where is everybody?

This question comes from mc_kingfish, who wishes me to take advantage of my Lazyweb for him. (Dr. Kingfish is an old man, and the promoter of fine events such as Hubba Hubba Revue. He enjoys drinking, hats, and long strolls in the pork.)

I warned him that if I posted his questions, he would find himself highly dissatisfied with the responses he will get from people he doesn't care about (E.g., furries who live in Minnesota, and kernel developers who never leave their mom's basement.) He said, "bring it".

Post your responses here. Use both sides if necessary.

Dr. Kingfish writes:

For years now I have watched the attendance for a wide variety of entertainments steadily diminish. San Francisco continues to have a reputation as a fun, entertainment-loving town that supports it's local clubs, bars, performers, promoters, artists and producers -- but when you compare the numbers today to the pre-dotcom 80's, and the go-go 90's, this reputation is quite obviously resting on some very old and outdated laurels. Obviously there are die-hards, obviously there are some who soldier on, but what became of the Greater Population? Hence, one wonders...

Dear Extremely-Lazyweb,

What made you lame?

To wit, what turned you from a social, going-out-to-find-fun active and interesting human being into, well, the opposite of that.

Please read the following carefully;

  • This does not include people who do go out and experience life and it's entertainments frequently. Do NOT respond if this is you.
  • This does not include important life-changing conditions (massive illness, injury, parenthood, etc.) Do NOT respond if this is the case.

  • This does include all forms of whining. Please be specific.

  • If your whining is money-related, please list at least one stupid thing you've blown a wad of money on in the last 12 months (or, if more appropriate, a stupid thing that you blow a portion of your money on regularly.)

  • Work and school schedules do not count as you previously went out and experienced life's many entertainments when you were working or going to school just as much, and let's face it, you know that's true.

  • No one under 45 is allowed to mention age as a reason, and even then no one under 60 is allowed to list it as a primary reason. You must in fact be older than the oldest person currently going out and enjoying life frequently to use age as a primary excuse.

  • "Growing out of it" is only valid if you also include the fact that you are incredibly limited in your thinking and never sought alternative forms of entertainment after you began to grow bored with what you were into when you were in high school.

Update: Important point: this question is not specifically about going to dance clubs.

Other important point: the question was "why did you change from X to Y", not "why did you always hate going out to dance clubs."

Tags: ,

218 Responses:

  1. merovingian says:

    I still go out, but not quite as much. Here's some reasons why:

    Too much stuff is on the weekdays and, though I live in San Francisco, I work in Silicon Valley!

    These days I expect to be able to find events very easily online. If it's not on Larry Bob or the Squid List, I'm probably not going to hear about it.

    Too many clubs got shut down by cops in the 90s and now I'm just too sad about it.

    (Also, I'm busy going to furry conventions in St. Paul dressed as a squirrel, and using my mom's dialup to troll for flamewars on the Debian lists.)

  2. ultranurd says:

    World of Warcraft

    • strangedave says:


      Its not that WoW is more attractive than real life. Its that it doesn't require any preparation, not even putting on pants, so its easy to just start playing a bit, and then you seem to be having an OK time, and some of your buddies are on anyway, so going out seems a bit effort for soemthing that might not turn out to be substantial imrpovement over what you are doing anyway. Of course Real Life is better when its good, but when Real Life is uncertain and possibly mediocre WoW is so much easier.

      ANd that's excluding social pressure to raid etc.

      • ultranurd says:

        That said, I passed up a Magtheridon run to hang out at a bar with a bunch of people I vaguely know this evening. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

    • pentane says:


      To answer the question, though, when the "only way" to socialize was going out, that's what I did, because while I really dislike people, I do need to talk sometimes.

      With WoW (Eve, LOTRO, EQ, CoH, whatever) I can get my rather minimal social needs met without (1) spending money and (2) dealing with traffic and the other associated idiocy of people.

      Why leave home?

  3. maxmin says:

    Quit speed, got a real job, became a semi-responsible semi-adult, resulting in 3-4 nights a week out becoming 3-4 nights a month out.

    • maxmin says:

      And even there most of the time I'm out is for Noisescape, promoting my own club night, or my now ex-girlfriends dj gigs.

  4. tjcrowley says:

    Because people suck and I can entertain myself without being around them. Let's face it, I am over being around proles. Plus, my life is quickly getting to the point where people need to start paying me to be at nightclubs. I doubt that will ever happen except for the when dealing with Bondage A Go Go once a month for the tribe.net fiestas.

    • netik says:

      i see you out at 90% of the events I go to, and no one pays you. Come on.

    • wasteddream says:

      Paying you to do what, exactly?

      • tjcrowley says:

        Just be there, I guess. That's pretty much what I do at BAGG the first Wed. of the month -- I am there as a representative of tribe.net. I view it as my work paying me to be there -- I spend no money at BAGG and BAGG is one of our biggest tribes for some reason.

        I am going out on Monday because my presence was requested specifically, but that's the only other reason I go out anymore -- I also have decided it's boring not to have an entourage. Not many people want the pleasure of my company, probably because I view them all as plebes and proles nowadays.

  5. eviltwinii says:

    Video games.

    For the same price of 1 evening out on the town, I can get a game that = anywhere from 50 hours of fun to 3 years (World of Warcraft)of fun for another 15/month.

    More bang for the buck.

  6. heresiarch says:

    because the drugs just aren't fun anymore?

  7. roisnoir says:

    * I got sick of spending at least $40 on drinks (for myself - it's more when I have friends with me and we're trading rounds) every time I went out. I have a fairly high alcohol tolerance, it seems, and the best that $40 bought me was a moderate buzz. I can't handle that many people around me without some sort of chemical insulation, and usually I won't dance unless I've had a drink.

    * I lived in a crappy neighborhood, and didn't like coming home late, as I was often on foot.
    Now I live in an impossible-to-get-to-after-midnight neighborhood (muni stops at midnight, and it's up a big hill), and adding an extra $15 for a taxi home on top of the cover charge and drinks is a little too spendy.

    * Weeknight clubs = late to work next morning. Also, what to do with myself between the time I get out of work and the time the club opens? I'm hardly going to stay at work! Going home to change usually means that inertia kicks my butt, and I wind up staying home.

    * My "clubbing wardrobe" is all worn out, and I don't have the time or money to replace it. Dancing in my work clothes is less fun. Also, random and unexpected weight loss means that none of my corsets fit anymore. Grrr.

    * I hate it when sweaty strangers brush up against me. Ew! I have to leave before it gets crowded.

    * After going out regularly for years, I realized that I didn't talk to anyone I didn't already know, most of my friends had stopped going out for a variety of reasons, and I couldn't figure out a good way for my shy butt to meet new people without making myself sick with nerves. Sitting alone sucks.

    I'll make an effort to make it to a concert if it's a band I really adore, but if it's something local and recurring, well, I can go anytime. I'll stay in with the cat and a novel instead.
    If it's something local and one-off, I'll stay home because it'll be too crowded for me to enjoy it.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Only point I'll make here: If it's local and reoccurring and you don't support it, it goes away. I'm not saying you have to love everything that everyone does, but if you _do_ like something, realize that dismissing it because it's "reoccurring" just means waving goodbye to it.

      I fully understand your reasons for thinking differently about this, but it's an important point and the distinction needs to be made. A lot of people make this mistake. A lot of people think that events/clubs/etc. are paid for by magical sources and that they're permenent fixtures like Disneyland. Untrue. Promoters pay to keep your favorite club nights going, most often out-of-pocket.

  8. osi says:

    i'm picky about the noises i use to further deteriorate my hearing

    but that's me-now vs me-10-years-ago

    the real question is why aren't the people 10 years younger taking my place? aren't they more numerous?

