel free to get in touch!

  169. Chris says:

    I'm gonna get fat off all the pizza I'll be ordering from you guys now.

    Also I'd be down for a Patreon if you qualify.

    Best of luck. I'm in PR, if I can help out some way to reach out to the media, lemme know.

  170. Spleen says:

    I love DG and DNA Lounge. Been to some amazing shows here. I used to come to DG at least once a month but it's difficult now that I've had to move to the east bay. There's no place like it. Hope to catch more shows here before the inevitable...

  171. Great place to see good shows grab a drink and pizza.I live almost 5 hours away and still drive out there for shows. The locals are very fortunate to have the DNA Lounge close to them. ill still be driving up there for some 2017 shows.

  172. kvk says:

    Very good & honest post. Awesome venue. DNA and 1015 and F8 and 715 Harrison are my favorite venues. I would hate to see DNS go. If I was a millionaire or billionaire you would easily get some of my $ because I love music and your club as a donation. Your pizza is good too, but im not a pizza fan so I dont really go for the pizza. I go for the music and the social aspect.

    My advice:
    - post this on Reddit on many subreddits
    - post this on facebook and let it be shared by everyone (hopefully everyone shares it out)
    - close CodeWord
    - from DNA can you host multiple events per day? per night?
    - throw undergrounds if thats possible (prob not, so ignore that)

  173. Howard anderson says:

    Oh man, I've been to DNA so many times, there's always the most brutal metal shows there! If I was local to SF I would hands down go to every show. I HAVE to get a pizza here because it's literally the bomb.

    I could never get friends to go with me because they just can't hang for the drive up or they're complaining they can't afford it. BRUH, the tickets are beyond affordable, the pizza is great, and you can pound down a beer (or four). I've met so many musicians here especially ones from my favorite bands PLUS bands I would have never heard of if I didn't go to the show!

    Places like these are slowly fading away and what is replacing it? A fucking Starbucks? Or something equally mainstream and BORING. Without venues like these where would we be? NOWHERE!

  174. Crysta says:

    I haven't lived in SF for six years now, but DNA was so much a part of my life when I was there! I'd pay for a membership I can't actually use (I'm in Michigan now, so too far to visit). I bet a lot of my friends I used to go with back then who are also no longer in the area would donate money, too.

  175. Rich Moellering says:

    How about ask for voluntary donations from concert goers/club attenders. I have enjoyed seeing many great concerts there and I am sure many others have also. Some ideas to get the donations are:
    -Set up a write-in box on the online ticket order forms on DNA Lounge website where concert goers can fill in how many $ they wish to donate.
    -Add option to donate $ when buying drinks at the bar or food at DNA pizza. Can be cash collection jars and/or field on receipt to write in donation amount when paying by credit/debit card.
    -Add a noticeable header to the top of the DNA Lounge main web page to ask visitors for voluntary donations, which would connect to a link where visitors could donate funds from online, like Wikipedia has done at times to ask for funds from users.
    Just some ideas. These probably won't raise a lot but I'm sure every little bit helps.

  176. littlewing says:

    Have you looked into Peerspace? It's a marketplace for leasing our your space for short-term commercial use: e.g. events, filming, company offsites. Palantir, Salesforce, Uber and Postmates all use it to find unique spaces to say train their drivers, employee offsites or host lobbying events or partner meetings instead of going to stuffy hotels and Moscone Center. There's a ton of art galleries in SF that are using it to rent out their space during hours when the gallery is normally closed to bring in additional revenue streams. Since your hours are focused on evening, perhaps you could look to rent out the space before 4pm other days of the week. Average listing is $100 an hour, which would easily make up for operating costs in addition to having memberships for loyal customers. Huge fan of Booty and DNA Lounge and would hate to see it go! But the good news is there is a lot of options out there nowadays with communities and marketplaces online that could help keep your doors open!

  177. Steven Chisham says:

    I sent you an instant message about this but, Have you considered a membership program, with maybe a VIP area, or discounts on drinks, admission or Merch?

  178. Mark says:

    What I'm doing so far:
    I've contacted a grant writer friend to see if they have any suggestions on the getting grants front.
    I'll think of what other things I can do; it's difficult for me to get to SF these days, so direct support by showing up often will be lacking from me.
    Side thoughts:
    I can see myself contributing/purchasing some sort of membership/sponsorship via whatever mechanism. Not sure what (if any) benefits a person would receive from one, but that doesn't matter much. A free slice of pizza or a free pass once in a while could be nice for a continued membership/sponsorship.
    Too bad there isn't anything like a F2P whale for the night club scene. :-/
    I'd always wanted to somehow make a bunch of money and open up a bar/pub sort of like how you did with DNA but a bit different in focus (and had previously toyed with asking to job shadow you, jwz). Good to know that's wicked hard and tough to even break-even. If I had the cash, I'd be into partnering somehow, but I just don't have the dough for it. I really wish I did. :-(
    I've always really liked going to DNA lounge, whether it was for SwingGoth or DeathGuild or POW or whatever. Every time I get into SF (which isn't that often these days), I have to stop by DNAPizza and get a slice or two AND a pie to take home.

  179. Vanessa N says:

    So my ideas are going to be more tech industry focused, and I apologize if that is not philosophically aligned with how you want to operate.

    Some nutty ideas:
    * Get in touch with Cyan. She loves you and would probably love to help. At Zivity we did a couple events with you back in the day…why not send her this post and ask her for ideas? She might be able to help you get some near-term parties booked with startup folks.
    * Find someone to volunteer to add your listings to various event facility search sites like Peerspace, EventUp, maybe Evenues. These sites work well enough now that planners don't have to use Google to find individual venue sites. (And some individual venues have websites that are just too well done to compete with in Google, without greater investment.) List both Codeword and DNA Lounge, as separate venues.
    * Host something that will attract attendance from people new to the bay area: a day of tech or space talks (with a cheap cover), a startup services show (food vendors, HR, etc). The point is to renew interest from event organizers within the tech community, some of whom would probably love DNA but never heard of it because a bunch of us older fans are aging out. Maybe the hook isn’t software, space, or startup food…maybe it’s whatever the new freak flag is among the tech set, something more compatible with the original DNA crowd.

  180. Edward Alderson says:

    I have so many mixed feelings about this.

    DNA was my home like many people, but that place and Barry as well as yourself, made that spot the worst job anyone could have ever worked for. It took a long time to realize just how out of touch and mismanaged everything was with you two at the helm but it got increasingly obvious that this wasn't a business, it was a club house. Rampant with social circle politics, backstabbing, personal grudges held for decades and lack of concern and appreciation for the never ending revolving trap door of employees who cared enough to put that place first above themselves for nothing in return but your weekly temper tantrums and Barry's incessant need to play manager like the club was a fisher price 'my first actual job' playset. Though credit where credit is due, it's nice to finally see in writing that maybe you have finally realized how important and valuable your staff is, but it's too little too late.

    You can blame the city, it sure played it's part. It's not easy running a venue that spits in the face of the corrupt asshole who run this red tape factory.

    You can blame high prices etc. But other venues are pulling it off.

    You can blame all of those thing, but you still can't seem to put the blame where it rightfully lies. You and Barry let this club die. You guys did this because you mismanaged everything at every turn and when sound advice was offered, you steered the complete opposite direction. So it's funny now you are finally reaching out and asking for ideas. But I think I finally get why you acted the way you for so long, you were over your head with all this and it only got worse with time. I empathize with that and can't say I'd have done any better.

    Having said all that, I don't want DNA to die. It means too much to too many people, so just maybe, a miracle will happen and save this safe haven for the debaucherous malcontents left in this city. But if it does it won't be for long before the people you let drive this ship into another codeword iceberg steer it off another cliff. People can only keep saving this place so many times before luck runs out.

    If you really want to save this place and you mean everything you said just now, you need to take a really hard look back and change this repeating cycle of bad decisions made by incompetent yes men who see you and your dream venue as just one more gullible pocket to pick.

    • Edward Alderson says:

      I'd also like to add, the entire legacy of DNA is like an analog of Roy Batty so the quote is fitting.

      "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die."

    • VSlim says:

      So I got here from a friend's FB link and I would have to say that I have never heard of DNA lounge before today and I am American but live in another country. Based on reading through pages and pages of comments, and the occasional jwz comment, I am not surprised by this email about the working conditions and poor management there.

      I've seen enough notes about wrong pizza orders, poor treatment by staff (don't blame the staff, management sets the example), negative statements about other venues/groups/types of music and negative statements by performers there who had to pay for bar service and bartenders. Every time JWZ chimes in, he has an excuse or an arrogant statement.

      JWZ, making money in tech didn't teach you how to run a business or treat employees. Fix your own problems before asking people with little disposable income to buy memberships. It's probably too late for that. Maybe that book store will publicly criticize you now. Put on your big-boy panties and shut it down and take your losses. There's nothing to indicate things will improve or even stay the same. You're the common denominator before and possible after people donate their cash.

      Any of these sponsorship companies or Patreon or whatever should require you to prove your business acumen before taking people's money. Why didn't you question what was wrong when you had only sunk an additional $2 mil into the place? Oh wait, you did, but no one could provide you with actual grant writer contacts haha. Look closely at the comments from former employees, acts, and disappointed visitors and don't be so arrogant.

    • Jason QuestionMark says:

      Having worked at the DNA in the Early 00's for a couple of years I would have to completely disagree with your assessment of being an employee at the DNA. There is a high turnover rate at all bars because it is a difficult job that not everyone is cut out for.

      Jamie was a great boss and Barry was an excellent manager. They cared about the DNA not as profit machine and have shown this time and time again. They cared about the people that worked there and the many patrons. I would be truly saddened if they had to close but think that all the management at the DNA should be proud of how many people have had the time of their lives at the DNA and how well they have treated the employees that have and do work there.

  181. Dayna ayla says:

    This is out there... But.... I suggest you take advantage of the recently passed measure x and convert codeword into an artist/activist residence club. I'd be the first to sign up...

  182. Anthoney says:

    I'm sad to hear that you're going through this. Hi have attended parties there over the last 15 years though not lately. I'm surprised to say the least of the money problems. You always seemed packed and as you said you're turning people away. But I know about putting my own money into events instead of taking the loss. Going with an investment that seems great but in the end doesn't pan out. I eventually threw in the towel because the "head nod" was no longer enough. Now I'm not suggesting that you throw in the towel. Your venue has been an oasis for hundreds of people for many years. When you had that private Prince show a year or two ago I wanted in soo bad but couldn't make it.

    I'm sure you've already gone through this/thought of this but why are you in the red? Can you compartmentalize the businesses and analyze them that way? So are all 3 businesses losing money or just one or two? What are the highest expenses and what can be eliminated to cut those expenses. What aspects are making money and how do you exploit those. Are you charging enough for goods and services. How will the price increase then affect sales thereby justifying or negating said increase.

    I would love to give you specific suggestions but for me they would only come after I've looked at the books. Regardless, I wish you the best and if I can be of use in the back office let me know. In the meantime I'll do my best to make it out a few times next year. Good Luck and God Speed.

  183. Ian says:

    Try Patreon? Could be a good route, especially since you can offer incentives to supporters.

  184. Owen says:

    My heart is so broken. I'm so sorry. I'll try my best to ask around. I know your pain. I was in a 6 year battle to keep my house. The city is to ruthless to small business and blue collar workers. I'll fight for you. For free!
    Please if you need anything .
    Labor I can do for free. I work as a carpenter. Most my friends are carpenters in the union. That's all I have right now. But I'll start asking around. I'm so sorry. Please fight. Just keep fighting.
    I want to help. Even if it's just my hammer and nails.

  185. Vandal says:

    Grant writers are out there. Usually the standard rate for bringing in a grant is 10% of said grant. I'll ask around if anyone I know is still doing this. I used to work for charities that we needed this type of thing all the time. No promises though. Grant writers are like lawyers; if they do not think they can get the money they won't even try. V

  186. Owen Lowe says:

    NOOO! I'm sorry. I want to help. The Bay can be so ruthless to small business and blue collar workers. I was in a ruthless battle with the banks for 6 years.
    I want to help. I'll ask around.
    I can offer my labor as a carpenters.
    I want to help even if it's just my hammer and nails.

