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Tips For a Goth Night Out At Death Guild in SF

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By Kelly O’Grady

Do you like spinning invisible orbs? Are you repelled by the light of day? Do you refer to anyone that doesn’t wear black 24/7 as a “Normo”?  Do you have a dresser full of victorian era coats and vests? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you may be a closet goth. Clean the dust off of your big buckle boots and break out the mascara because you should have a night of spooky dancing at the D.N.A lounge Death Guild. A Goth and Industrial dance party.

Death Guild began in 1993 at a venue called The Pit, currently AsiaSF (definitely not as spooky sounding). It is one of the longest running industrial/goth nights in the United States. In 2008 Death Guild found its bearings at the D.N.A lounge. Not to fear if you are a minor vampire. Death Guild is an 18+ event. No fake I.D required.


You can’t just go to Death Guild all nimbly-bimbly. You wouldn’t show up to a funeral wearing a hawaiian shirt would you? This is Death Guild after all. Get some rainbow dreadlocks and dress like a dickensian chimney sweep with steampunk bobbles everywhere. If you really want to impress, steal a body bag from the county morgue and turn it into a trench coat.

As for makeup, the more the better! You really can’t go wrong with wearing so much white makeup you would make a geisha barf. You could also accent your darkness with vibrant colors so you can look like a tropical parrot dropped into a bucket of black paint.

I am incapable of dancing sober so I always prefer to have some cocktails at home before I get my spook on. Make sure to enjoy your beverage of choice with a silver cup with ornate ruby skulls inlaid on it so you can pretend to be Vlad the Impaler.

If you happen to be a tobacco user, be sure to bring another pack of cheap giveaway cigarettes with you because vampires will bum smokes off of you all night long. I suggest walking around the corner away from the front door if you need a smoke break from the miasma.

2. Dance tips

You know that old Irish proverb about dancing like nobody’s watching? That really applies to Death Guild. This is the place where the nocturnally inclined can let loose, away from the prying eyes of society. There’s methods of “goth-dancing” There’s the slow-mo bullet dodge dance, or you can cover face and roll your shoulders. I prefer to dance with jazz hands as I look at my shoes. The standard dance I call “spooky fingers”

3. Don’t be a dick

Really this rule apply to anywhere. If you are going out dancing always put your best foot forward. Be courteous to your fellow dancers. Don’t be a creep, people! If you transgress you may have a curse put upon your head from the various coven of witches that populate Death Guild ( and various vampire broods) and you will only have yourself to blame.


4. What to drink

If you are 21 and over you can enjoy the premier drink of Death Guild, the Tokyo Ice-tea. It’s green and consists of all the liquors. It’s delicious and dangerous. If you drink more then three, lookout. You’ll become the spectacle of the evening. But that’s okay as long as you get home safely. Personally, I prefer to have a nice gin and tonic.

Me, at Death Guild

In conclusion

I feel the people of Death Guild to be the friendliest and excepting group of individuals you will find in San Francisco. I feel there is a stereotype where Goths can be very serious and exclusive. I found the exact opposite to be true. Despite the very industrial music and spooky attire, there is a lot of love on that dance floor.

The end.

An excerpt from forthcoming graphic novel “hickey”

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