    • mc_kingfish says:

      I _completely_ agree with that, and maybe I should have been more clear about that point. Forget the fact that complacency is the new giving-a-crap, where are the last 2 or 3 _generations_ of "replacements"? I go to a _lot_ of different stuff... Unless they are literally all of them in hip-hop clubs, I haven't seen hide nor hair of 'em!

  9. mc_kingfish says:

    Hmm... Not bad so far.

    I forgot to include the drug angle in the follow-up points (though I mentioned it in a related email, but that doesn't help us here.)

    I'm at least somewhat (and oddly) satisfied to see I was right about the video-game thing (I'm still irritated by it, and don't really understand it, but at least my guess was kinda-sorta partly right.)

    I should have had a seperate point specifically covering the fact that D. was excluded from this query by virtue of not only being _over_ everything, he's also much cooler than all peoples and all forms of entertainment, everywhere.

    Well, mere _human_ entertainment, that is...

    Now then, where are those furries...?


    • lilmissnever says:

      They next generation is snorting coke and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon in the Mission. Mission bars are jam-packed on your average Saturday night. The problem is not that people stopped going out - it's that they've stopped dancing.

      • mc_kingfish says:

        True, but not true enough. That gets said a lot, but it's a dodge. The net total of people going out is way down none the less. People --young people-- jammed bars when Uncle Kingfish was a lad, and the dance clubs were also full. If you dumped all those Mission hipsters in a pile it wouldn't come close to the numbers of folks who used to go out.

        And I'm not just talking about dance clubs. This whole rant was actually engendered by going to see the legendary New York Dolls perform in a half full room just a couple of nights ago. (Note: other people reading this, please don't go off on a New York Dolls tangent. Please.)

        • 1eyedkunt says:

          You're disappointed that there weren't a shitload of people out to see a relatively obscure band that formed in *1971*??? It seems unlikely that people under 30 would be at all interested in such a show, and I know you say you won't accept this as an answer, but people over 25 tend to develop more serious jobs, more serious relationships, less physical tolerance for alcohol, and more interest in a wider range of activities (ie kickboxing, hiking, wine-tasting, etc.). So it's no surprise that these people are not making it out to see things like the New York Dolls as often as they used to. There's no mystery there.

          If you want to know why people aren't coming to Hubba Hubba and other events that should appeal to people of all ages, I think you're asking the wrong crowd. It seems like you're overwhelmingly getting the "I'm getting older" answer in one form or another (of course, I don't have the time or patience to read all the replies but that's what I've seen thus far), because most of JWZ's LJ friends, if they're anything like a lot of his real life friends, are probably not spring chickens. Why young people are not replacing us old farts is the real question, and I doubt that you'll find the answer here.

          PS: I'm 30 and no longer enjoy clubbing, but I still go out to bars or shows at least a couple nights a week, usually more. I'm very likely to go if it's $5 or less, but I almost never go to events that cost more than $10-12. Anything more seems exorbitant. The rare exception being bigger musical acts, and then only if I'm pretty sure they're going to put on a *really* great show.

          • mc_kingfish says:

            I'd argue that the New York Dolls aren't all _that_ obscure, if you're interested in rock and roll, glam, punk rock, etc., but leaving that aside, I certainly didn't expect this community to include a lot of Dolls fans. My point was that with x-million people in the Bay Area, I'm pretty sure an equivelant show with an equivelant band (am I misspelling equivelant? --anyway... ) would have done better than a half-filled room in days gone by. 800 people would have filled the floor. With the greater population to draw from, I have to believe there ought to be 800 people out there who think of the Dolls as a band worth leaving the house for.

            And again, I pleaded that this not turn into a treatise on the merits of the NY Dolls. I reiterate that plea. (I had to really think about whether I should include that level of detail in the original post, knowing as I did that this would turn into an arguement about whether the Dolls *specifically* were worthy of filling a venue... The Dolls show was only a catalyst --I go to a _lot_ of different kinds of events/shows/etc. and this diminishing audience effect is widespread... )

            And you're right about the Old Fart quotient (none older or fartier than me!) but I had to start somewhere. And most of the Old Farts or Nearly-Old Farts I know still have pretty active social lives (moreso than a lot of the kinder I know!) So I guess what I'm saying is, I have no idea what's going on or about anything.


            P.S. And I'm all for your active social life as well! I wish you found more value in events priced over $5 (for one thing, if it's more than a DJ night, guaranteed somebody is probably paying out of pocket to put it on... ) but nevertheless I give a big joyful Hooray that you're still out there gettin' it done! Bring friends!

            • jwz says:

              The NY Dolls are a terrible, terrible example to use in support of your point/question.

              Let it go.

            • icedaemoness says:

              Hmmm.... Maybe... I mean; you don't wanna do tips for dancers that would make it stripper-esque; but maybe you could have an extra donation tub that gets passed around in lieu of an over 10 buck door price?

              or something clever like that?

              I agree: if it's over $10, I'm prolly too lazy.
              $10 is great, but I'm spoiled by go-going.

              I guess even moreso is transportation an issue... cabs being unreliable, the risk of car break-ins, and
              just to mention this, since it hasnt' yet been mentioned: the giant recession we're heading into.... oh, wait, never really got out of since the 90's.
              People aren't rolling in excess muniez like they were in the 80's and 90's.
              Excess is out and veganism is in.
              It's repulsive, but hey.

    • jarodrussell says:

      Now then, where are those furries...?

      Second Life.

    • baconmonkey says:

      The economy has sent many people back to school and/or made those in it take it more seriously. The economy also has more people working harder for less $$.

      Music has been vastly devalued via the internet. new bands are found on myspace and soulseek, not by going to shows and catching the last 3 songs of that surprisingly compelling band before the headliner.

      2000-2006 brought us very little new music of note. Emo popped up, and that's about it. There are some newer styles and influences that are starting to spread pretty well in certain circles over the past 2 years. most of those have the word "electro" in some part of their genre names.

      People get old and stop going out. the next generation doesn't always follow in the same footsteps. when was the last time you went out disco dancing? WOW, bittorrent, myspace, facebook, LJ suicide attempts, netflix, HD Home Theatres, internet porn, and flame wars offer easier and cheaper entertainment than going out. Nobody supports boogie-woogie bands anymore.

      nerds and dysfunctional people have a harder time dealing with other people in person. The internet makes it vastly easier for people like that to meet people and feel reasonably sociable without having to go out. A lot of posts here mention fear of crowds. In The Old Days, people had to suck it up, go out in public, and get the fuck over themselves if they wanted to be anything other than crazy-cat-person. now we have lolcats.

      after a tough day at work/school, you can let off some steam by paying $10 cover, and $40 on drinks, or you can kill some goblins and level up your were-tiger-paladin-elf. Braincells or goblins - which do you want to kill?

      I can give you a list of bars in the mission to go to on a friday night and you will see the all the other youngins - and Miz MArgo.

      Big Dance clubs are for late-20s and up.
      Dive bars and ultra lounges are for the youngsters.

      There are more options for things to do in San Jose and The peninsula, and high gas prices. Fewer people are coming up from there to SF.

      mainly it boils down to 3 things
      1. people go out less as they get older
      2. ca$h is tight, gas is expensive, need a real degree.
      3. Internet

      • mc_kingfish says:

        Again, those bars (and others) were packed and had their own culture back when there was a dozen more big dance clubs in SF, and all of _them_ were packed, and open 5 nights a week... The "It's the Mission" arguement doesn't work. (And yes, I've been there, and yes, I know Margo's there now... ) We may not have had the term "ultra-lounge" back in Grandpa's Day, but we had the culture. It was there, they were there. Bar culture, Clubs, Fillmore, Shoreline. All of that existed. Now point to the one that disappeared.

