Legal Defense Fund

We need your help.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spent most of 2009 trying to put DNA Lounge permanently out of business. They accused us of "running a disorderly house injurious to the public welfare and morals", and wanted to permanently revoke our liquor license. Had they succeeded, we would have had to close.

We fought this, obviously. The appeals process was lengthy and expensive, but we eventually managed to negotiate a settlement. Instead of revoking our liquor license, they suspended it for 25 days. We were closed from Monday, January 4th through Thursday, January 28th, and that will hopefully be the end of it.

There are also a few years of "probation" on top of the suspension (basically meaning that if they hit us with a second accusation of being a "disorderly house", that would be really bad), but the 25 day suspension should be the end of this battle.

(Fear of inadvertently violating that probation is why we're never open during the Folsom or Dore Alley street fairs any more, and why we do a lot fewer gay events than we used to, in case you were wondering.)

You can read more details about the beginning of this fight on my February 13, 2009 blog entry about it. During the closure, we took the "opportunity" to do some repairs and remodeling, which you can read about on the January 2010 blog.

We had to fight the State of California over our alcohol license for more than two years, and the process was extremely expensive. As you can imagine, it's hard enough running a small business during a recession without also having to fight your own state government who are trying to destroy you.

Click the button to contribute to our legal defense fund, via PayPal:

Your contribution, however small, will be greatly appreciated!

We are, in theory, a for-profit organization (not that there has ever been any profit, mind you...) But since we are not legally a non-profit or a charity, your contributions will not be tax-deductible.

Even if you can't afford to contribute, please join the "Save DNA Lounge" Facebook group to show your support.

We also have "Save DNA Lounge" t-shirts for sale! They are green-on-black with glow-in-the-dark ink. (They're sold out! Thank you!)

Why do we need extra help? Here's what we've spent so far trying to make DNA Lounge a place for everyone:

I believe that converting DNA Lounge to an all ages venue has cost us over $165,000 so far. I only counted the big expenses, so I'm sure I left something out; the actual number is probably higher.

This is why ABC always wins. Despite what you may think, the nightclub business is rarely a profitable one. The people who are in this business are in it as a labor of love. The ABC can easily wage a war of attrition against small businesses like us. Most people give up rather than fighting the government, because they just can't afford it.

I chose to fight. I hope you'll help!
-- Jamie Zawinski