San Francisco's DNA Lounge is now on Patreon

Originally published at:


Doesn’t seem like Patreon would scale up to the costs of a lounge in a high-rent area like San Francisco, but I suppose they don’t have to cover all their costs that way. Though it is still a bit odd - who are they hoping to raise money from? People who don’t live in SF? People who live there but don’t go to DNA?


People who like the venue and want to support its continued existence.


Right, but if you didn’t live in S.F., why would you care, and if you did, why wouldn’t you go there and support it that way?

For the same reason that people donate money to museums or theatres. Because they cannot make enough to keep the doors open selling tickets, and people who live in the community think that it’s important for the community that the venue continue to exist.


I don’t live in the area any longer, but when I did I enjoyed many good, good times at DNA, and would like it to continue to exist.


" JWZ, is now accepting support and sponsorship through Patreon." How gracious of him/her/it/them to “accept” handouts.

I love the wording, makes it a much more elegant form of panhandling, as though you are being given the privilege of being allowed to give someone money.

A question I do not see: Is this place a genuine not-for-profit? Or is it a business that just isn’t making money and has found a novel way to boost the income stream?

Have the owner’s books been audited by anyone independent to make sure the place is genuinely losing money and this just isn’t another scam aimed at a specific demographic?

Yes, I am cynical, thanks for asking. People believing everything they read is one reason we have an upcoming President who would be better off as a replacement for the 3 Stooges.

But being gullible isn’t exclusive to the right wing nuts these days.

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jwz has been blogging the ins and outs of running this club for almost 20 years. Even though you can’t believe everything you hear, it’d be a pretty long con at this point. It’s also why he has a geographically dispersed following who feel a connection to the place despite living nowhere near SF.


Many people have been touched in some way by DNA Lounge even if they aren’t from SF.

In the original thread on jwz’s blog countless people said they weren’t in SF anymore or visited once and loved it and so on who want to pay it forward to support a venue like this even if they aren’t local.


jwz has been plenty candid and transparent here. It’s a for profit business and due to economics and some bad business decisions he’s running out of money (much of which is coming out of his own pocket) and needs help to keep the lights on. He’s also invited help from people that can help optimize business further (writing requests for arts grants, etc.) The Patreon campaign is a simple way to keep some extra cash flow coming in for a while.


The latter. And not so novel-- there have been other local businesses there in SF that have done the same thing. Follow the links back to the previous article.

As to your questions about jwz’s honesty, I think your concerns are unfounded. I know him IRL, from my own days at Netscape. He was a very early employee. I came much later, and we don’t like each other much, but he’s not a liar. I’m actually surprised that he’s lasted this long in a very tough business in a very tough city. I don’t think DNA Lounge has ever made back what he’s put into it. Knowing that, his recent expansions seem kind of bizarre.

And if you’d like a view into what Netscape was like back in the day, check out his gruntles and tech stuff at There’s some great stuff in there, takes me back.


I’ve never met him despite us running in similar circles. That said from what I’ve heard from others, I don’t think he really likes anybody much. :slight_smile:


His online persona (and my own as well) are much different than we come across in real life.

I had somebody tell me once “you’re not [RatMan]. You’re nice, and he’s an asshole.” Mission accomplished. :wink:


Attempts at pivoting, I guess. From what I can read through the lines, the pizza thing worked decently enough but the new club didn’t.


I contribute to other Patreon campaigns, but not a lot.

I’ve never visited the DNA Lounge, but I like Bootie Mashups so I tried to contribute, but the minimum is $10 per month and I’m not up for that, so… :-/

According to his December blog entry talking about how he might have to shut down, there was a period around 2009-12 (ish?) when he was doing well enough to make expanding to a second club seem like the right move. Then attendance numbers started dropping, and now he no longer has enough left over from his Mozilla cash out to cover both it and his family.

You might be surprised to find that the concepts of patronage and sponsorship are not novel, nor are they considered panhandling or restricted to not-for-profits. They’ve been around since ancient times to support things that some consider valuable and worthwhile but which would otherwise not exist due to the value weightings of the economy and necessities of life of those who create them.

Similar concepts include athletic sponsorships, grants, tax incentives, loan guarantees, government-insured bank deposits, publicly-paid education, police, firefighters, etc. What’s new about Patreon is that it makes it a lot simpler for people who aren’t corporations or independently wealthy to directly support what they want without having to petition the government, file for grants, try to get new laws passed, etc.


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