        And again, I get that people go out less as they get older. I kind of knew that going into this --it's not exactly a huge revelation.

        I think arguements have been made that tough economic times actually work in favor of nightlife and entertainment. I'm willing to believe it's a negative factor for some, but I don't think it's the whole enchilada. During the Bush I recession, going out and socializing was a big deal.

        All of your points about the internet and geek-socialization were incredibly insightful. I whole-heartedly agree with the way you describe the conditions on both sides of that phenomenon. I think there are other elements, too (the demise of school clubs and school sports programs, overprotective parents keeping Little Johnny inside with his Wii --all these things lead to creating people who don't socialize, or even see a _value_ in socializing... And I mean real socializing, not elf meets ogre-magi socializing... )

        But again, I never thought I'd grow old and find myself yelling at those damn' kids to get the hell _on_ my lawn and turn that blasted devil-music _up_!

  10. gwillen says:

    I have been a sheltered weenie for my entire life. As a result, the inertia of having spent an entire life never going clubbing has resulted in a lack of desire/inspiration to start doing it now.

  11. drkscrtlv says:

    I'd say a combination of:

    - popular music goes in cycles. the cycle at this particular moment is not much to my liking.
    - there are clubs that cater to people who aren't into today's music, but all of them pretty much just play 80s music.
    - the new music i am into tends to be mind numbingly boring in terms of visual performance; it's more for putting on in the background while you do something else. alternately, it tends to appeal to crowds that i feel completely out of place in.
    - it's just so easy to waste all your time on the web or with tivo or video games.
    - personal antisocial issues.

  12. will_sargent says:

    I like listening to good bands. I'm not so much into clubbing. But even listening to bands requires being signed up to mailing lists and reading through the Guardian, etc. With the amount of spam + bacon + rss feeds + bands that don't really suck but eh not right now... it's easy to find a reason not to.

    Also, iTunes + somafm == music burnout.

  13. inoah says:

    Actually I go out much more often than I used to. I'm less self-conscious, less neurotic, and frankly my life priorities have gone through some adjustments that caused me to realize that it's better to have fun once in a while than obsess over planning for a future you can't predict or control and might not even live to enjoy. Spend at least some time in the moment.

    That said, I'd frequent a number of venues in SF more often if I could find places to park (I live out of town), it didn't hurt my eardrums, and I didn't have to get up early the next morning to report for indentured servitude. There are a lot of shows I'd like to go to if I just wasn't so damned tired after a full day. The only thing about age that makes me less committed is that I just don't have the same physical stamina I used to.

  14. giles says:

    Oh golly, I don't know about any of this, but as soon as this kernel finishes recompiling I'm going to dress up like a fox and bang the tits off a raccoon.

    (Is "oh golly" sufficient to convey a Minnesota accent via text? I've never been there so I'm going on what I've heard comedians doing.)

  15. pozorvlak says:

    I'm not in San Francisco, but I'll answer anyway.

    I do, in fact, go out most evenings, just not to clubs or bars or gigs. My evenings are mostly taken up by martial arts, rock climbing, juggling club, and the occasional activist group meeting (held in a pub, I suppose, so that kinda counts). This all costs money; on the other hand, it's cheaper than nights out partying, particularly if you drink as fast as I do. All these things are scheduled around people who work days, so they happen in the evenings. Afterwards (we're talking 9-10pm here) I go home, eat dinner, hang out with my girlfriend for a couple of hours, and go to bed around 1am.

    The last gig I went to was the Chemical Brothers back in December; my flatmates went out to see some random thrash band a week or two ago and invited me along, but I was tired and it was pissing it down with rain and I'd just bought a copy of Portal, so I wussed out.

    I used to go out to pubs more than I do now, but my current (admittedly very low) rate of gig-attendance is probably about as high as it's ever been. I enjoy gigs once I'm out, they just don't really occur to me as a way to spend a given evening - it's always a special effort to see a band I really like (and most of those sell out before I get round to buying tickets). Non-live music, especially painfully loud cheesy club dance shite (which seems to be the prevailing option), has never appealed to me.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Please review the first bullet-point under the section above labeled "please read the following carefully."

      • pozorvlak says:

        OK, sorry. Since the question was phrased in terms of "clubs, bars, performers, promoters, artists and producers", I thought carefully and decided I didn't fit the description in that bullet point. Nice to learn that I do after all :-)

      • The assumption inherent in your question seems to be that "going out" equals "experiencing life".

        The main reason I used to go out to clubs was either to see my friends, or to dance to music I like.

        I've found the first item is much more enjoyable if I just invite a big bunch of them to my house for dinner. I'll spend the time at a club trying to have a shouted conversation and only get in a handful of intelligible sentences, with expensive booze to boot. The booze at home is better, and I can actually have a conversation.

        On the second point - the music I like to dance to is inevitably on a weeknight, and I don't tolerate suffering through the next morning at work more than a handful of times a year anymore.

        And as badc0ffee points out below - as I've gotten older I'm starting to inexplicably like getting up earlier, which staying out late clashes with.

        • mc_kingfish says:

          I think that's your assumption, eh? I also never said anything about it being specifically night-time.

        • g_na says:

          as I've gotten older I'm starting to inexplicably like getting up earlier

          Same here - how the hell did that happen? I used to love sleeping in 'til noon or 1pm; now I'm up at 8.

          • mc_kingfish says:

            Yeah, me too. I've never been able to sleep much, and now it's even _less_.

            I'm up early no matter how late I go out.

            Good Lord, I'm _this_ close to getting the early-bird dinner at Denny's!!

          • Yeah, I don't think it's even physically possible for me to sleep until noon anymore. Last time I tried to "sleep in" I was still up at 9:30.

          • djinnaya says:

            I'm not up at 8 on the weekends, but I do like to by up before 10. Mostly it's that if I sleep until 1 in the afternoon, I feel like I missed something. It used to be that if I went to bed before dawn, I felt like I had missed something. The times in which things are happenning that matter to me has shifted.

    • lanikei says:

      i totally agree re: ticket sell outs...

      here in dc there is an awkward distribution of live venues. there are either tiny places that are small enough for bands i've never heard of, OR gigantic arenas, OR decent small venues that big bands hit to prove that they can still do a club tour.

      all of these places have their issues...

      - i don't like most bands that will hit arena/pavilions, and those that i do like i wouldn't want to be stuck in the nosebleeds. even bands i'd be willing to pay exorbitant prices for pit seats... not even an option within 30 minutes of tickets on sale.
      - i'm not hip enough to know anything about unknown bands, and a lot of it is indie rock that i'm just not that into. i could solve this if i spent enough time in the car and had XM, if i had more money for taking a risk on CDs - or for that matter going to see a band i've never heard of, if i could tolerate combing myspace, or if i could bring myself to go back to pirating music. but i can't.
      - i'm not quick enough on the draw for the "bigger" bands that hit the bigger club venues.

      i got spoiled by big music festivals in which i would fight tooth and nail for $30-$50 tickets, have a variety of big and little bands on various stages, be in the pit for some of my favorite popular bands, and come home half dead. unfortunately, dc doesn't have any of those anymore, and comparing any concert experiences to those always comes up short.

  16. badc0ffee says:

    The bar/club scene wasn't doing good things for my health.

    First off you can't be active on a weekend morning after drinking late the night before. Nowadays I want to spend some weekends hiking, snowshoeing, biking, etc. When I was 21 I was OK waking up at 1.