  187. raven says:

    The most amazing show I have ever seen was Prince at the DNA Lounge. I am so fortunate to have been there. To stand a mere 6 feet from him as he made music like no other could. I didn't even know guitars could make those sounds. And he was magnetizing, I've never seen anyone else like him. Nor will we again, which breaks my heart.

    I did see him at the fox after this amazing show. It was terrible. He wasn't terrible. But the fox was filled to the brim with pot smoke, which made me hurt and made me nauseous. The staff were rude, the crowd was rude. The crowd talked loudly over the music, they took pictures, etc. horrible. It was a night and day experience. I'm so thankful that I'll always have my night with Prince at the DNA.

    When I lived in San Francisco, I loved going to the DNA. It's nice to be in a safe space to have a good evening of music and dancing. And know that if some drunk dude starts messing with you (this actually happens a lot if you're female) that said person will be removed.

    And that smoking is OUTSIDE because that's the law. I have health issues and smoking, especially pot, means I get very ill. There are no other venues where I don't have to worry about this. This may not seem like a big deal to you. But if smoke equals not breathing, or in the case of pot-which I can't metabolize-a night of severe pain and vomiting... it's really hard to relax and have a good time.

    I appreciate the professionalism of the DNA staff-they do a good job, and they give a fuck unlike many other (ok maybe all other) venues.

    I wish I lived closer and didn't have a chronic disability so I could leave my house more than once a year. I wish I could show up at least once a week.

  188. This is going to sound so douchey, but sounds like you need a hackethon w/ a group to brainstorm some methods that can help.

  189. MIke says:

    Millenial do not "club" anymore. The Vegas appeal is dying and no one in SF cares for bottle service (or dress to impress). Turn Codeword and DNA Lounge into a Cannibus Lounge. A place people can smoke, hang out, social gatherings, etc. Smoking is the new drinking. Guess what, when people smoke, they eat pizza. Lots of it. Double revenue.

    • Vandal says:

      Ha ha, I don't know if that would work, but maybe in the short term they could do crazy are space with cool lighting ( already have) music etc. Might work. But the current cliental will mostly be gone.

  190. Peter Garin says:

    I opened DV8 as the consultant and then General Manager for Lawrence Lin, (Dr. Winkie) I also opened TownsEnd for John DuCharme. I was the third partner in Cafe du Nord, with Cindy Johnson and John Varnado. I set up Blowfish, Sushi-to-die-for as was the operating partner for 14 months before selling out.

    I now live in Monterey County, but if you like the benefit of that experience, feel free to call me and we'll talk. (415) 279-9442 Please do not publish the number. I rather this be in confidence. It's sad to see you as well as the club in dire straits.

  191. Steve says:

    So many bad news lately. Sorry to hear that after so much effort your options are crumbling.
    Would you consider partnering with Bay Area artists collectives looking for a space to throw events? I mean with the fire a couple weeks ago, on top of the terrible loss of loved ones, underground spots are being shut down left and right. A safe space, with a vision like yours, might become extremely valuable for a struggling community. Just a thought. It might not bring tons of $, but could definitely help with grants if you position the DNA lounge accordingly. It might be a stretch but worth a shot.

  192. Mysti Quezada says:

    Jamie - DNA Lounge has always meant the world to me and so many others! It and the wonderful people revolving around it, bringing such amazing entertainment, have been one of the major reasons I've been stuck like glue to San Francisco. It's a backbone for the dark alternative and artistic communities. You have made such a difference in our lives. I don't have any ideas beyond the many already commented on, but I truly hope a solution to ease the burden presents itself, for all our sakes. <3

  193. Bibi says:

    DNA is literally my favorite place to throw events (I run DAMSF from your location). The professionalism and ability to make everyone feel at home is second to none. I would love to help you guys book more events & plan corporate events. Contact me!

  194. I would like to chime in from the east coast here. I am the owner of a fetish and goth nightclub (<-ignore that picture next to my name...thats not my bar),and man...do I feel your pain. I was "there" about a year ago, and it took me 6 months to muster up the strength to do what you have just done. It's not easy to swallow your pride and ask for help.
    We can make all the excuses for ourselves, and talk about millenials being the problem, or prices, etc all day, but the result is still the same. And it is not a fun place to be.
    My suggestion to you is to keep down this path. Stay transparent with your supporters, and just really buckle down on your spending to get thru it, and in the mean time I can tell you that your customers will come thru for you. Mine did.
    PS- I am gonna send a private message to the club with some more specific ideas.

  195. Michael says:

    Not a great option, but you could sell DNA lounge and all the good assets to a third party. I suspect your creditors would get the proceeds, but the buyer would get a healthy nightclub that could continue to operate.

  196. Rod Yee says:

    You have created a wonderful and beloved San Francisco Icon. I would like to suggest that you market the DNA Lounge Brand Name with merchandise such as T-Shirts, Mugs, Posters,and so forth. Also reach out to other promoters such as Bill Graham Present group to see if you can partner up. I am no expert in the music venue business so please take my suggestion with a grain of salt.

    Best Wishes.

    • Lissunup says:

      This is also a great idea.... Start working with major agents and larger/ national event promoters to bring in more acts. Another Planet, Superfly, Hush Concerts, There are a lot of local promoters who have not seen DNA as an option in the past. Maybe take a look at this, why hasn't Sunset, Dirtybird, Space Cowboys, Opulent, Distrikt, Pink Mammoth, Stratgik, Brass Tax, etc rarely or ever thrown events at DNA when they all host regular events at the same clubs over and over again- DNA should be part of their regular event venue rotations.

  197. Ryan says:

    I don't live in the Bay Area any more, and when I did I only attended a few events at DNA Lounge, but I'd be willing to sign up to make a monthly or annual donation. Please email me if you get something set up.

  198. Yuvi says:

    Setup a Patreon and see what happens? No frills, no rewards. I'd happily sign up for a recurring monthly thing simply because.

  199. Steve says:

    I would hate to see this venue close. I've been going here since 1995. First show: Run DMC or Big Brother & the Holding Company (can't recall which). That said, you say above that you don't currently book "corporate parties, conferences, film shoots, that sort of thing." Well, you need to do that ASAP to do whatever brings in the cash. Those bring in the cash. I hear you that you feel like you might need a specific person with a different skill set than booking bands and DJs, but you're selling yourself short. You need and should GET someone who can bring in the numbers and money, no nonsense. If you can book left-field acts like Mayhem and have a good show (I was there), you can easily do corporate parties. Your space is solid and cool. Tell your booker to step up; reach out, make 25 - 50 cold calls a day, put out new ads, social media the hell out of it, undercut the competition by just THAAAAAT much. Many of us have been in professional situations before where we've suddenly been hit with, "Hey now you need to make X, Y and Z happen, even though that's not your experience or what we hired you for." They can't do it? Hire someone else or farm that portion of work out to someone who will. Get rid of the pizza operation / restaurant and the upstairs space as well. It's too much to float. We need you on this scene!

  200. Laszlo Toth says:

    You've always struck me as kind of an asshole, so I react to the closing of your little rich-kid playground with a mixture of indiference, glee, and greater indifference.

  201. Lissunup says:

    What about offering a marijuana bar to the bar menu? Someone needs to get this city up on it's marijuana/ coffee bars al la Amsterdam. It crosses over nearly every audience- unless you decide to go for corporate/ private upscale events- but that doesn't fit the model of DNA as well. Activism, community, art, creative progression--- fits the marijuana model a bit better. I'm sure you know a wholesaler or someone in your staff does or is.

  202. Rick Tanner says:

    ok. for me it was mack and courtney turning away bridge and tunnel types. only friends got in bryan and jeff ran the club with spencer. managing everything we spent alot of time coming out at 6 am. through the original front doors. that dont work anymore with drink and coke thru our systems. i eventually. had to leave to dry out far away from dna ......i installed the first. light systems for bands it took alot to pry. a couple of grand out of thier hands. i was also very fortunate to be a musicisian and was asked by some of the flaming groovies to back up ronnie dawson ....so if you dont know who he is. well the cramps covered his song....i high point for me.....rob schnieder held the door open. at the second show. the new owner and was a cool guy. ....so when i heard this owner dumped 5 million into it...i think it was all about. a profit. i think it lost its soul a long time ago.....i think about that time i was a doorman. and the singer from simply red. was. such a douche. i told him no way. ...way to drunk and too much a asshole to come back in..... pased out next to the dumpster till his frantic manager asked where he was i just pointed. many more stories but i have to get up at 4am to work so fuck off. ha ha

  203. Samantha Delucchi says:

    You guys should start a gofundme for this. It would spread like a wildfire on Facebook and if you put up posters around the city about the risk of it closing and with the link to the go fund me page, San Francisco would fund it in no time and participation would spike. You just need to come up with how much you guys think you will need to keep the lights on and maybe broaden your horizons with what kind of shows you guys do to attract different people.
    Reach out to youtubers that do live shows, local or east bay aerial schools, maybe even hold mass classes there or demonstrations etc. There are so many local artists that would die to play for you guys. You have the rigs and the space. I just don't want this place to leave me. It means too much.

  204. As a former and frequent patron of DNA during my goth years, I do not want to see DNA wither away. I'm a CPA and if you like I can take a look at your financials, business entity structure, etc all pro bono to see if your can trim operating costs and lower tax liability. I'll even possibly prepare your federal tax return pro bono as well. Having a CPA, especially a good one can be costly so I can offer my services pro bono to ease the wallet of DNA. My email address is posted here so feel free to reach out to me to discuss details if you like.

  205. Tetyana Swan says:

    I haven't been around in far too long - who cares why (stupid pedal surgeries) - all are lame excuses and I'll be there at Bootie, every Saturday night, just like F 2013 - S 2015 - I'll also diligently build up my EtOH tolerance so I can drink more booze for a longer length of time and I'll invite my friends - even bank teller acquaintances, random strangers at my gymwe'll have contests amongst ourselves like who will go for the most weeks in a row (48 out of 52 personal best), who can spot themselves the most in the published crowd photos - (I am in at least 11 different crowd photos) or how fabulous I look as guaged by the number of fellow clubgoers requesting selfies with me in them) I'll be there at Bootie every weekend because #BootieIsLife (ps that's someone else's creative work so technically I stole their work - however, I DID add the hashtag and the CamelCaps - so it's less at theft and more at unsolicited and/or coerced collaboration) but it's all good - OK see you this Saturday - I'm getting my liver is shape as we speak #YaysBelvadereBasedCosmos!

    PS some of my very best post transition experiences were at DNA Lounge /Bootie - I won crowd applause prom queen, I made out with the two girls I was dancing on the podium with NYE 2013, I was picked up by two women from Barcelona (who actually and impressively wore my ass out) and most importantly of all most of my friends I have I met at or through DNA Lounge /Bootie - and I've felt love and friendship from more people than any other time in my life (not only because DNA /BootieSF and the people there found is/are cool, my hugely unwieldy amazingness is an important factor in all that as well)

    So thank you 1st dot com dude who takes care of their mom and runs the coolest club in town for DNA Lounge (and Yays using real Buffalo mozzarella in pizzas - do you know how incredibly rare that is? #YaysThat) I'll drink and dance and be my own amazing self so as to lead others by example - People I'm having Brunch with on Sunday afternoons around 3pm will ask me "Where did you have all your amazing drunken fun this weekend?" and I'll say, "I don't remember it all, but I know that I was at the DNA Lounge"!

  206. John Doe says:

    You need to sell corporate private events in that space , call the guys at global gourmet catering and ask for Alex Haseltine. He's a killer salesman and I'm sure he can sell the shit out of your venue.

    • DNAsince1985 says:

      Great comment. Tons of local companies needs venues the size of the DNA for events like holiday parties and launches.

