Owner of DNA Lounge, on verge of closing club, calls for ‘ideas’ to keep it open

By Alyssa Pereira : sfgate – excerpt

DNA Lounge, a club and concert venue in the SoMa district of San Francisco, may be preparing to permanently shutter, according to a candid post on its website, ostensibly written by owner Jamie Zawinski.

In the post, Zawinski, a former computer programmer who invested significant money in the club (“about five million dollars,” he says) after purchasing it in 1999, says that the end may be near for the beloved dance club stalwart, because, as he says, “I’ve run out of money.”

The club has, since its opening in the mid-80s, booked such acts as major as Prince and Metallica, but more often hosts smaller names and dance parties like the periodically held and highly popular Bootie Mashup night. It’s also often regarded as a safe space and gathering place to those who feel “that they don’t [fit] anywhere else.”

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough to sustain the club, its attached all-ages venue, Codeword, and its late night restaurant, DNA Pizza.

“Between 2014 and 2015, DNA Lounge’s attendance dropped off by about 9 percent,” the post reads. “By the end of 2016, it had dropped by another 15 percent. 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…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.”

That spells out a dire situation for the long-running venue, and presents Zawinski with very limited options for keeping DNA Lounge alive. He brings up some possibilities for its viability — crowdfunding, selling Codeword, applying for an Arts grant, or finding an investor — but at a loss, he appeals to readers to source ideas to save the space as soon as possible.

“The world does not always provide you with quick fixes but we need a quick fix, because I am out of money,” he writes. “I can’t make long term investments because I don’t know how I’m keeping the lights on in the short term.”…(more)

Read more about the DNA Lounge here

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