    I also can't drink like I used to. I worry about the empty calories, and my liver, and now I turn into a loudmouth and act like an ass after 3 pints. I need a better way to pass the time before the band comes on.

    Also, I found I like cooking with friends. We have dinner parties and drink wine. Technically that's "going out", just not to any public place.

    • pozorvlak says:

      I've found that getting up and going hiking is the best way of dealing with a hangover. All the fresh air and exercise, I guess.

      That said, I still try to avoid going out drinking the night before a hike.

  17. evan says:

    I don't like paying a cover to drink overpriced poison and damage my hearing; I can do subsets of those things with just the people I like at more pleasant alternative venues. I think I used used to go out more frequently when I was younger because I hadn't thought the above through.

    • strspn says:

      Same here.

      Except there's more. About 10 years ago an ex was in town and we went out dancing at a SF nightclub. Suddenly I felt excruciatingly embarrassed, for no reason but that I did. I probably haven't been to a non-ballroom dance place five times since.

      As for movies, Netflix.

      I try to go to plays. I make it three or four times a year.

      When I feel like paying absurd money for booze, I like to go to a bar in the lower Haight, near where I used to work, but no dancing.

  18. gnat23 says:

    I'm gunna tip my hat to roisnoir: it's hard to go by yourself.

    - I'm always the designated driver. (and don't lecture me about public transportation: I live in San Mateo, I use Caltrain to commute all the time, but it's awkward to use late at night.)
    - I'm not guaranteed to have a conversation once there. Sometimes the conversations I do have are shouted over music, and/or I'm creeped out by the random stranger who decided to start conversation. Honestly, I think it was easier to chat with strangers when outside as a smoker.
    - While in my younger years, yes, I was more willing to stay up late on a weeknight, the truth is that now I actually care about what happens in my morning hours. I don't want to be hungover or bleary-eyed for it anymore.

    I guess weeknights, when faced with driving somewhere, wrestling for parking, paying a cover charge, spending money on drinks (paced, so I can drive home sober), not knowing the music well, and not knowing many people there... vs drinking cheaply at home with a Netflix? It's gotta be pretty special to get me to make the effort. One-offs, holidays, special events, and so on I'm more likely to convince myself that it's worth it.

    Since you specified money - yes, I've blown money on parts for my bike most recently. I figure I'm guaranteed to get some joy out of that for a long time, rather than the risk of ho-hum nights out.

  19. jered says:

    Does getting married count as a life-changing condition?

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Hmm... I dunno. I don't think so.

      My parents have been married 44 years and have had an active social life throughout! :)

      • sparklydevil says:

        i didn't know you were born out of wedlock!


      • jered says:

        Fair enough. I don't think I have anything to add that hasn't already been said, but let me give it a try (and add data to your survey):

        -1) As others have pointed out, the real question is "where are all the young kids to replace us old fogies", as I'm going to be 30 this year. (Not saying that's old, but it's into the long tail of "going out".)

        0) I'm in Boston, not SF.

        1) Bought a house. Actually in the city, on public transportation, etc., but there always seems to be something that needs doing/fixing.

        2) Got married. As I'm the organized one in this relationship, I spent a few months doing planning stuff that sucked up a good bit of time.

        3) More responsibility at work. Startup organizational maturity, and management responsibility means that I can't keep my preferred hours that involve waking up around 11-ish.

        4) Other people stopped going out. I've got a husband now so not looking for a relationship, and while part of going out is enjoying the entertainment, part is enjoying it with friends. Other people I know don't go out as much, and new college kids probably don't want to talk to me.

        5) Fed up with the stupid costliness. If I'm going to spend $50 out, I'd now prefer a good bottle of wine to crappy well vodka.

        6) Got involved in different scenes. This will be my third year at Burning Man, which I suppose should qualify as "going out" in a very extreme way. Most burner events around here are held at private locations.

        7) Private/public events. Most of my socializing has been at private parties anyway, so perhaps I'm not the right person to respond to your survey in the first place.

        • mc_kingfish says:

          I'd say every bit of that qualifies as experiencing life's many entertainments, with a dash of life-changing events thrown in! Keep it up! :)

  20. pdkl95 says:

    I fall in the "important life-changing conditions" mostly, so I suppose I generally don't count, but there's one big factor thats affecting everything:

    The Internet

    I include things like World Of Warcraft in this, along with the traditional forums, silly games, and other time wasters. All forms of entertainment have been suffering because of the increase in competition from The Internet. I remember reading an article a while back about how TV execs were freaking out about this, not because of people "pirating tv", but because they just didn't care about TV anymore. The Internet was more fun.

    As a secondary point, I blame the culture of the day. The 90s were pretty fast-and-loose (dot.com business being the best example) and now, generally, people are much more stressed out. Such situations are not good for luxury spending like entertainment.

    As a third, and much lesser point: today's music either A) sucks, or B) is too fractured. There isn't really a huge push in music like there has been before, that really drove the culture.

  21. chromebishop says:

    Has anyone under 30 replied to this post? I wanna know what the people who were supposed to replace us are doing instead of going clubbing?

    • korgmeister says:

      Eve Online. strangedave pretty much nailed it earlier that MMORPGs win vs clubs in the cost/benefit calculation.

      If I stay home and play EVE, I'm going to have plenty of fun. If I go out, it might be awesome, but it'll probably suck. Plus I have to go to a lot more effort, pay a lot more money and risk getting the crap kicked out of me by roving bands of drunk assholes.

      I'm a big giant pussy and I can't handle work or school with a hangover/sleep dep, so I am not going to go out if I have work or school the next day.

      However, these days that's almost every damn day of the week. Otherwise, I go out during the weekends and they play remixes of top 40 crap to bring in as many punters as possible. This is a perfectly sensible thing for club owners to do, but it makes me utterly uninterested in going to clubs on weekends.

    • icis_machine says:

      that was in first thought.

      i have the impression that they (<30) have always grown up so sheltered and structured (riding bikes wearing helmets, not running off to play with friends, always staying inside), that they don't know how to go out and make new friends or be adventureous without it being setup by their parents. and even if they do, i suspect they are only doing it to find a mate. of course, now we can simply order up a bride or marry someone in our WoW guild.

      • pozorvlak says:

        Not convinced. Most of the undergraduates I've known (in the, gosh, nearly 9 years I've spent as some sort of student) seem to maintain quite intensive "drinking and clubbing and drinking and gigging and did I mention drinking?" schedules. OK, I'm speaking from a UK perspective rather than a US one, and the UK is USA-lite in this as in so many other situations, but I don't see why US under-30s would be substantially different.

        • pete23 says:

          because we are hardcore?

        • agent139 says:

          yeah, i see plenty of slack jawed under-30-somethings wandering around like zombies around the city. ("the city" for me, at the moment, is philly.)

          from what i can tell mostly they get shitfaced and have sex with people who pluck all their eyebrow hairs out one at a time and then replace them with pen like that creepy matronly woman who worked as a janitor at my middle school.

          i kind of wish they would all go away. maybe then culture would return.

      • lanikei says:

        under 30 here. though not from SF.

        there have been a lot of changes in my going out schedule and in my motivations but some random thoughts...

        - going from a retail job i didn't care about to a real job certainly impacted my going out. but really it just meant that i needed to be confident i would have a good time if i was going out. unfortunately it coincided with other changes in the scene that made it a riskier proposition. i'm fine going to work a zombie once or twice a week, but not if i spent all night waiting for something fun to happen.

        - dc doesn't have much weekend nightlife that i'm into. i've just moved to baltimore, so perhaps i'll find something more to my taste here. but even living right in the bar district of dc meant that my options were indie rock dance nights, hiphop clubs, or bars full of frat guys. even 80s night is on a thursday - which used to conflict with the one big G/I night in the city.

