Death Guild

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Death Guild is the oldest continually operating gothic/industrial dance club in the United States, and second in the world (preceded only by Slimelight in London). Death Guild opened on March 15, 1993,[1] and is currently held every Monday at DNA Lounge in San Francisco.

Death Guild has always been an 18-and-over dance club, a rarity in San Francisco where most dance clubs are 21+. Death Guild has also been the promoter of most of the gothic and industrial live shows in San Francisco since the mid-1990s.

The Death Guild crew are also responsible for Death Guild Thunderdome, one of the most popular attractions at Burning Man since the mid-1990s.


The party was created by David King (DJ Decay) at the now-defunct venue The Pit (now AsiaSF). In June 1994, the club moved to DNA Lounge for one night, and then to the Trocadero Transfer, which remained its home for several years, with DJs Decay, Lucretia,[2] Melting Girl,[3] Joe Radio and Damon.[4] The Trocadero began having licensing problems in 1997, eventually closing for good in early 1998.[5] In March 1997, Death Guild moved to Big Heart City,[6][7] and then to Manhattan Lounge in November 1998. It returned to Big Heart City in June 2003,[8] and in October 2003[9] moved to Glas Kat, a new venue in the old Trocadero space.

Death Guild finally returned to DNA Lounge in October 2008,[10] immediately after DNA Lounge had succeeded in changing its liquor license from 21+ to one that allows 18+ and all-ages events. Resident DJs are currently Decay, Melting Girl and Joe Radio in the main room, with DJ Sage and DJ Bit in the upstairs lounge.[11]

Both rooms play a mix of gothic rock, industrial, darkwave, EBM, futurepop, power noise, and synthpop.

DNA Lounge has been providing free audio and video webcasts of all the club's events since its 2001 renovation,[12] so Death Guild has been continuously streaming live over the Internet from the venue every Monday night since October 2008.

When non-essential San Francisco businesses were forced to suspend operations in early 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Death Guild immediately went online-only via DNA Lounge's webcast. The venue reopened for live events on June 18, 2021,[13][14] allowing Death Guild to resume in-person nights on June 21, 2021.[15] With Slimelight still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Death Guild then became the longest-running active goth club in the world.


Death Guild won "Best Weeknight Dance Club" SF Weekly's "Best of San Francisco" readers' poll in 2001,[16] and won "Best Dance Party" in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's "Best of the Bay" readers' poll in 2020.[17]


  1. ^ "Death Guild early history". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  2. ^ "DJ Lucretia on Death Guild". Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  3. ^ "DJ Melting Girl interview". SF Weekly. 1995-08-16. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  4. ^ "Death Guild's 1996 web site". Archived from the original on May 6, 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  5. ^ "Trocadero troubles". SF Weekly. 1998-02-11. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  6. ^ "Death Guild leaves Trocadero". SF Weekly. 1997-03-26. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  7. ^ "Riff Raff: Melting Girl Molts". SF Weekly. 1997-07-09. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  8. ^ "Death Guild is Moving". SFGoth Mailing List. 2003-06-08. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  9. ^ "Death Guild is Moving Again". SFGoth Mailing List. 2003-10-10. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  10. ^ "Death Guild Bids Adieu to Glas Kat". SF Weekly. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  11. ^ "Death Guild DJs". Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  12. ^ Evany Thomas (2001-07-16). "From Netscape to Nightclub". Wired Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  13. ^ "DNA Lounge blog entry: "Wherein we are re-opening!"". 2021-05-15. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  14. ^ "DNA Lounge: Turbo Drive: 8th Anniversary, 18 Jun 2021 (Fri)". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  15. ^ "DNA Lounge calendar: Death Guild, 21 Jun 2021 (Mon)". Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  16. ^ "Best of SF 2001". SF Weekly. 2001-05-23. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  17. ^ "Best of the Bay 2020". 48 Hills. 2020-10-23. Retrieved 2020-12-22.

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Coordinates: 37°46′15.9″N 122°24′45.6″W / 37.771083°N 122.412667°W / 37.771083; -122.412667