  207. Justin Hibbard says:

    I would recommend that you look into doing a reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy or an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors. A reorg will stop the immediate cash hemorrhaging and allow you to go on operating the business while you negotiate with creditors. It will also force you to come up with a realistic plan by which DNA can sustain itself (probably by cutting back on all the expansion).

  208. I proposed to my (now) wife at a DNA show — needless to say, I’m a big fan. Thanks for all you've done, Jamie, both for running DNA itself and for sharing all the ups & downs here. It's been an inspiration for years.

    Sounds like you've already explored most major options so all I can offer is: I loosely know Jonathan from Chapel / Slim's / Great American Music Hall, etc. If you’d like to break bread with him to discuss, I could connect you guys — just send me a note. Given how long you've been rattling around the SF nightlife industry, tho, I assume you already know him or have no interest in that direction. Best I’ve got.

    Backstage w/Richie @ DNA, 2015. N.b. our custom / fake VIP passes.
  209. Andrew K says:

    I managed large bars and restaurants for awhile. Here's my advice...

    If you're not in the black, it's partially your own dang fault. Do you know what your balance sheet looks like? How about your P&L statement?

    I regularly had to sit through meetings going through my P&L for the bars. We would clear $40k a month, and this did not include cash from coat check or entry fees. And you know what? It's important stuff... all of it. Do you have meetings like this on a weekly basis or monthly basis? Because if you did, you might see something like this...

    Cost of Goods - 30% is kind of high for a bar with a full liquor license. 33% is generally what you would see for beer and wine. Less than 20% for alcohol. Once you include mixers, napkins, etc, if you're running at higher than 27%, you're either giving away too much alcohol (and when I say you, I mean bartenders who haven't been trained properly or have no oversight) or there is something else amiss here.

    Labor - 30% is what you might see at a fine dining establishment or high end restaurant. Sandwich shops normally see around 20-25%. Bars? You should be gunning for 20% or below. That's not including security guards and other one off staff, obviously, but if you have regular security guards and other payroll, you should include everyone. That includes all payroll taxes. So if you're seeing 30% or higher for this line item, you sir are not running a bar / nightclub. You're running House of Prime Rib.

    Occupancy - is your lease, PG&E, water, and utilities all adding up to 10% or above? Because that's too high. You should be shooting for 8% or lower for all of these combined.

    Hope this helps. Once you start realizing that these 3 areas of your business can account for over half of all expenses, you start focusing less on "what color the entryway lighting should be " and start focusing more on "how can I do more to train and hire good staff?". Because you've only got 8-10 hours in the day to truly be productive, and if you've been in the red for several years, maybe the time to start thinking about these things was 20 years ago.

    A 15 year resident of San Francisco who liked going to DNA once

    • David Kaye says:

      I concur about the percentages. Generally in food and beverage, the food/beverage costs plus the labor should never ever be more than 2/3 of revenue. A steakhouse has higher food costs but less labor (you slap a steak on a grill and put a baked potato on the plate). A Mexican restaurant has lower food costs but higher labor (dishing out and wrapping tortillas, etc.) And as for liquor costs, yes 20% is where it should be. Or that is, you pay $1 for the liquor and sell the drink for $5. That's the way it has to be in order to make money.

  210. Carl Karsten says:

    My buddy Troy does NodePDX http://nodepdx.org and DotNetFringe each year in Portland, 2 day tech conferences, in clubs. He is up for NodeDNA. Event can end at 5, the place can be cleared out by 6 (its just people and chairs). He will take care of recruiting presenters, sponsors and tee-shirts, We will hire a conference management company to take care of conference reg, travel and hotel bookings.

    which is good for 2 days. (not nights, so you still get the evening revenue.

    The trick will be to do this 50 times a year, which isn't out of the question.

  211. Obvious Advice says:

    Negotiate with your creditors. "No shit," you may think. You may have tried it already. But go back to the well. The DNA Lounge is almost certainly worth more to your creditors as a going concern than it is as a boarded-up building. Codeword in particular seems like a major fucking drain in the old cashflow department. You and your partner(s) need to sit down with the landlord and lay it out for them. Either you get some rent reduction/abatement (which may at least provide medium-term cashflow relief while you sort shit out), or they're going to be out 100% of the rent while they find someone to replace you. They don't want to do that.

    Spend a few thousand dollars on an insolvency accountant/attorney who can give some advice about how to structure your affairs to keep things going, or at least keep your condo. You're not the first small business owner to be in this position. Of course, I expect like many small businesspersons, you've had to give personal guarantees on things like Codeword leases, which is shitty. But you may be able to get some reasonable advice about how to dig yourself out of the mess.

    Does ANYONE make money running a nightclub in SF? If so, you need to consider finding one of your more successful competitors and inquiring whether they want to form a partnership... i.e., selling a portion of the business, perhaps even a controlling stake. They may be of the view that jwz is a great programmer and artistic director but a shitty club owner, and hence see an opportunity to swoop in and $$$profit$$$ from your perceived incompetence. A loss of equity means a loss of control, but there may be ways to structure things where they take over aspects of the business (and the potential upside if/when it starts turning a profit) without losing everything that makes the DNA unique, and without losing any role in the business's direction/future.

    Finally, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, you'll need to show some major humility through this process. What has made the DNA blog entertaining for nearly two decades is your willingness to thumb your nose at the dumb fucks in various large institutions who stood in the way of a great nightclub. But said dumb fucks have a long memory and a capacity for schadenfreude known only to dimwitted bureaucrats. You may end up coming to them hat in hand. That will suck. You'll just have to embrace the suck.

    • Doctor Memory says:

      They don't want to do that.

      I'm not sure that's an assertion that I'd want to bet my business and personal finances on. San Francisco, despite being in the middle of one of the worst real estate crunches in recorded human history, is notorious for having street-level commercial spaces in high-rent districts stay vacant and boarded up for years due to a combination of well-intended-but-poorly-implemented regulations and flat out greed. (See, for example, the former "Home" restaurant, which has been a blighted eyesore in the middle of the damn Castro for well over four years now.)

      To paraphrase a famous saying, your landlord can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

  212. Junglebook says:

    I played this great space a few times. The most memorable gig was playing as a duet with Randy X and performing a song he wrote with Keith Hennessey called "Madonnonna". Jim the Germ Smith introduced us. I also remember it for the night I ran a spotlight there for an Anti-Fashion show by Dee Dee Russell - on the way home I was mugged, bashed in the face with a crowbar. Turned the corner, and there were three cop cars, they busted the guy on the spot.

  213. I saw Phish at DNA Lounge in 1991, their 2nd California show. Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars.

    Dave King treated me like royalty. Good times.

  214. Rob says:

    I just want to add my vote for an annual patronage approach (Patreon or otherwise), with a broad range of tiers for those who can offer greater support. I'm not sure rewards for patrons are needed, but if so I think an annual patron appreciation event might be the most compelling without diluting the value of the contributions. I can't make it out as much as I'd like anymore but would happily join to support the club.

  215. %oldboot says:

    three suggestions:

    dump codeword. it's dividing your focus and isn't succeeding. sell the liquor license and see what else can be done with the space. if the landlord won't let the lease break, ask about a subtenant.

    reach out to freight and salvage in Berkeley. they formed a 501c3 and wound up building a nice performance space. very different music, but I bet they'd be interested in talking.

    if you don't go the 501c3 route, consider hiring mom as as a strategist or something - you can get her on your business books for a bit, cover her health care that way.

  216. Dan Thiel says:

    DNA Lounge was my first design project in San Francisco. I helped to design the sound system and the steel that keeps it in the air. Over the years I've come into touch, and gone out of touch with many fantastic people. I'm still in touch with many great people that still call DNA home. I've got nothing more to offer at this point than what I always have. My best effort. And that offer stands.

  217. Simon Briggs says:

    I visited several times from the UK....
    Great club but only ever went on a Monday...
    Has there ever been a DNA Lounge festival ?.... Could bring sponsorship from city/ states arts people !!

  218. Lillin says:

    What nights are you currently open? How about help from local artists to say DJ a set at no charge? I would. I DJ the stuff coming out of the UK although I can DJ a wide variety of genres. Heard of Phaeleh? Similar style...

  219. Evan Lind says:

    It has been far too long. I wish you well, and here's A plan.

    Film upbeat "home-movie" moments behind the scenes on Fun Nights.
    Then, hold auditions for the Production Crew, During Business Hours. Make it clear that the first step of auditions is "In their DNA." At the door you'll have colored Tags of some kind. Pull candidates with Tags from the crowd. Make it clear nothing is prerequisite to try-out (resume, history, etc) as people leave, ask for Tags back, when they return the tag you take down their name. Make tally for multi visits.

    Film the whole process. During the interviews be sure to ask for A Moving Story About DNA. No pressure if they don't.

    Ask each "try-out" how they want to help. Give anyone with drive a chance, multiple people per role. Pick Role Leaders.
    Once you've assembled your team, host a "pizza night" During Business Hours, team gets free pizza, "guests" can buy cheap, brainstorm the "80s feel-good" "save the sandlot/music store/Forest Ravine" film that you will make from the footage you have and will now gather. Good, thoughtful "guest" suggestions get a free slice.

    Find Someone Who Narrates Awesomely.

    Edit Film, Post on Facebook, Promote Next Project.

    When this works perfectly, hold further events to gather "teams" with "try-outs" to fix other issues locally (other struggling artist hubs, local parks etc.)

    Upgrade your Activism Speak-easy with Activities for Activists.
    Then get an "A4Activism".

  220. Chris of Nontoxic says:

    I really don't wanna see this venue get shut down. It really is one of the better venues in the Bay Area. We performed there last month and it was insane. The crowd was great and the hospitality of the venue with the pizza service especially for the artists was amazing. Please don't let this venue go. We are really looking forward to coming back out next year.

  221. und1sk0 says:

    Dispatches from Entitlementistan hopes you can find a way to survive...

    I feel like it's more like "it's too late to make x changes / hire x employees". I know anecdotally that he takes good care of his staff. Acquiring new staff is a $50k-$80k proposition for each staff member at least, maybe more depending on what he's spending on benefits, etc.

    The problem with bars or clubs that are successful is that they accomplish this by (a) shorting their staff in terms of salary, wages or benefits and (b) controlling costs to the point that, well, it's just another club with measured drinks served by minimum wage workers playing shitty music that appeals to the khaki and bizdev blue crowd (eg, not even remotely cool). I worked next door to DNA for a little over a year, and I would frequently go to DNA Pizza for coffee or lunch or breakfast or just to get away from the office.

    Their employees were queers and punks and transgender and gender queer persons who might have had a hard time finding steady work elsewhere, but they were always kind to me and everyone else, and while it's easy to say "well, he sucked at running a club" it's hard to say "well, all of these humans are going to be out of work and fuck 'em."

  222. Richard says:

    Get your promoters to give the club a percentage of the door and do inhouse promotions. Also the weed lounge is a great idea for the space upstairs and Folsom Street Good luck we need DNA

  223. KO says:

    Death Guild changed my life and DNA will always be my favorite venue in SF. In college I wrote a speech for a comm class about DNA and Death Guild in particular. Thought it would be nice to share some of it, as we reminisce of the times we've all had here, and this amazing world you've created for us JWZ! Now it is our time to give back, any way we can.

    When I first moved to San Francisco I was 17, and even after turning 18 I couldn't do much in terms of getting into clubs, obviously not going to bars, and didn't really like going to house parties.
    At the time, rave culture was surrounding me and the social circle I was exposed to in college. The corresponding clubs were all bright lights, gross drinks and worst patrons.
    I hated those clubs because the culture was so touchy and alcohol filled and just never my scene.

    I heard about this night at DNA called Death Guild that was all ages, and played goth and industrial, the music that I was listening to in my room, headphones, car rides - not just dancing to beats in a club. When I went for the first time I remember thinking "so these are my people, and this is my place".
    At first, I figured everyone hated outsiders (which I considered myself) and I was fucking nervous walking in there. To me it was an elitist group, some of the coolest people I had ever met, and there was no way I could hang around with them. Little did I know - there is no true "fitting in" at DNA. I never felt out of place because it feels like the land of misfits there. Now I love nothing more than spending time there and showing new people the spectacular world of DNA lounge.