        - the goth scene is where i feel most comfortable and it has been choking its way to a slow death here. i used to be content having one GREAT night a week and just sort of hopping to other scenes on other nights, but now there's nothing i'm enthusiastic anymore. once you've had a string of bleh nights, you're less motivated to keep trying.

        - i used to meet a lot more people when i was a random girl that no one knew. now, several years later, i know more people but don't get to meet new interesting ones. and many of the people i know don't come as often so it's not as much fun. for that matter, the crowd doesn't change enough for me to meet many new people anyway.

        - there are a few big dance clubs that get some big djs, but even going to see oakenfold (a DJ i've loved live before) made me want to kill people. i couldn't deal with the crowd, and while i was younger than most of them, i felt like i had somehow outlived my time. somehow the trance scene, which i used to love or at least tolerate, has been swallowed by obnoxious guys in button down shirts "dancing" and sloshing me with over-priced beer. the other electronica options seem to be dnb/jungle... i dig the crowd more, but just can't move that fast anymore. :-P

        - i used to have a lot of fun at gay bars, but since my "bois" all moved away or grew up... it's rough to be the hag without a fag.

        - the djs here play music i don't want to dance to. i used to go out and dance for pretty much 3 or 4 hours solid. half the time i didn't even drink bc i was too busy dancing. that doesn't help the venue much, but it meant the night was good enough to keep me coming back. it'd be easy to say that tastes change, etc, but no one else was dancing either. making requests helps, but only if the DJs listen. sometimes it feels like a pissing contest to see who can avoid the songs they KNOW people like. i understand playing new stuff and introducing a crowd to different things, but you've got to strike a balance.

        all of that being said, i think that perhaps the "marginal" crowd that is probably addressed by this post is more affected by the internet/video game threat. the clubs and bars that i avoid because of the crowd that they attract are still pretty full. so full in fact that it means that all of the clubs and bars have those nights all the time instead of hosting a goth night or what have you that might appeal to me. so maybe that chunk of the younger population IS going out, and the chunk that would attend more eclectic stuff is sitting at home on the internet BC WE ARE NERDS (and proud of it).

        • elusis says:

          sometimes it feels like a pissing contest to see who can avoid the songs they KNOW people like. i understand playing new stuff and introducing a crowd to different things, but you've got to strike a balance.

          Oy, vey. Indeed.

      • razorsmile says:

        i have the impression that they (<30) have always grown up so sheltered and structured (riding bikes wearing helmets, not running off to play with friends, always staying inside), that they don't know how to go out and make new friends or be adventureous without it being setup by their parents. and even if they do, i suspect they are only doing it to find a mate. of course, now we can simply order up a bride or marry someone in our WoW guild.

        Bullshit. That's an very simplistic and exceedingly generalized impression. If anything, in my experience, people who grew up overly sheltered are the ones most likely to cut loose, like they're making up for something.

        Plenty of people my age do those things i.e. go out and drink and dance and have one-night stands.

        All this question really comes down to is that times change and people over a certain age hate when that happens. This is invariably the case as far back in history as you care to go. The fact is, there are more entertainment options than there have ever been and several of those don't require you to go out and buy overpriced alcohol and rub up on sweatsoaked strangers.

        Times change. Deal with it.

  22. zwol says:
    • I don't like to get drunk, I don't like being around drunk people, and most of the regular club-type scenes are full of drunk people.
    • Ditto other sorts of recreational drugs.
      • In particular, I hate the smell of cigarette smoke and have close friends who are deathly allergic to it. This means I basically never go to bars, even in states where smoking is prohibited inside, because there's always the cloud of vile smoke outside.

    • I like going to see live bands, but have always been too lazy to use any of the ways one finds out what live bands are playing in the near future, on a regular basis. Thus I miss lots of shows because I didn't know about them.
    • Furthermore, almost all such shows are both overpriced and too loud, in my opinion.
      • When I have a discretionary budget, I spend it on books, museum tickets, and restaurants, in that order.

    • I would in general much rather be playing board games and/or just talking with a small group of people I already know than trying to interact socially with complete strangers in a noisy environment.

    You could get me to go to a hell of a lot more shows just by forcing all the bands to cut the damn volume by about a third and the ticket prices by half. $10 for a nightclub show with a live band is about right, IMO, and no one needs more than about 60dB (measured from the audience). Oh, and that's $10 including sales tax and T*ck*tm*st*r surcharges.

    • zwol says:

      I should add that I'm willing to go to some trouble to avoid surcharges (e.g. showing up in person at the box office to buy the tickets) but making that easier would be a definite win. I realize the promoters and bands don't have any control over how much the ticket brokers charge, but c'mon, this is 2008, why can't you sell tickets directly from the venue's website at no extra cost?

  23. g_na says:

    After 20 years of going to live music and dance clubs on a regular basis, including 7 years of working in clubs 1-3 times per week, usually 6 or more hours a night, frankly, I got tired of it.

    Other reasons:

    I don't know that many people out at the clubs anymore, and that makes it less fun.

    I've already heard all those songs. Too many times.

    Having allergies means that drinking is less fun for me. I used to like going to clubs and drinking, but clubs are less fun when you're not drinking.

    I am no longer single, and that means 1) there is less impetus to go out and meet people, 2) I'd rather spend time with my spouse than I would a bunch of drunken kids I don't know.

    I have to be up early four days a week, which means I can't stay out late on school nights. [Many years ago I realized a good nights' sleep was much more important than staying out later, and as you get older (I'm pretty sure I'm older than you, Jim) you don't deal as well with the lack of sleep.]

    I'd rather interact with friends over a nice dinner/drinks somewhere where we can actually talk and have a conversation and be comfortable.

    I've gained weight since n years ago and can't dress up the way I want to when I go out.

    I've been exploring non-club outings, such as fancy restaurants, the aforementioned quiet evenings with friends, more travelling, weekend trips, working on hobbies, etc.

    When I do go to clubs, it's more "special" (or whatever) because it's something I hardly ever do anymore.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      AGH! YOU USED MY _HUMAN_ NAME!! On livejournal!! ;)

      Again, though, please indicate where I said, "going to the same old danceclub nights."

      I think a lot of people didn't actually read the question or the bullet points.

      And I wouldn't argue your history or your cred. I respect the time and effort and years you put in.

      (Now then... I'm pretty old, y'know... If you're older than me I'm going to need to see your license to operate a dinosaur!)

      • g_na says:

        Again, though, please indicate where I said, "going to the same old danceclub nights."

        I think a lot of people didn't actually read the question or the bullet points.

        The first half of my clubgoing life was spent seeing live bands. With a few exceptions, the nightclub life to me has always been about the music, so that's what I have in mind when I think of "going out".

        As far as the whole "going out and experiencing life" thing, well, there are *plenty* of nights where I display my lameness by just staying home, and that's what my response was based on.

        If you're older than me I'm going to need to see your license to operate a dinosaur!

        You had one of those new-fangled dinosaurs? Back in my day, all we had were amoebas! ;)

    • elusis says:

      I've gained weight since n years ago and can't dress up the way I want to when I go out.

      Right, because we fat girls only have the option of going out wearing mu-mus, or going naked.

      • mc_kingfish says:

        My answer was to make much larger (male) friends!

        Now I'm the wee little slender one! (well, comparatively... )

      • g_na says:

        I'm not sure what you mean by your comment.

        Dressing up the way one wants has nothing to do with size, and everything to do with comfort. If I'm not comfortable with the way I am or the way I look then that's my own, personal cross to bear.

  24. after a few years of being out 5 nights a week from 10 til 2am (literally), looking like a go-go dancer while cleaning my bathroom, and having people at the end-up actually know my name.........

  25. mc_kingfish says:

    Important point: this post was not specifically about going to dance clubs.

    Other important point: the question was "why did you change from X to Y," not "why did you always hate going out to dance clubs... "

    Please reset...

  26. crackmonkey says:

    * BART sucks. I was bridge-and-tunnel folk and cabs are expensive. BART didn't run late enough. Busses didn't cut it. PS, Driving Sucks in SF as well. Parking blows.
    * People suck. Stupid fucking bars were too loud and played shitty house music. Also, the cover charges were expensive, as were the drinks. Most of the people I met that lived in SF also sucked.
    * Venues sucked. The places that weren't bars were pretty lame. This is probably my fault as the people I knew just didn't really "dig" on doing stuff in SF. Bridge-and-tunnel again.
    * Friends rock. I can hang out with people I like, with music I like, and inebriants that are reasonably priced. Also, illegal inebriants aren't frowned upon in this venue.
    * Live music (mostly) sucks. The kind of music I listen to (electronic) suffers in the transition from studio to live performance. It doesn't help that you have to wait through hours of painfully bad DJs to hear the headliner.

    I'm under 30, but I suffer from enjoying being around people who are mostly older than 30. I've also moved away from The Bay Area and now enjoy going out once again in my new area of choice. There seem to be many more places where I can :
    * Enjoy conversation with the people I'm surrounded by, even if they're not my friends
    * Enjoy the food/beer/drinks served
    * Enjoy the music, even if it's not my style
    * Get home on public transit

  27. mc_kingfish says:

    I'm not trying to be a smart-ass here, I honestly don't know...

    Are people really having this many dinner parties and inviting their friends over for 'em? Like what, once a week? Twice a week?

    • I do. But I also go out (as you might know) :)

      • mc_kingfish says:

        Yeah, I thought of netik and you, but then realized I didn't know anybody else who did this.

        Heck, _I_ barely eat at my house, let alone invite others over to do so!

        • I, too, got interested in doing the lots-of-other-stuff-is-interesting-in-this-world-besides-dance-clubs things--except I just added 'em to my repertoire, instead of having them replacing clubs entirely.

          I have tons and tons to say about this topic, but I'll save it for when I see you.

          • mc_kingfish says:

            Uh oh!

            Please don't kick my ass!

            • Oh, not like that, you.

            • Also, Jim, you KNOW you went out less when you had the day job kicking your early-morning ass. Why do you think it would be so different for the rest of the world?

              • mc_kingfish says:

                Actually, I don't know if that's true. I've _always_ gone out a lot --ask around! And I don't think you can use me as a yardstick. I was probably going out at least 3 nights a week when I was 40 years old and working way more than fulltime. I think putting me up against the wall in this case just screws up the experiment!

                • You HAVE always gone out a lot; I know.

                  I also remember hearing from you a lot more "I can't be there tonight, I have to be up early tomorrow" than I do now.

                  So even a complete outlier like yourself feels that effect.

                  I think you and I are exceptions rather than the rule, my dear. Comparing the rest of the population to yourself is a little unrealistic--so the whole "you don't get to use the excuse that you're old!" thing doesn't really fly!

                  • mc_kingfish says:

                    Don't take that too seriously. I was mostly expressing a frustration at What Things Have Become. The original question was ascerbic and a little caustic, but I think I peppered it with enough smart-assery that people weren't going to take offense.

                    And yes, I said those things, but that would be on Day 4 or 5. I still don't see how that means I'm not recognizing something about myself or how I behave the same way (?) I'd be out supporting other people shows, clubs, events all the time. My point wasn't "you must go to everything whenever it happens, all the time and never miss a thing or else you suck."


                  • Dude, you named a bunch of criteria, and now you're going all "JUST KIDDING!" on them. WTF.

                  • mc_kingfish says:

                    WHOA! Hey! No! I'm not saying that at all! The question is still the question and the question is still valid. Don't jump the rails on me here. I'm talking about whether the question was framed in a too-jerky way, and whether I was being too offensive in the way I asked it, not whether I "meant" what I was asking.

                    And from that perspective I'm saying I just don't get why it's being turned into a "Yeah, well you, too, Kingfish" kind of deal. And anyway, didn't I cover that in the bullet points?

                    But if the point here is that I need to be more sympathetic to people who work a lot and are tired and all of that, then fine, I APOLOGIZE! If the point is that I need to own up to the fact that I get tired, too, and haven't made it to every event ever thrown in the history of San Francisco as a result of that, then I own up to that and I APOLOGIZE FOR THAT, TOO!

                    I surrender!

                    Geez.... !

                    P.S. Also, Please read bullet point number 1. Thank you --I will be quiet now.

                  • Sorry, I'm cranky today--I was out way too late last night at an awesome live show and should have stayed in :)

                  • mc_kingfish says:


                    Okay, you made Old Uncle Kingfish snarfle his coffee...

  28. uloixia says:

    and long strolls in the pork


    - I got a boyfriend, and even though he likes to go out, it's too easy to curl up on the couch with netflix. Or TV. Or Wii. All much easier than getting dressed and driving 35 mins from San Mateo to get to a club.

    - I gained weight and most of my club clothes don't fit. So I don't want to go out and drink, because that = more weight gain (hello nachos at DNA!). And at a club, I need a few drinks to dance or talk to people or whatever.

    -I'm not single so there's less incentive to meet new people. That one's tough.

    -I tend not to want to go unless I know other people I know will be there.

    -Maybe some club sponsored out-of-club events? Maybe on a Saturday or Sunday during the day? Might help people get excited about going to the night clubs. Death Guild sponsored taxidermied squirrel races and BBQ. Whatever.

    - Some people are pompous and think they're so special that they should be paid to show up to clubs. WTF? Less attitude, plz. The old regulars know better (and don't care), and the young 'uns think pompous people are too old (so they don't care).

    -Maybe some new venues? I love DNA and Cat Club. Don't care for Glas Kat. Hate Climate theatre because that place is divided up weird and is just unsafe (the stairs to the roof!!) And that's pretty much it. Any other options?
    A new place to go would be cool to check out. One with versatility. *using ancient voice* as I recall, there was Maritime hall, Big Heart City, Manhattan Lounge, Asia SF, Rawhide, Club NV, the place where Camera Obscura was held on 3rd & (harrison?) where the North Beach Pizza is, Jezebel's Joint, Studio Z, VSF, and the place on Barnaveld, Diamond Hall (tho, ick), etc. Most of those are gone now. But they provided variety, and each had its own "feel". The really good ones were versatile and had a few different rooms - a place to dance, a place to sit and talk where you didn't have to scream, a place to smoke, etc. I think people like an area with a dark and intimate feel, where they don't have to scream over music. DNA and Glas Kat are kind of large and cold. Great for concerts and big events, not so great for smaller nights. Also, if I go to Death Guild one night, I don't want to go to BaGG that week because damn, it's two nights in a venue I'm not crazy about.

    -I've heard some people moan about lack of dress code where to get in it's "just wear black".

    -For me, weekly clubs are too frequent. Yes I used to go all the time. Now, "Eh, I'm tired tonight, I'll go next week" turns into a mantra and I end up not ever going. Monthly, bi-monthly, one-off clubs have more perceived value because they aren't thrown as often.

    -Clubs on the weekends please. Sure I used to go out 2-3x a week during the week, but hangovers at work are not cool anymore. I love a good Meat v. Death Guild on a Friday night at DNA. Ooo boy do I love that! Going out on a Friday night helps the weekend feel like it's longer. Really!