    I've grown up at DNA, and I'm interested in helping to keep it alive. Tell me where to sign, who to pay, how to help, or what to do! I wish someone had all the answers. This community is here for you! You are not alone.

  224. Chris Nelson says:

    My heart is broken.

    DNA facilitated so many precious aspects of my life's story. Your labor of love enriched and enriches my life indescribably. Thank you.

    If there's a patreon, count me in. The only reward that matters is DNA remaining solvent, and being a refuge for wonderful weird people.

  225. PapaLoDown says:

    I'm in PR and marketing, and the first thing that you could do which is small, but will make a huge impact is updating your website to be mobile friendly and aesthetically more pleasing (this neon green is hurting my eyes!). I highly recommend squarespace for a web platform and you could get it done quickly (like in a few days!), for way less than the usual web designer by hiring Dan at leftcoastwebsites.com. The current website style is outdated and is most likely hurting your business trying to get in a younger crowd, corporate sponsors, and attracting other brands that you could partner with, etc. Also, not being mobile compatible will negatively impact people finding your site and/or wanting to stay on the site to look for information. Hope this helps! The independent hustle is tough, thank you for all that you and your team does and for sharing this story with us.

    • Doctor Memory says:

      this neon green is hurting my eyes!

      If there's one thing jwz has been clear about, consistently, since the very beginning, it's that he will go bankrupt before choosing another color scheme.

      Also, eye-gougingly terrible websites are pretty much a staple of the club scene: for example.

    • jwz says:

      Can you explain why you would characterize this website as "not mobile friendly"? Because I think it's reactive as hell.

      Specific suggestions are appreciated. Vague shade like "outdated" doesn't really help me.

      • @jwz:
        I frequently navigate the DNA website/buy tickets with my mobile phone, without issue. I love the green-text-on-black-background old-school monochrome monitor color screen user interface. B
        Please ignore that 'marketing' guy, because he's missing the point, and you are awesome, as is your design.

  226. Cg Acharjya says:

    Patreon. Memberships. Anything. I don't live in sf but I will gladly anytime do what I can to keep you around for when I am there working. Seriously let me know. I'll be there in January and go to everything I can. But in the meantime and around that anything I can do.

  227. I've never been there or will ever be able to go there due to money/health issues but I could feel my heart breaking as I read this. This feels so much like how I felt when I lost my club in Second Life. I know it's nowhere near the same financial or personal burden but I know how it feels to lose a community and have a group of great people scatter to the winds. It sucks.

    I hope things work out no matter what happens. Life moved on for me and though I miss the place I used to run and the people there I have a lot of good people in my life. I hope you have a lot of amazing wonderful people in your life. Just please no matter what happens don't give up on yourself.

    You're a good person. You're worth it.

  228. isaac says:

    If you can sell Codeword, will that fix the problem?

    Have you talked to and/or tried to negotiate with the landlord/bank? If you have a solid business record (which you do) I would think they'd negotiate, rather than have an empty space, or risk you going bankrupt from them trying to sue you for not being able to pay the lease?

  229. Brian B says:

    I've been following your exploits since the Gruntle days even though I am geographically incompatible; I find your approach to problem-solving instructive and your writing entertaining.

    I've been to SF exactly once since DNA Lounge opened; I was at a convention that met in a hotel in the financial district, and since that sounded boring I stayed at the youth hostel downtown. I took my one opportunity for a trip south of Market to go to DNA Pizza for a slice. I liked it.

    That's my fond memory. Not much of one, but I'll take it. It would suck to go back to SF and find DNA not there, but these things happen.

  230. Kel says:

    I love this place and would hate see it go. By far my favorite venue. I suggest to post more videos but like not just of people having it looks like that everywhere. Post what's going on. Like hey a new comedy act. Here's a clip of how much fun we had last time. If you put a mix of previous music depending on the advertised even that may also help. People see who's playing but don't always know or take the time to know. Good luck! You guys are so amazing

  231. Sarah Rubin says:

    There is no reason that you shouldn't be able to break your lease for Codeword if you decide to divest that portion of your business. There's PLENTY of legal theories that you could use to get out of it. Try talking to California Lawyers For the Arts. They frequently advise people pro bono. And anyways, Information on breaking a lease is pretty easy and cheap to attain. It's all just how you negotiate it. It would also be expensive for them to try to sue you in the first place. You can walk away if you do it right -people do it all the time.

  232. mattl says:

    Down to kick in $10 a month via Patreon. After $n give people a DNA VIP card which lets them and a friend to skip the line once every month or something. I love my DNA shirt, I'll go buy another one now. Maybe offer some kind of podcast based on the current audio streams to Patreon subscribers.

    I like both venues but really enjoyed the indie music at Codeword last time I was in SF.

    Bring back Tofurkey at DNA Pizza!

    Oh and your emails frequently go into spam on Gmail of late, I've been fishing them out of there manually.

    • jwz says:

      Don't know what to do about gmail thinking it's spam; I assume this is because some critical number of people think that the way you unsubscribe from a list is not by hitting the "unsubscribe" button but by marking it as spam.

      • mattl says:

        Very possibly, yes. I know there's some header you can add to emails that'll force an unsubscribe when they hit the spam button.

        Because Gmail can help users automatically unsubscribe from your email, we strongly recommend the following:

        Provide a 'List-Unsubscribe' header which points to an email address or a URL where the user can unsubscribe easily from future mailings. (Note: This is not a substitute method for unsubscribing.)

        Also see this at the bottom of emails from time to time, which might not help:


        • jwz says:

          We do List-Unsubscribe in the headers, and spf1, DKIM1 and DMARC1 in DNS. Also SMTP TLS.

          • mattl says:

            For whatever reason, Google doesn't provide the unsubscribe link. Anyway, Patreon :)

            • fantasai says:

              Gmail's team is shit at basic things like that. Like, they still can't output quoted text properly in their HTML mail (and refuse to fix it). The more properly you use email tech, the worse they are at handling it. -___-

  233. Callisto says:

    I have made it to DNA for Death Guild once a year since moving away from the bay area once a year, and attended Death Guild weekly from when I first discovered it, when introduced by a very good friend. You guys mean a lot to me. You introduced me to my favorite music, and in my favorite format: Something for everybody. I took your format and adapted it to start my own events where I live, with some success, and have always been consistent that if people want to see the real thing, they MUST go to DNA, because I am but an imitation.

    These days, I suffer from seizures - I have lost the ability to regularly attend events unless I want to suffer significant pain, and worse, as a result - Unfortunately, strobe lights aren't my friends. I still go out to your club once a year despite that pain because you are worth it. Seeing Brian at the coat-check, who has greeted me like an old friend for nearly a decade and a half, makes me feel at home - I hope I will continue to have that home to go to for many years yet.

  234. Paul Rucker says:

    I don't want to imagine a Sam Francisco without DNA Lounge. Love, love, love....

  235. the hatter says:

    I'm encouraged by a comments page so long that I'm not going to finish reading before throwing in my own support, no doubt echoing much of what's already been said. It's a great thing you've done, and you've done it in a great way. I'm very much not-local but had fun the time I did get to drop in, even bringing some locals along for their first introduction. It would be a shame for SF and it's many varied communities if it stopped being your thing. I didn't know about the club or it's history before you started talking about it. You're doing the right thing to draw a line where your commitment ends and others' needs to step up, though I'm sure you've drawn and erased that line before and probably will again, even at a cost to the comfort of you and yours.

    Here's to a long and healthy future for DNA Lounge with you at the helm, and to all of those that enjoy it, whether from the floor or the stage, supported by the majority participants.

  236. Osby says:

    I remember the opening night, or soft opening whatever it was that night... me & my Brother Dave went to Butter & the bouncer there at the time who was a good Homie, who was also a bouncer @ 1015 & Snodrift, gave me 2 passes for the re-opening of DNA across the street... so after a drink, we went there & for the next 4 hours, we had the best fuckin' time!!! Next thing I knew, Shane & Amber started :code there on Thursdays & it became like mine & a whole bunch of mine, FNFers, & Rave Family Mondo Thursday night hang out for hella years. LoL, I even got this Canadian Jungle DJ, Jacob Cino, booked to spin 1 of those nights. It's where I 1st met Disco D! I hella remember we threw a Jungle party there. I went to a few SisterSF shindigs there. The hella funniest thing that ever happen to me there was when I got 86ed for bein' hyper lololol by the bouncer dude who had this shaved ? on the back of his head & who eventurally became a good Homie & apologized for bein' a dick to me that night! Oh oh oh yeah, lol, I remember when my crew, Evil Breaks, threw our anniversary shindig there & eeveryone had sooo much fun!! Hella Yummy memories of that place man!! Last year I got my got my Brother Arcoh a chance to do a tag set with Forest Green & they killed it! I'm hella gonna try on my end to save this place man! Back in the day, I was part of SFLNC & I remember, we worked hella hard with City Hall to make sure that this club got all their permits & licenses & caberet stuff... DNA has always been my dream club where I hella wanted to do my own events at when I was able & I hella still wanna make that mondo yummy reality come true! I'll see what up with all the old skool promoters & fave rave crews from back when to see what we can do!!

  237. I fully plan on sharing this post. But I hope that the DNA Lounge never closes. As a DJ being stuck here in Hawai'i, & DJing for nearly 10 years (I will make 10 years in November of 2017), I personally know the struggles you are going through from a nightlife/DJ/promoter standpoint.

    To be honest, if I had a bucket list of places I would love to have the opportunity to DJ at, it would be DNA Lounge at the top of that list from the stories alone I have heard from friends & artists that I love in the Goth/Industrial "scene" (I really hate that word. Trust me when I say this, my bucket list of places I want to DJ is very short. The next place on that list would be a place called Midnight in D.C. that my DJ mentor, DJ Sailor Gloom has told me about.

    Financially it would be difficult for me for the sole fact that cost of living in Hawai'i is very difficult & a majority of us live literally paycheck to paycheck. Which, of course, makes planning mainland vacations difficult, next to impossible. More so for someone of my age & social standing/income.

    I really do hope & pray that DNA Lounge doesn't close. I would do my best from a social media standpoint to help spread the word. Because even if I never get the opportunity to DJ at your venue (it would also be the first time I ever DJ'd outside of Hawai'i), I would love to at least attend at the bare minimum.

  238. nfoonf says:

    I have read your blogs and Stories for about nearly 20 Years.
    I live in the EU and probably will never visit SF in my life, but is there something like a tip-jar i could throw some money in?
    Thanks for keeping up the good work and good taste in music.

  239. Jk says:

    What about a catering venue? People are always looking for event spaces for weddings and other events. You don't need to do much other than let a catering company know they can book your space and serve food. I used to work for a huge company in SF. If you need anything, I'd offer what help I could give. Not necessarily a "cool" solution, but pretty solid otherwise? Maybe.

  240. Luna says:

    I moved away from the Bay Area in 1998, but since then have hit up DNA Lounge for Death Guild & shows whenever I was back to visit family. I finally moved back home this August & have only been to DNA once thus far. I would absolutely pay a membership fee to support DNA! No perks necessary other than helping keep such a rad place open! (Although I would definitely be more likely to go to special Death Guild events on Saturdays & would appreciate front of the line access occasionally.)

  241. Anlam Kuyusu says:

    I love the DNA lounge. I used to go there quite often when I was living in SF. Now I don't, so I can't support it.

    I've met a lot of great women there. I have had great conversations with the staff and some of the performers. It was truly one of those places that made San Francisco San Francisco.

    Nonetheless, reading this nails home the message that DNA Lounge is just not a viable business - you've struggled with it for so long, I think the best you could do is to just let it go. Or if you can, just operate it in a self-sustaining capacity.

    You have spent more than $5M on it - that is more than any of us could ask for.