    I could tell you all the clubs I miss and why. But then this post would be way too long. You wanted input, you got it.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Excellent response! Thank you!

      • elliterati says:

        As far as dress code is concerned, I have issues. It's hard to attract new blood to anything if you're going to enforce a dress code. God knows I sure as hell didn't fit in when I started going to industrial nights. I looked like a grunge nightmare.

        • mc_kingfish says:

          I'm not big on enforced dress code either, though personally I consider dressing up a major element of going out.

          I can see enforcing dress code if you're trying to avoid having your dressy venue invaded by hoardes of sports-bar types roaring and screaming in their jerseys and baseball caps (I do that, too, but in private!) but not just as a "you're not cool enough for cappucino" kind of thing.

    • icedaemoness says:

      I absolutely agree; good answers, miss! (and hi!)

  29. ctd says:

    As far as the twentysomethings, I'll speculate that there are way fewer coming to the BA than there were during the bubble and runup thereto.

    And here's the thing. Even if the numbers for that cohort are only off by 20%, that may be enough to cross a critical mass tipping point. Like, from "this city fucking rocks whenever I go out" to "it's pretty cool when I go with my friends to something I know is good". So 80% the number of potential warm bodies becomes 50% actual.

    Now - where the rest of them go, I don't know. I think they're poking each other on Facebook or something.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Hmm! Also a good point!

      • flipzagging says:

        Check out the demographics. There's easily half the number of young people here now compared to 1970.

        But that doesn't answer your question of why one generation simply stops going out. (I'm making another response for this).

    • glenra says:

      I suspect the indoor smoking ban was a major factor. It's not as fun for the smokers that they have to go outside to smoke, so they're less likely to go out, depriving clubs of some degree of critical mass with a delayed effect.

      Also there's the long tail thing - as musical tastes get more specialized, as it gets easier to find what you enjoy hearing on iTunes, the chance of finding something you enjoy at a club diminishes.

      But for me, it's (a) netflix, and (b) the internet (reddit, bloglines, etcetera)

      • cadmus says:


        A lot of us went to clubs more when we wouldn't have to breathe the cancer smoke or leave our clothes on the porch afterwards. It made clubs better, not worse.

        • jwz says:

          I used to have to leave my clothes on the porch all the time! Man, that was a disgusting feature of that era.

        • g_na says:

          Hear, hear. I will not go to a club/bar that happens to allow smoking.

        • pozorvlak says:

          Hear, hear! We have an indoor smoking ban too, and now Life is Good.

        • glenra says:

          As a nonsmoker myself - and as someone who has spent a lot of time in casinos - believe me, I understand the appeal of smoke-free events. But the gain from getting a few extra especially militant nonsmoking customers can't outweigh the loss of income from the smokers or you wouldn't *need* the law - no-smoking rules would long ago have come to dominate on their own.

          One problem is that vices tend to come in packs - many of the same people who tend to drink a lot (and for that matter gamble a lot) also smoke a lot. And change happens on the margin; a lot of clubs were barely getting by and even losing a few percent of their best-drinking customers was enough to make the venture unprofitable. Also, nobody wants to hang around an empty venue. Just a few customers - even if they smoke - can make a place more appealing to others compared to none.

          Lastly, I suspect there are positive as well as negative effects from the smoke itself. A "smoky room" is a little romantic - smoke adds ambiance, makes a place more mysterious, makes it a little harder to see people clearly from across the room so you have to get closer to check them out or for them to realize you're checking them out. In much the same way that the very loud music everybody complains about is purposeful - it has the deliberate effect of forcing people to get very close to each other to talk. Come to think of it, even *too much* smoke has the same positive effect as too-loud music - it gives you a natural excuse to ask that hottie you've just met to change venues with you. "Hey, let's get away from all this smoke and go someplace quieter."

          • cadmus says:

            You're projecting.

            The reason why it is a law is that if any one place banned smoking when it wasn't, the smokers would simply go (and many of their friends would follow in order to be with them) to a smoking venue. When there are no smoking venues, that doesn't happen. I don't, for a minute, believe that the kind of hardcore club goer of vices who smokes simply decided to quit going to clubs altogether because of the smoking ban. That doesn't make sense.

            As to "militant" anti-smokers, I never knew any at clubs. It certainly wasn't me or I wouldn't have had the experience of having to come home from a club to put my clothes outside and to shower before bed, not because of sweat, but because everything *reeked* like smoke. My wife has asthma. How long do you think she spent in clubs? Years, as it turns out, but with a significant level of trouble and pain. Do you think she was more or less likely to go to clubs after the ban?

            I really don't see smokers as some kind of avant garde that we lost, much to our chagrin, when they had to go outside to smoke. Non-smokers don't let smokers smoke in their houses. Why would they want them to smoke in restaurants or clubs where the rest of us are trying to eat or have fun without getting the cancer?

            • glenra says:

              I'm applying basic economic principles.

              Given your beliefs, without a law smokers would leave but nonsmokers would find that one place that banned smoking extra-attractive; it would gain business. In the eventual equilibrium state you'd have some places that catered to the "I hate smoking" crowd and other places that cater to the "I love smoking crowd". The fact that this didn't happen implies you lose more business than you gain by banning smoking *even if you're the only one doing it*. The loss of business can only get *worse* from there once there's no competitive advantage because all the clubs around you banned smoking too.

              By "militant" I just meant those whose feeling are strong enough that they'd make a significant effort to patronize businesses without it.

              • cadmus says:

                Unfortunately, your logic is faulty. Most people have smoker friends. If you go to clubs to see friends and certain of your friends refuse to go to specific clubs, you're less likely to go there too.

                Try having a close group of friends with a vegan or two and then plan a dinner outing. Strangely enough, the whole group will often wind up at vegan places in order to please that friend or two.

                Since running a club is often a marginal business, the uneven loss of business can kill clubs. This is what was happening, for example, in Seattle before a city-wide smoking ban went in place a couple of years ago. Club owners clearly stated that they wanted to ban smoking but couldn't take the potential business loss as smokers left to still-smoking clubs and their friends went with them.

                Once all of the clubs banned smoking, by law, the incentive to go to certain clubs because they allowed smoking went away and people started going to venues because they were simply a better venue, rather than because their friends could light up.

                Why should we allow this filthy and dangerous (to health) habit inside a public venue anyway?

                • glenra says:

                  Most people have nonsmoker friends too. If the nonsmoker friends were adamant about avoiding places that allow smoking, the logic of your "vegan dinner" example dictates the group as a whole would have to go to the nonsmoking place. (the smokers would have to either do without or take breaks outside, like they do today). Thus, the nonsmoking place would gain business not just from nonsmokers but also from their friends. It's exactly symmetric with your example, so if clubgoers as a whole disliked smoking more than they liked it, banning smoking would still be a win for individual clubs.

                  If banning smoking is a lose individually, then it's a lose collectively and it's reasonable to conclude that the new law made the bar and club scene less viable. Certainly it's not the *only* factor - many other good suggestions have been made - but it's worth mentioning.

            • jarodrussell says:

              Do you think she was more or less likely to go to clubs after the ban?

              Does she go to clubs more since the ban?

        • elliterati says:

          I heard from a lot of people that the reason they would not come to my shows is because they couldn't take the cigarette smoke. Now that there's a statewide smoking ban in Illinois, I still haven't seen any of those people show up...

      • mc_kingfish says:

        As long as non-smokers stay clear of the all-too-typical pompous speechifying and other Morality Police b.s. I'm actually more or less with them. I'm a long-time smoker, but I also get grossed out by dirty ashtrays, stinky clothes, gaggingly smokey rooms, etc. (good lord, visit the smoke-hole at Glas Kat sometime... It's just about the most disgusting room on earth.)