    (You know actually there may have been even more effective altruistic causes out there - now that I think of it.)

    Anyway, it's best not to swim against the economic currents that are coming your way.

  242. Martin says:

    I live on the opposite side of the ocean and have come to DNA really only a handful of times, whenever life has happened to drop me in SF.

    And yet I would happily give you guys $100 a year or whatever because I feel your pain. I have helped run an arts venue in my own city and have had that struggle. I have watched the places that made my city wonderful wither and die.

    I probably can't afford to do this for every awesome venue I've ever been to that's struggling. But I'll do it for DNA and I know that goes for a whole lot of other people all over the world too, simply because of the connection I have from reading your blog and the DNA updates. And I know that a whole shitload of people all over the world read both.

    So give us some way to do this, be it Patreon or whatever else. Monetize the lazyweb.

    If it helps DNA to continue to exist, I'd be satisfied. If I get a badge to wear and someone says thank you next time I visit, I'd be overjoyed.

  243. MCampos says:

    Ive only gone here for some bomb pizza after a night of drinking, but can always see how loyal your customers are.

    i would suggest you contact some of the bands that probably got their start in DNA lounge and see if you could round up a big weekend event with multiple bands playing to make it a benefit concert. You know people can pay up to 100 bucks if they know its for a cause. Market it in all social media from instagram to twitter to facebook. Bands can do a lot to maintain their fan base, including playing for free for the right event, they would gain more exposure than ever. Just a thought...

  244. psych0tron says:

    Haven't browsed all the comments, nor am I familiar with DNA by anything other then reputation since the midwest is a bit of a haul from SF, but have you ever considered monetizing your stage's video feeds? While I've certainly appreciated being able to flip them on occasionally and catch portions of some amazing live acts that I never would've gotten to see otherwise, it's also a service that many other venues charge a premium for. And considering some of the live acts that come through DNA, I have little doubt that many people would not mind paying a premium for that and could provide an additional line of revenue for the club?

  245. Andrew says:

    If donations are good enough for wikipedia and public TV/radio, why not DNALounge? I'm in the geographically challenged category, so direct attendance has never been a real option for me, but I think I do get something out of reading about the club in your blog and on the website, and would make a donation if that was an available option.

  246. clover beats says:

    This venue is one of the first venues i had the honor of playing when i was booked to come up from sacramento to play....and might i say it was one of the most memorable in my life...and i know many of my fellow sac cats always loved to come out there atleast once a week to rage...so u got mine and many others support from out here in the 916 if u guys end up throwing any fundraiser events and need djs to fill in i am willing to donate my time and gas and drive up there and bring as many sac kids as i can

  247. Eric says:

    I never attend shows at DNA for a variety of reasons (mostly because I have to be asleep too early), but I'd gladly support the club via a Borderlands-style sponsorship. I firmly believe that what you do is important to the community in many ways.

  248. Sten says:

    Having moved from the Bay Area in 1994 to Seattle, while I still regret it in some ways, this sort of thing makes it more and more obvious that SF is rapidly becoming Eastside Manhattan without the low-rent areas of charm. Everywhere cool, the tech industry has landed with a massive thud and driven out the character of the place. I used to say I'd love to live in San Francisco, but they'd have to quadruple my salary for me to afford it. Now, I'm not sure there's any real value if places like the DNA lounge are getting killed, because money is all that matters. It's good that there are still museums in SF, otherwise why bother? I can get a $9 microbrew on a plane to Hawaii, I don't need to go to my (formerly) favorite watering holes to get ripped off.

    SRL started in San Francisco, and have since moved their base of operation to Petaluma. Places like DV8, I-Beam, and one club on Divisadero (and Brothers'-In-Law BBQ!) that I can't remember the name of, these places were fantastic for new/obscure music and art performances.

    That's the San Francisco that I remember and mourn. And if DV8 closes, it's just one more nail in the cool factor that I always thought San Francisco had more than anywhere else. I'm no longer proud of my adopted hometown.

    • jrace says:

      " ... and one club on Divisadero (and Brothers'-In-Law BBQ!) that I can't remember the name of, these places were fantastic for new/obscure music and art performances."

      You're probably thinking of the Kennel Club.

  249. John Sweet says:

    I'd pay $100/year for a prime membership, especially if it included something like access to ticket sales a day early. Front-of-line is nice, but I find it drives class resentment when the airlines do it, so it seems risky. I couldn't give a crap about schwag, that stuff clogs my closets as it is.

    Jamey, I'm sorry to hear this. For me, you and John Gilmore mollified the soul-killing meat grinder of the startup lottery -- guys for whom winning didn't mean joining the suburban McMansion golf-club-and-Escalade set, but trying to make their world a better place for others.

    I'm trying to believe that just because something ended, doesn't mean that it failed. Everything ends.

  250. Nate says:

    Patreon, no rewards, I'd back it.

    I'm trying to save the last Oakland video rental shop, which is even more of a challenge. Ironically, I was just thinking I should email you to get advice on how to keep a neighborhood institution alive. Good luck and give us a chance to help, even if we can't always attend.

  251. Jayobee says:

    You took a huge gamble. You failed. Deal with it. If you had succeeded, you wouldve laughed your ass to the bank. Looks like you didn't do much for your customers or the community while your business were thriving. Dont be begging for help when other people are in so much in need than you. You selfish fuck.

  252. Amy says:

    I've only made it a handful of times, because I'm broke, and currently living in the South Bay without a car. Just pinged a friend that I talk about going with, to see if we can make it up there though.

    If you set up a patreon, I'll throw in a little and wouldn't expect any perks in return. Also going to look at buying merchandise in the store if I can't make it up there.

    I'll probably write a longer post on my own blog later, but I just want to say thank you. For building DNA Lounge into what it is, for being so open and frank here on the blog, and for being the passionate person you are.

  253. Kenny McElroy says:

    I dont have much but I just can't sit here and allow this historical place to close without at least helping. What can I do to help? I go back a lonnnng ways with DNA Lounge, dancing.

  254. Katie says:

    If attendance is an issue, why not work with Eventbrite -- they can promote your events for free to the SF Bay Area audience and get more people to your shows. 1015 Folsom, Ruby Skye, Mezzanine all work with them and are seeing really good results in terms of attendance and ticket sales.

  255. Sam says:

    Please reach out to the SF Board of Supervisors ASAP. They won't help with Codeword, but DNA's been around long enough to qualify as a Legacy Business in the SOMA district in the way the The Stud has.

    • Sam says:

      I see other people have raised this but are stuck on the timeline thing. Ignore that, reach out anyway. The primary determinative factor for access to the recently passed zoning and funding rules is impact, not duration.

      Given that Deathguild is (at least according to their own branding) the oldest continuously active Goth/Industrial night in the US, that alone qualifies you for legacy protections.

  256. Steve Mattos says:

    SELL. OUT.

    Dirty words, I know, but if you want to stay alive, think about doing two nights a month where you cater to the lowest common denominator, whatever that might be at the moment. Doesn't matter what. Doesn't matter who. Book two big names per month, promote the shit out of them, and get heads through the door. Trap show, dubstep show, kiddie show...whatever. GET HEADS IN THE DOOR. GET MONEY. WORK ON THAT BOTTOM LINE.

    That's it. There's always this desire to "keep it real" or "keep it local" or some other noble but impractical notion.

    It might sting a little, but to quote Marcellus Wallace, "that's pride fuckin' with you. Fuck pride."

    Unless you keep the place afloat, there is no discussion about art or keeping it real or any other nonsense. Sell out two Saturdays a month with some garbage shows and know that you did it so that you could keep it going for the rest of the month.

    Consider the airplane analogy: When the pressure in the cabin drops below what is sustainable and those little masks fall from the ceiling, the instructions - even for parents - say "put the masks on yourself first THEN help those around you." The rationale is that until you're secure, you are in no position to consider anything else.

    SELL. OUT.

    • phox says:

      Agreed. Solve the business problem first. Everything else is a bandaid at best. Put capitalism to work for you. Whatever is left over after capitalism eats, Art can have. Sux but it works.
      1) Figure out what the masses want.
      2) Provide it for whatever the market will bare.
      3) Build your Profit shield - use shield to defend Art.

  257. Michael Warnock says:

    I had some very memorable experiences at DNA when it was brand new, and I was new to the city. The linux boxen with their glowing trackballs made me feel like I'd come home.

    I'll definitely be looking for opportunities to help out, and I'll try ordering your pizza again (I've tried twice, in an app, and been informed, after I ordered, that you were closed, but I'll try again).

  258. norm says:


    0 of 0?

    Man, that VNV Nation show in 2000 was epic :)

  259. LHOOQtius says:

    Been going to DNA from when Jamie reopened it in 2001 until I moved to Los Angeles two years ago. Many fond memories of shows and dance nights of all sorts. It's the best venue in SF and has been for 15 years. It would be a tragedy for DNA to close.

    So I suggest not MIS-designing Kickstarter and running a Kickstarter (or, better, IndieGoGo since you keep whatever you make even if you don't hit goals). Design the rewards to actually be properly valued (including accounting for overhead needed to run the campaign).

    That's a good start.

    So is the "selling out" strategy of booking whatever is going to make the most money a couple nights a week. I don't know what that is. I would've figured EDM, but there are plenty of EDM shows at DNA and it's still in trouble. So I guess the answer is corporate events (hey, that's what keeps football stadiums afloat), sad to say. I'm not sure any kind of music is packing 'em in these days -- lots of venues are closing, despite what kinds of music they play. So, maybe reaching out to your friends who stayed in the commercial software world to host high-profitability events for their employers.

    Those are my two main suggestions off the top of my head.

    • LHOOQtius says:

      Also, being in the film industry, I can say that film shoots are barking up the wrong tree. We pay locations as poorly as we can, and hardly anything at all shoots in SF anyway (SF's film laws are among the most aggravating). Don't bother.

      (You could theoretically turn codeword into a full-time filming location for wannabe YouTube stars, it's about the right size, but you don't know how to run that business and would need to make a fairly difficult hire to do so.)

      Corporate events are the way to go. Maybe also finding the right partner to turn Codeword into a cannabis lounge.

  260. I moved to San Francisco from the New England suburbs in 2007, and Chocolate Syrup Wrestling was that first weekend. It forever set the tone of how amazing the city could be. DNA Lounge will always be a defining SF club, and if it ever closes the city will have lost an important part of what truly makes it unique. I'm currently back in the northeast, but for the love of God, save this club!

  261. Anonymous says:

    Why not start a GoFundMe page?

    • If the problem is the hundreds to low thousands of dollars a month a successful GoFundMe or Patreon campaign could be relied on to bring in, I imagine that effort would be better spent firing one employee, and getting the same net change in cash flow without also having to spend time and money maintaining and marketing the campaign.

      Four- and five-digit GoFundMe and Patreon campaigns are rare to the point of nonexistant. Four-figure-per-issue Patreon campaigns are rare enough that they're the highlight of the site, and, while GoFundMe campaigns tend to reach five-digit goals often enough to feature on the front page of the site, those are one-shot events, not recurring income. A one-shot injection of money doesn't fix DNA Lounge's cash-flow problems.

      A minimum-wage employee costs $1,530 in gross wages, plus overhead, a month if they're working a full 40 hours a week. I have no idea how many employee-hours DNA Lounge pays for, or whether they pay above minimum wage, but I'd be very skeptical of any proposals that would bring in less money than that. Paying someone to run the program would be a net loss.

  262. Gary Stahlberg says:

    Hi Jamie. This is just brainstorming, and maybe someone has suggested it already, but one idea you might consider is reincorporating the DNA Lounge (or whatever corporate entity you have that runs it) as a not-for-profit organization. The down side, obviously, is that any upside profit in good years following a turn-around would not distribute to the owner(s) in the way that it would now. However, if it's true as you wrote that DNA has never turned a sustained profit since its opening, you might not actually be giving up very much in practice from reincorporating as a non-profit. Another down side is that it would probably take some time to get all the paperwork/tax/membership/etc. details up and running, so any financial improvement likely would not be immediate or quick. Another thing to consider is that you would likely need to re-vamp the governance structure, instituting a board that might not allow you the same individual freedom to make decisions regarding the enterprise to which you're accustomed as a for-profit owner.

    On the plus side, here are a few benefits that the venue and you personally might see from not-for-profit status: (1) Being able to draw a salary, rather than hoping for a distribution from any residual net income; (2) Being able to seek non-profit status from the IRS and CA Franchise Tax Board as well, thus perhaps having DNA's revenue become exempt from federal and state income tax; (3) Depending on the type of tax exemption, donations to the DNA might become tax-deductible for the donor, thus encouraging giving; (4) Many grant-giving institutions that provide money for culture and arts operations have bylaws that prohibit giving to organizations other than certain categories of non-profits, so not-for-profit status is the entry requirement for consideration for such monies. (Admittedly, any individual arts grant is probably going to be on the order of several thousand dollars, rather than tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the impact towards ongoing solvency from any one source is probably not going to be large.)

    Perhaps you could reincorporate as a San Francisco cultural performing arts center organization, thus hopefully opening up new opportunities for subsidy or aid from the city or state. You could probably also keep the pizza businesses without running afoul of the non-profit rules so long as the revenue or net income contribution from the ancillary businesses wasn't above a certain percentage of the overall entity's total revenue/net income. I'm not sure how booze sales or liquor licensing would work in that scenario. Maybe a separate for-profit entity you own would solely provide the bar and act as a third-party vendor for the center.

    Some of the other commenters are suggesting some sort of subscription or sponsorship idea. There are different ways one might go about setting up this under the new entity. If you were to make a membership-based organization (say, like the Kennedy Center in D.C. or certain theaters in S.F.), you could offer membership perks for defined contribution levels. These wouldn't necessarily have to be give-aways that eat away at the revenue you're trying to raise. For example, you might allow members to purchase tickets to scheduled shows 2 days earlier than would be available to the general public, or you might have member/donor-only events, or you might provide for preferred entry or seating. You could also have both individual and corporate memberships, planned estate giving, etc.

    Anyway, just an idea. Best of luck to you and the rest of the crew at the DNA and Codeword. I'm still stuck out here on the East Coast, but I very much hope that DNA as the center of my community there in San Francisco endures for years to come.

  263. Blake Lemoine says:

    The first thing that comes to my mind is that the data which DNA generates is valuable. You could potentially log things like what songs are playing at what times and correlate that data with bar sales and the number of people dancing (or some other engagement measurement). In the long term you could potentially partner with a streaming music company such as Pandora, Spotify or a new startup for automatic generation of party playlists. In the short term, it probably wouldn't take long before you could train a model capable of helping eek out a few percentage point increase in bar sales. You could potentially even see small long term gains in attendance once you have enough data to build a model that spans multiple evenings.

  264. bendra says:

    Ok I've gone ahead and bought a VIP ticket for the next time I'm in town. I'm doing my part. On to codeword:

    If it's not working as a club, is it a possibility to put in cubes and rent it to a startup? It sounds dumb but I've seen worse workspaces. Yes, it would be anti-mission but it if keeps DNA afloat wouldn't that be worth it?

  265. Tilo says:

    It would be great to see more deep-house parties at DNA. This worked pretty well in the past.

  266. Kyle Williamson says:

    I'm absolutely gutted to read this - I first read your blog as a pimply-faced 13 year old reading about the history of the internet up until that point. 17 years later, it's been an interesting story to read along the way. To some extent, my own involvement in a very controversial alcohol licencing application here in the UK drew many parallels to what you went through, although on a much smaller scale.

    I'm totally sure you (and your accountant!) have explored this, but I'm just putting it out there: I assume Codeword & DNA Lounge are both tied up in Sensoria LLC and that you've personally guaranteed the leases - and you can't just knock "CODEWORD SF LLC" on the head through liquidation? I suspect the term used in California is different to the one here. I'm also totally sure you have explored every option of keeping the doors open with less staffing etc - but it's just not feasible?

    I'm also assuming from what I read, and perhaps (incorrectly) through the lines, that the trouble with the local bands etc. is that they don't want to play at Codeword (not glam enough) and want to be the headliner on the "big stage" at DNA but don't get the crowd to even cover the cost of opening the doors & promoting the event? I ran a couple of events here in the UK, and hit this same problem - I assume that bands that have a small ego but a big pull are basically non-existent?

    Some people here criticize you for X decision or Y decision - but frankly, if you've sunk five million dollars into something, you get to at least do some things the way you want to.

    One thing comes to mind... is it feasible to turn Codeword into a proper sit-down restaurant? All those overpriced condos residents are going to need food options? Presumably you have most of the equipment needed to? Obviously I don't really know the SF market at all but I'm assuming that with the all ages "restaurant" alcohol licences this isn't a planning/ABC issue? The positives obviously are that the GP is substantial on food service, but I'm guessing there might be other issues I don't know about in doing this? If that's a case of "already thought about that" then I'm sorry!

  267. Nima says:

    You mentioned what needs to be done. Get a big grant from the city. Contact Yoshi's or other similar businesses that have got arts grants from the city and ask them to introduce you to the grant writer that wrote the grant. They will do the rest.

    If you can't find a grant writer that way, contact the city and ask them if their records have a grant writer for Yoshi's or other entities that have gotten arts grants.

    The city has a $10 Billion budget and they have substantial amounts put aside for the arts. You may need to change the legal entity to a 501 C 3 but that should not be a problem since you do not really make money and as a 501 C 3 you can take a salary for yourself.

  268. March 22nd of 2012 was Goth Night Hubba Hubba at DNA Lounge, and the night my now-wife and I decided to take a chance on more than friendship.

    Marianne and I were out that night with [the legendary] Jade, who helped push us together by saying she wanted to set me up with someone else (what I suspect was a ruse all along). We now celebrate March 22 every year as our 'Dating Anniversary,' and we kept a pair of those little plastic bat rings they were giving out that night— they couldn't be squeezed onto most adult hands, but fit Marianne's tiny fingers perfectly. I actually used one to estimate her ring size years later when I proposed.

    DNA will always be special to us and we will be showing up (with friends!) to help.

  269. Adam Bink says:

    I would consider charging (and I would definitely pay) for the amazing mashups you currently offer for free. Or build a subscription model like Spotify and Pandora. We pay for either music or ads on the internet everywhere else--why not here? It is unique, that's for sure--it's hard to find quality mashups elsewhere.

    I had my 30th birthday party at Bootie in 2014 and badly would like to see it open. I would be happy to volunteer in some capacity if you have a project to help with. -Adam

  270. A G says:

    It's time to pull back the doors, bust open the books, and make a call for help - to Bar Rescue

  271. Entertainment Investment Groups Angels

    On this site there are tons of wealthy investors in the Bay Area that would be ideal for contributing to the cause.


  272. Bring Remedy parties back. Those were awesome and packed.

  273. David says:

    Honestly, I'm shocked Frolic didn't seek out DNA as a venue. It seems like it would have been right at home... Colorful geeky weirdos that tend not to engage in fistfights and like dancing while drunk. They completely outgrew The Stud and went somewhere else.

  274. Sandro says:

    I live in LA and have always seen the DNA Lounge as the New Wave/Industrial/Goth Mecca of Northern California. I have seen many shows including the Death Guild anniversaries. I'm always happy to call in sick at work to drive up to SF in the middle of the week to see bands like Imperative Reaction, AYRIA, Assemblage 23, System Syn, Information Society, etc. I wish I could help by going more often, but I hope it doesn't close down so I can go any time I have the chance.

  275. Lizard says:

    This saddens me. I've had many fun, awesome times at dna lounge. :(

    A few things
    1) I would probably never have considered going to a codeword event before this because I would have NO IDEA what they are! You talk about ROT13, but it's impossible to find a description. I had to go to the Facebook page, and read the description in order to realize that it's not some private club happy hour and something that I could actually go to. (Same goes with dna lounges hubba hubba, etc. The names are so cryptic and it's so hard to find a description, I would probably give up on trying to figure out what it is before actually going).

    2) Collaborate with sf event groups/ websites! A few ideas:
    - Daybreaker
    - Meetup groups
    - Fun cheap sf

    3) Host more events that will go viral! When I saw the Brittany/Taylor mashup, I saw sooo many fb friends that were 'interested' or 'going'. These kind of things, with descriptive facebook events to go along with it, become very popular on Facebook. Why not host a silent rave night (where people where headphones). Or try a swing dance night? Or a salsa night? You could host lessons in the main room, and upstairs, have room for open dance? Collaborate with sf meetup groups or facebook groups that already exist.

  276. Dorian Dietrich says:

    I'm down to support via Patreon. I tried to get a job there once upon a time because I believe in their philosophy. Currently support Amanda Palmer and Hubba Hubba Revue via Patreon. Try reaching out to Jack Conte, the founder - as a musician I'm sure he'd be interested in seeing DNA survive, and he could provide guidance in best way to leverage the platform. Personally I'd support without expecting a perk, but it would be doable to make tiered sponsorship - $1/mo gets you eternal thanks, $5 gets you some sort of special merch item, $10 gets you access to live stream (yeah, take that thing off the public site), $50 gets you discounted tickets, $100 gets you discounted tickets and drinks, etc. (I'm throwing out random things here). I think there are enough people out there who find DNA integral and valuable that they would be willing to find even $1 or $5 a month to help, and every bit helps. Just to put in perspective, Amanda Palmer receives over $35K per "thing" she puts out, from over 9500 patrons. If DNA is operating at a yearly 400K loss they need approx $33K per month. Over half of those patrons are at the $1 or $3 per thing level. If you mobilize the community to offer the price of a cup of coffee once a month to help their beloved club, that paired with those who can offer more could add up quickly. (Amanda did have the benefit of having a very robust and loyal community, so it would take a lot of work possibly to build up that kind of patron base for DNA, but stil ...) Even if Patreon can't support the entire deficit, there must be some changes that can be made to run more efficiently and narrow that deficit. Our community needs this space; let's leverage the community to keep it here. <3

  277. Mike Carpenter says:

    The last time I was at DNA lounge I was throwing a party there in 2009 or 2010.
    I used to go there all the time for the REMEDY events too. I love the space.
    If you are interested in assistance and ideas for some new events, I am willing to help.

    I have some ideas that may help you start turning a profit and I would not want anything financial in return until you get your finances above water and start turning a profit.

    I hate seeing great SF venues close. let me know if you're interested 247djs@gmail.com

  278. SurprisedByLife says:

    I read this post in spite of never having heard of the DNA Lounge. Then I saw that it took over a year to re-open.

    So I went back to the earliest blog postings from when escrow closed and the cleansing started (cockroaches in the telephone, etc.).

    It is poignant: a tale of success and loss, challenge and victory, naivete and knowledge, ambition and selflessness (these, not in opposition).

    It is the prototype of all stories.

    My idea for money? Write a book. Start with "We're going to close" post, shortened a tad, followed by the beginning, from 2000 to opening weekend, just as they are.

  279. Bob Ippolito says:

    Like others said, I'd buy a membership (or even invest a modest amount) in exchange for reasonable perks that are fun for me and not very expensive to the club. I don't go very frequently anymore but I still love the place and would like to support its continued existence. Please do feel free to email me if you put something together.

  280. nooj says:

    I'd give you $100/year if you tried to find a way for clubs to better detect and deter pickpockets.

    My phone just got pickpocketed out of a seemingly secure pocket--not at DNA--along with dozens of others. One of the thieves was arrested, but the other two made it out of the venue. Even insured and shit, my loss is about $500 (deductibles, loss of revenue, etc.).

    I go out a lot, and I'd pay extra knowing there is a statistically lower chance of everyone losing their property.

  281. blake (cloak) says:

    i met the love of my life there.

  282. spoonyfork says:

    Out here in the frontier over the years I'd listen to the live streams in my hovel pretending I was at the club. Never made it into the club, doubt I ever will but I've been a fan since the Netscape days.

    Would you consider a public speaking tour, perhaps supporting your book?

    Weed. Not a smoking lounge but edibles, oils, etc. you know, pharmacy like.

  283. Cassia Brill says:

    I'm traveling tomorrow and will return in January. I love the DNA Lounge and if I could I'd go every Monday (and I used to), but after my van was vandalized twice (and once I saw every single car (even beaters) on Harrison with their windows broken), I have to admit I've been reluctant. The police will do nothing. The area used to be much safer. I know you have no control over it, but if you analyze the other businesses in the area, I would be surprised if they have not received similar complaints. I know people who have nothing in their cars and still have their cars vandalized around Harrison and 11th. it's hard to justify an outing that may end up costing $300 for a broken window. :/

  284. Raina M says:

    After reading your post, I've been thinking about what keeps me away from DNA Lounge when I live 2 blocks away, love its concept, love some of the niche music genres that play there, and can eat GF pizza there. These are just my opinions, but might help you understand why some of your target audience doesn't end up spending money at DNA every week.

    I haven't yet had an experience with the 24-hour pizza place that seemed sufficiently convenient, timely, or valuable. Many times, my gluten free order has been made with gluten and I've had to wait amidst a large, intoxicated crowd for it to be made again. While waiting, I've observed that the throughput for late night pizza is pretty freaking bad, even if you're there for a show and didn't have your order screwed up. It makes the crowding issues extra bad, since there are tons of people waiting inside for pizza instead of eating and/or moving outside/into the club. It also seems like the pizza is expensive for its quality, but I actually don't care about that part. If you're tired and/or intoxicated and are ordering pizza either as a club patron or external pizza-lover, the #1 thing you want is speed and convenience. And that will likely be your customer base, if you want to continue doing 24/hr pizza. If cutting back on the other menu items to go all-in on pizza (quality and efficiency) would help, I'd say do it! Many pizza shops in NY make a killing with limited menus of amazing pizza.

    Okay, enough about pizza. What about music? I happen to like several of the electronic genres (hard dance, psytrance, 90's electronica) which are often played at DNA. What stops me from going is often the all-ages ticket. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that a. it's awesome to support the next generation of alternative music lovers and b. that some of these events may have no attendance without the all-ages tag. But I suggest doing more 21+ electronic events, and maybe branching out in genres to pull in the older electronic music crowd. I'm not saying to book mainstream EDM DJ's like Ruby Skye. But I know many people who love electronic music who don't go to DNA because they don't find it appealing to party with a bunch of high-schoolers. If you cater to the older (20s/30s) crowd specifically, they will bring friends and certainly buy more drinks than the 17 year olds.

    That being said, I will certainly keep supporting DNA by attempting to order pizza and dancing to psytrance with the all-ages crowd. I did go to Cyberdelia last year and LOVED it. I think the concept of showing a movie and then having a dance party is great! People can come for 1 or both parts of the event. Maybe you can throw more events like that to capitalize on cult movie followings that have natural music pairings.

    Anyways, I hope this perspective is helpful, since I'm the kind of person who should be at DNA all the time and yet I'm not.

  285. My favorite experience at DNA was Paganfest in 2011. Honestly, it was probably my favorite show of all time. I was still pretty new to the folk metal scene then. What was the lineup? Huntress, Arkona, Alestorm, and Turisas? I mean, holy shit, how could that show not be awesome.

    That show was everything I want a show to be. Arkona's set that night was one of my favorite experiences on this earth, and it kept me coming to your venue for years after.
    I'm coming to see Perturbator in January. I'm hoping it won't be my last time at DNA, but if it is, thank you for everything.

    I will do what I can. Best of luck.

  286. Brian Heaton says:

    Started with King's X in 2004. Last show was Fates Warning in Dec. 2013. We drive 2 hours to attend. Thats harder these days. Wish i had the answers. But i appreciate the work everyone does. It has become a great place to see bands.

  287. Steve says:

    You need subscription revenue. Memberships are the way (c.f. the Borderlands ones you mocked), specifics I really cant provide as really I'm in none of your show demographics. Personally, I'll try and get pizza....

  288. sandy says:

    I am interested in perhaps partnering with you in some fashion. I threw an event there on Sunday night, the Les Twins vs. Kida the Great/Jabari Timmons battle and I really love the place. Please email me if you want to discuss further.

  289. metalfreak says:

    20 somethings love to drink and socialize more than dance, it seems ( think Elbo Room, Hemlock, or even the new Elis shithole that used to be). Me, I'm in it for the metal but do appreciate the Unicorn people u meet 'n the street. Gotta work for livin so cant be partying at midnight when i gotta get up a 6, & 11st is a commute from downtown. Be cool if CW had a mudwrestling happy hour or some weird shit going on at lunch or happy hour. Not far from convention center and a lot of bored office workers. Lunchtime rave would be fun. Dont know anything about entertainment biz but assume most of your cash flow comes from drinks which kinda elimates the day worker crowd $$ but might appeal to horny conventioneers ;) Hope it works out for ya. Saw Obituary, Sepultura, Pentagram, Weedeater and many others there ( but had to take the next day off) The End.

  290. Rebecca says:

    I just ordered a tank top, since I live in Florida and can not go to a show or stop by for pizza.

    I traveled to San Francisco three times and two of those times I went to shows. I saw Halou, who I never imagined I would see live, until they were booked at DNA. I also saw The Last Internationale, which also seemed like a long shot to see live.

    To me, DNA is a reason to go to San Francisco. Show this comment to the people who decide where the grants go. You bring people to your city and then they have the chance to fall in love. Half the reason for my first trip was to see Halou there. I returned twice and spent a lot of money in the city. You attract tourism by offering what no other place offers. One of my points of interest for my next visit is seeing Mortified. My next visit could not be the same without DNA.

  291. I would gladly donate 1KUSD a year to keep the venue alive, and would not expect anything in return. I would do it solely for the joy and hilarity of reading (proprietor's) killer acerbic wit in the blog. Set up a donor site and the money is yours! Do it! Do it now!

  292. karl l says:

    I love the DNA Lounge for live music. It is such a great setup with a high stage and upstairs for a lot of great options for viewing.

    I will be sad if it closed down.

    I don't go regularly for the weekly events. I usually go to see specific bands, and unfortunately there are not a lot of bands I go to see; they are few and far between so I would say I go to maybe 4 - 5 shows a year here. Most of the other shows I go to are at Slim's, Bottom of the Hill, Thee Parkside, The Independent and other local venues.

    I usually see more of the punk bands here as I am unfamiliar with the other scenes here so not sure about attendance at the other events. So for the shows I have been to, I feel that bands booked here are much too small to be playing here so many times the shows do not fill up even with the upstairs closed off. Many of these bands would be playing smaller places like Bottom of the Hill or Thee Parkside. The bands that should be playing here are bands that would play at Slim's or larger venues. The one show I did go to that sold out was Anti-Flag. This type of nationally touring band with this type of popularity should be booked more often to supplement some of the more niche scene events on other nights.

    So I definitely think there is an issue booking sold out shows. I wonder if there is a goal of booking so many sold out or high attendance events every month to make things work financially. Is there a way you can project attendance for each event or new band booking based on other venues sold out on a band's tour. These are things I think about as I have had dreams of owning a venue just so I can book my own favorite bands for shows, but on the business side of things there does have to be a mix of events to keep things going, and I think it's a great vision of the DNA Lounge to have the scene-specific events that are rarely accommodated in the Bay Area.

    Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss more as I am a regular attendee to a lot of the live local venues and have some ideas and would hate to see yet another local venue closed down. I was sad when The Pound and Annie's Social Club closed down, and it just seems tougher and tougher for places such as yours to survive the city.

  293. Josh Helzer says:

    I've never been to DNA Lounge, nor even to San Francisco, but through a long-time reading of your blogs I feel a fondness for the former (and the latter).

    I'd donate in an ongoing way via the comfort of my desk chair.

    How can I?

  294. I've had a love affair with SF and the SF clubs since I played REAL BAD XVIII over a decade ago. I was fortunate enough to play a few parties at DNA Lounge over the next few years and really enjoyed the crowds, the enthusiasm for the music they showed, and the facilities themselves. I don't know how much I can do to help, but if I could find my way back to SF, I'd be happy to donate my services to play a benefit night (or two)!
    The Lounge will always hold a special place in my heart, and be the central part of many fond memories I have of DJing, and being in San Francisco!

  295. jbgeek says:

    I've seen countless shows at DNA Lounge. It's a great venue and I'd hate to see it go. It has a nice open floor plan, a convenient attached restaurant, and no $#!# support columns blocking the view to the stage like another nearby, similarly sized club. Good PA system.

    Last shows I've attended there were Tombs and Soilwork (yeah I'm Metal Head).

    I'm also a veteran of the fist .com bubble, although I didn't do quite as well as you did (apparently). I'm an IT guy with a bunch of start up experience doing unix/linux and networking. I work for a well known Bay Area IT consultancy.

    I've always been impressed with your fast web site and unique ticketing system (6 char hash for conf code/order #!) which I've presume was coded by you.

    I wish I had some sage business advice to give you in order to turn things around. But I know nothing about running a club, and can't think of anything that I wouldn't think would be obvious to you already.

    I wonder if the market has been diluted a bit by the new clubs opening up on 11th, and some of the nearby ones like The Chapel and Brick & Mortar? I've noticed that they've book a bunch of metal shows that in the past might have been at Slim's or DNA, which are similar in size/capacity. Maybe this accounts for some of the lower attendance?

    I'll continue to attend shows there, buying beers and red bull, and maybe donate if you do some kind of crowdsourcing thing.

  296. Chris says:

    I live in the Netherlands and the closest I've been to the DNA has been Seattle. I've been reading your blog for the last 15+ years or however long it has been.

    I would 100% pay for a membership. $100? You got it!

  297. dmolnar says:

    The EFF fundraiser at the DNA was one of the reasons I decided I had to come to the Bay Area. Wil Wheaton boxing with Barney!

    Now, unfortunately, I live up in Seattle and I can't come often. I stop by whenever I'm in town, but that's not enough.

    I would pay an affinity monthly or yearly membership. I do that for Noisebridge and for Borderlands. I don't need any rewards. I would love to be able to sign up for that on the web page or at the club next time I visit.

    I would be OK with a prompt at ticket checkout to donate extra money to the DNA Lounge. I see the Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, and Metropolitan Opera do that on every ticket sale. Why not DNA? I see the merch upsell in the current ticket flow, but I don't need merch.

    Speaking of the Metropolitan Opera, I agree I wouldn't really watch or pay for the current live stream. I hear the point that doing a top quality live stream all the time is a massive investment that won't pay off. The Met works around this by declaring some performances "Live in HD" -- they do high quality just for the one performance of selected operas. Then they sell tickets to that high quality stream for $20 each in theaters and sell access to the backlog for $149/year. They get someone to do an interview with the cast as part of it too, so you have a little something special for the remote people.
    I would pay $60 for this for the Velvet Acid Christ show coming up and I'd pay some yearly amount for backlog access. It doesn't even have to be "HD" really. I would pay this in advance to help kickstart it.

    I know the 501c3 helps Noisebridge because then Noisebridge qualifies for giving plans in big corps, where an employee can specify part of a paycheck or a yearly payment to just automatically go to a 501c3. Those payments are matched 100% by my employer. I agree however that it would be a nontrivial thing to do, especially since DNA is already established.

    For corporate events, I will keep my eyes open for people in my company who are doing major events and need meet & greet places. Unfortunately the major event I'm involved with moved from SF to Seattle this year, but there will be others. I'd love to have the opportunity to do something with the DNA Lounge. I fondly remember CodeCon at the DNA back when.

    Best of luck. Looking forward to finding out best ways to help.

    • jwz says:

      I would be OK with a prompt at ticket checkout to donate extra money to the DNA Lounge. I see the Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, and Metropolitan Opera do that on every ticket sale. Why not DNA? I see the merch upsell in the current ticket flow, but I don't need merch.

      What does that look like? How do they phrase it?

      • dmolnar says:

        Screen shots below. These all pop up at the checkout part of the ticket flow, so after I've decided to buy and spend money.

        The Met Opera has a nice upsell to a membership, while the Seattle Opera positions it as "rounding up" the order. If I click on the "show me levels" I see this, which starts giving me more info about the different benefits of a Met Opera membership right there in the checkout cart.

      • dmolnar says:

        LinkedIn tells me I am connected to people who for a living ask people to donate large amounts of money to artistic institutions. I would be happy to ask such people if they could talk to you about how they do it. what's the best way to get someone like that in touch with you?

        Doing a membership is a great start. Places like the symphony and the opera also go after mega off-the-scale donations by people who love the music and have a lot of money. That has described you for the last 17+ years. I bet there are others.

  298. Keiko Takamura says:

    Whatever you decide to do, please do it ASAP before the sense of urgency wanes and we all get caught up in holiday stuff. GofundMe = immediate donations at no cost to you. Please let us help you with our e-moneys.

    I've played countless shows and made countless friends at DNA Lounge. This is too important to us to lose.

    • andrew says:

      This! Do it before the end of the year! People want to sign up now. (So it seems from these $0.00 comments anyway.)

  299. Chris says:

    I know it feels like "too little too late" at this point, but for what it's worth you should know that some of us, such as in my case, stopped going to DNA at some point in the early 2000's because your security guards were just hellishly dickish. You've probably lost upwards of $1000 from myself alone, and that's assuming there's not dozens if not hundreds more like me, perfectly respectable "normal" non-drunk people treated like absolute shit by your staff.

  300. LHOOQtius says:

    jwz, email me, I will then circulate your contact info to folks I know in the SF startup scene who MIGHT sublet CW from you for instance. Doing that at a markup might even help DNA. Long shot, because I don't know if the space is at all right for any of them, but it all is a a long shot this point, no?

  301. will says:

    Folsom Street Foundry have been hosting game nights where they bring out game consoles and PCs to play on. Turnout seems to be pretty good and there's a good mix of people there. I'm sure there are events like that that DNA could host, where it's very frictionless to meet new people with the same interests.

  302. Malice Amarantine says:

    This is a bummer to hear. I'm not local anymore but whenever I'm in town I almost always stop by at least once. This would be a huge cultural loss for San Francisco.

  303. Keith says:

    Hello, What type of bookings/agents/agencies do you work with? What artists and events are booked?
    Do you have a special events director?

  304. David Kaye says:

    4-WALLING: For people who are unfamiliar with the term I used earlier, 4-walling means that the venue rents out the "4 walls" to an outside company, charging for staffing, food/beverage, etc., but not running the event itself. The client charges whatever admission they wish and promotes the event themselves. An example would be the time Chicken John rented the Castro Theater to promote his book, or when Apple rents a theater or convention space in SF to promote one of their products.

    The thing about 4-walling is that you have to make sure that everybody who books space for events knows that your place is available. Peerspace.com is one of several companies that specializes in listing available venues.

  305. Jessica says:

    I'm sorry things are so hard right now, and I hope that this announcement helps things turn around.
    (I also really respect the vulnerability in this post, and hope you're not already too buried in criticism and well-intentioned advice.)

    I spent over a decade of my life attending all manner of things at the DNA, and though there were definite peaks to that experience, it's impossible to sift out a single defining memory that sums up such a multi-hued, long-term debauchery.

    And I still wanted to express my appreciation.

    My life has moved on to other things these days (as lives tend to do), but there's rarely a week that passes that I don't fondly recall the crazy, life-affirming shenanigans of the aughts, especially those that happened within your clubhouse.

    You made a beautiful playground for the weirdos of SF, and that is no small thing--especially in a time that seems out to homogenize us. None of us who took part in this world will ever forget that.

    I really hope that the next generation of club kids get to play out their wacky weekly fantasies at the DNA, but no matter what comes next, I hope you (and your amazing team) feel so proud of what you've accomplished.

    Good luck!

  306. Tim says:

    Sorry, no constructive suggestions, and I am geographically challenged, but I did really enjoy the Jesika von Rabbit show last year. The supporting bands were good too. There was amazingly good beer.

  307. Jenni bot says:

    Back c. 2001 I was an undergrad at UW-Madison and my DJ boyfriend flew out with the band when Stromkern played at DNA Lounge (the show where opener See Colin Slash brilliantly covered Night Riders). During sound check he used a club kiosk to IRC with me back in Wisconsin and waxed about the venue's technological amenities, and I watched my friends play the show from afar on the simulcast. 2005 was likely my first time physically at DNA Lounge.... and I am pretty sure it was also to see Stromkern play. \m/

    And as a current Seattle resident (where promoters have difficulty getting an opener onstage before 11 on a weeknight) and frequent East Bay visitor, I admire and value to no end DNA's ability to run a weeknight show that lets me catch the last BART train back to the East Bay because everyone moved to Alameda and made it too inconvenient for themselves to give me a ride home like in the old days. : )

  308. hroethgar says:

    So anyway as far as memorable bits about DNA Lounge: I have had the chance to visit San Francisco once in my life, earlier this year, as it happens; three days were taken up by conference, but I had a couple of days free to have a look around. I could not fail to go to DNA Lounge, I reasoned, since I mean Mozilla! Netscape! jwz! History!

    I spent a Monday walking through SF (from Downtown to the Science Academy via Haight-Ashbury and back via Sunset) and treked back from Downtown to DNA Lounge in the evening while my travelling companions went to watch baseball or somesuch. It was... well, it was up there with the Science Academy and SF: MoMA as "things I was delighted I did". I got the Bootie experience and then, per the advice of the MC, went and smiled at the goths.

    It was fucking awesome. And it was also the most SF thing I did on my trip, in the sense it was the thing that seemed most uniquely San Fran, as opposed to "a thing you could see in many large Western metropolises" other than watching a guy who was wearing nothing but a gold lame jockstrap jog through the Castro. Or the guy who got on the BART looking like a Latino gangbanger draped in chains except they were rainbow chains and it was the Pride Parade folks going home.

  309. Binky the Tormented says:


    to a suitable corporate colossus. The way they do with ballparks and large concert venues.

    e.g., for $500K/year it could be called "The UBER LOUNGE" and have a large, conspicuous sign outside saying so in a high-traffic location.

    (Billboards can cost up to $50K/month... math might work for the buyer.)

    Superficially depressing... but inside, it would still be the same great place.

  310. Jeff says:

    I just sent you an email but I'd happy to work on a fund raiser with you.

  311. Bobby says:

    Has anyone pointed out that there's probably another market for DNA Lounge merchandise - molecular biologists? I mentioned this to a molecular biology contact and he expressed some interest. Note that this would be a worldwide market (my contact is in Florida). I don't know how you could promote worldwide, but, if you aren't doing it already, you should at least post flyers promoting both shows and merchandise on public bulletin boards near local college biology & chemistry departments.
    Have you done much about energy efficiency? Many improvements pay back surprisingly soon (often with tax advantages).
    If the DNA Lounge survives consider adding a second HDTV-quality live video that you charge for.
    Turn Codeword into a hackerspace?

  312. Jeremy Lee says:

    Wow. I actually remember when you were just setting the club up, and the worst you had to deal with was that guy who kept pissing on your door. It's been a long ride since then.

    I can't offer any solutions, just the standard Jedi advice about attachments and being prepared to let go when it's time. Everything has a life cycle, and if this is the end, then show everyone how it's done - by wrapping it up neatly with a bow instead of leaving a smoking crater.

    To switch metaphors, it's sad when a big tree falls, but it can give light and space to the next generation.

    Here's my (worthless) advice: If DNA is closing anyway, then do it now. Shift everything to the other location you still have to pay for, and have a series of "Last Ever" events that cater to the fans. One last blow-out. If the place is a shambles, that just saves some time.

    It's sad, but "Last Chance to See" always draws the crowds. It could give you a proper send-off, everyone else closure (and one last chance to party like it's 1999) and maybe help balance the books before you close the door.

    Endings are hard. But if you face it with grace and humility, then you will be free to see what's next.

    There aren't many venues in this industry that last 20 years. Be proud of that. I'm just sorry I never got to visit, or bring my robots to see it. (I'm literally a world away, sorry.)

    And then, yes, spend more time with your mother. She worries, you know.

    Best regards,

    • jwz says:

      Man, so many of you folks are just so ready to surrender. "I hear death is the end of struggle!" No wonder Trump won.

  313. PrinceAtDNALoungeRuled says:

    Your problem lies in your post. Your calendar is so diverse you haven't created a large enough weekly following to be profitable. The calendar is so strange and diverse that it's hard to keep up with what types of events will be going on in a certain weekend, for people to recommend their friends go to your club. I would recommend a more focused calendar of events based on only good quality MUSIC that creates a following and place people will continually fall back on/talk about going during the week/weekend. Similar to 1015 folsom's path, or even Monarch, or Star-line Social Club in Oak. The pizza cheapens the club a bit, I would change the name of that, separate it, and just focus on creating a following to your club. Corny mashup nights also will also cheapen, and cause people to not want to check your calendar in the future. You have a great large venue, in a great location, and there can be a lack of interesting shows each weekend in SF, so there is a void that you could easily fill. I would recommend CONSISTENT shows each week with names that have a following and draw. Start with RSVP free shows with more well known names, and make your money at the bar, while gathering emails to promote future events. A paid membership is not the answer to your problems, it's changing what you are currently doing completely, because it's not working. I have an idea of the types of acts, and market you should consider targeting if you would like to email me.

  314. Lela says:

    I feel like a creep and weirdo for saying so, but I would visit DNA lounge if I had some free time just to catch a glimpse of a so very special bartender named Heather. She used to be there before and I don't know if she still works there or not, but she would brighten up my day no-matter-what, anytime I was lucky enough to catch her working and meet her eye. Honestly, the staff is so interesting you will be sure to have a good conversation and share some fond memories no matter what makes you happy. DNA lounge definitely makes you feel like you belong there.

  315. boutell says:

    I greatly admire what you chose to do with your nineties dough. You didn't just keep doing the same damn thing without the excuse of necessity. You didn't set up another foundation mostly concerned with its own perpetuation (spend-down rules notwithstanding). You did something that truly would not have happened without you, something that feeds your soul.

    The memberships option does feel right, because it might prove sustainable, and because it gives people a concrete and renewable step to take rather than just feeling vaguely bad about it all. It also invests more people in the idea that this is more than just a fun place to go, it allows them to embrace the same motivations you had.

    As a matter of scale this comparison is absurd, but a couple years ago I let the users of a very, very small social network I operate know it was becoming a bit of a fiscal burden, having never expanded as I'd originally hoped. They responded by covering all of my (admittedly tiny) expenses. And now of course I feel like I owe them more in the way of consultation when I make changes.

    Win or lose though: a long, amazing run is a long, amazing run. Congratulations on that, and hopefully on the sustainable future of the idea.

  316. Sean Ironstag says:

    Me and my people make big shit happen. Get at me. archetype@seanironstag.com

  317. Zac says:

    No ideas, just memories - every time I make it over to San Francisco from Australia, I make a point of going to Bootie. Always a fun night, and I've enjoyed following the blog over the last several years.

    I dropped in a small donation in lieu of being in town - hoping you're still there next time I'm around! :)

    • Zac says:

      Well ... I would have if any of my AU domiciled cards would pass your address verification check :/

      Is there Paypal or some other means of donating?

  318. Lorenzo Gatti says:

    Obvious business/marketing questions I don't see addressed very well in the post and in the comments:

    - What are the typical profiles of your visitors and what reasons can you give them to come more often and spend more money?
    - Why did you lose attendance? Some of those people are dead or gone, but many might prefer DNA Lounge to the competition again after the right changes.
    - Do you have an adequate revenue per visitor? For instance, some suggest drinks are underpriced.
    - Which ones of your costs and expenses are excessive and/or unjustified?

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