        This is not a discussion of smoking & anti-smoking laws, sooooo... We move on!

      • icedaemoness says:

        As an ex-smoker of only a year, I definitely understand your point of view.. but the fact is that the smoking ban made a large number of folks quit smoking. Smokers banded together in the outside, and that was fun and sorta secret society, but they never didn't go out because you had to go outside.... I'm gonna propose that any diminished smoker attendance was probably inversely doubled by additional nonsmoker attendance.

  30. zare_k says:

    I am under 30. I live in San Diego, which has less of a reputation for cultural activity, so this may or may not be applicable.

    I do go out to eat quite often. Otherwise, I don't find myself inclined to go out to shows, clubs, etc as much as I used to. Part of it is changes in my life and changes in my friends' lives-- my wife doesn't enjoy a lot of public events, which would be less of an issue if a lot of my friends weren't busy with new homeownership, new parenthood, scene burnout, etc.

    Part of it is that I've never dealt well with sleep deprivation, this gets worse as I get older, and I work 9-6 for The ManTM.

    Mostly, though, I'm finding that the time and expense involved just doesn't get me the quality of experience I'm looking for. I'd be inclined to go to more live shows if I wasn't paying $40 to TicketBastard and the venues' sound mixes weren't terrible. WTF is up with the "it's good enough if it's loud enough" mentality? I like going out to dance, but not for $cover + $$$drinks with pop/hip hop spun by DJs who couldn't mix something for an EZ-Bake, never mind about dance music. (I do recognize that subpar club DJ quality seems to be partly a regional problem).

    Also, most drunk people irritate the piss out of me and I no longer want to drink enough to not care.

    So yah, mostly whining. It /is/ lame, I agree.

  31. roninspoon says:

    More and more, as I get older, I find myself hating people with more regularity. All the time I find myself bowing out of something as simple as going to the movies or seeing a show, just because I start to think about all the asshats I'm likely to have to mingle with.

    I'm not sure if misanthropy is the primary reason for me being such a hermit, but it's certainly the one that I can recognize the easiest.

  32. desl says:

    To be as reductive as possible:

    The primary reason for going to clubs is to interact with members of the opposite sex.

    I'm in a stable relationship now. Having sex > looking.

    The impetus to put up with the downsides of clubs is less when I can get to point at home.

    (All the other extra curricular activities I've picked up keep me getting out of the house at about the same rate, just not to clubs. FWIW, too loud is the biggest downside for me. In the old days clubs were in divided basements with shitty sound that couldn't be turned out. Having a place to talk made it worthwhile.)

  33. wisedonkey says:

    I stay away from shows to protect everyone else. Every single time I make an effort to go see a show, the band or group responsible for said show typically break up before I make it to the show. Same thing happens to magazines that ask me to write a story. I also tend to kill conversations. Everything I touch dies. Stay away from me. I'm toxic.

  34. djinnaya says:

    I used to joke that I knew what day of the week it was by what club I was going to. Now, I have whole weeks that go by where I don't go out dancing. I really do miss it. However, when I do go out, I don't find the things that I am missing.

    I like to have a good time (duh), and there are only a few things that I go out to now where I'm having a good time. I don't like to drink to the point of plowed anymore, so I'm sober enough to realize that I'm not having a good time, and then I think of the things at home which I'd rather be doing. I could be humping or reading or working on a project. These things leave me feeling more fulfilled than a mediocre night on the town.

    I do have dinners with friends more often than I used to. In regards to your question, I would say that I have dinner or tea with a friend at their house or mine at least once a week. I do spend more time enjoying the daylight - taking long walks, flying my kite on the beach, going to museums and the like. I hit the symphony and other artsy events more often that I used to.

    Still, even with all of those things, I don't go out as much as I used to. My theories as to why are:

    1. It doesn't give back to me as much as I expend. I'm not talking about money, but about energy. I just come home feeling like I wasted my time.

    2. A lot of people annoy the shit out of me a lot of the time. I find that when I go out, I end up interacting with people that really suck in some way or another. I don't like to spend time not liking people, so I often stay home rather than spend time with them.

    3. There used to be something involved in going out that isn't there anymore. I don't know where it went to. Maybe it was the drugs or it was the drugs that killed it. Maybe it was the fact that we all (well, you all) had so much money to do amazing superhero stuff then while now we have "reality." Maybe it is from getting old. Whatever it is, I end up with a sense of sadness when I revisit the places I went and the things I did. I believed in something so much, and it's gone. When it makes me sad, I tend to retreat back home for a couple of months.

    There's a lack of magic and a lack of hope in some of the "out" these days. I find it on my own in unusual places, but I don't find it in the nightlife anymore. I've lost it before and watched it jump back to life, only to die again. I'm betting it will be back, and then I'll be out there, pounding coffee to stay out for just one more song. Until then, I'm getting a lot of projects finished, and I'm sharing a lot of good food and good walks with my friends. Life is happening, and I'm presuming that it will be happening faster (Whee!) again at some point, just not right now.

    If you see a magic out there somewhere, let me know. If you figure out what killed it, tell me, and I'll go get a bat to go beat down the culprit.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Wow! Another great response! Thank you!

    • icedaemoness says:

      The magic and hope disappearance... that's most definitely it.

      I often feel like I really have to work up an emotional energy to go out clubbing and not feel... either like I wasted my time, or just generally depressed/saddened by watching the attendees that aren't my friends.
      Strangers used to look exciting and new (and like possible sex partners).
      Now I tend to see a lack of excitement and "giving" to the community of the event, and instead I see a desperation, a self-starvation for approval, grasping need and ... well... frankly a pretension (much like I used to make fun of in traditional-gawths), particularly in the newer attendees.
      Of course, being objective vs subjective, I can't say that wasn't true of me when I was younger.

      However... I wanted to be giving my talents (yes, all of them, snark) to a community. My priorities were to form friendships and stake out new kinds of (politically questionable) relationships, experiment with them and try to prove that a new kind of living situation was possible.
      I wanted attention from strangers (and this is less important than it was, now that I have built a family of friends), but I also wanted to CREATE a community; something that would exist outside of my personal needs (but that I could return to of course, to get them fulfilled.)

      And.. you know... I don't feel that from the younger ones... but that could be because I am not gothic/industrial/depressed anymore and so all of it now looks so terribly black black black like the moon on a moonless night. and shit.

  35. thirdwired says:

    I am in the nascent stages of planning a move to the South Bay (ugh) but in the meantime I find myself living in a smaller town with a proportionally outstanding reputation for availability of live entertainment. My reasons for eschewing it include:

    * Most of it fails to justify the cover charge, to be honest
    * Not my crowd
    * Too. Fucking. Loud.
    * Too. Fucking. Crowded.

    In other words, live music venues are just not places I care to go to. Dance clubs are a different story (when I don't care about being congenitally white) but in that environment you discover that everyone's there either to be seen, or to dance. If I'm unwilling to place myself CATEGORICALLY in the second group, I'll probably have a lousy time.

    As for the rest, the Internet has made it so much damned easier to meet fellow travellers that playing the meatspace-meetpeople lottery has truly lousy odds by comparison.

    Finally, WRT SF in particular, in order to live comfortably in S.F. County you MUST have at least some live-to-work tendencies in your character, which universally means folks are at home working or sleeping or getting alone time, not out listening to a live band. Some form of rent control would probably do wonders for the live entertainment scene, because then the work-to-live types could actually make their presence felt at an event.

  36. neutopian says:

    The baton never got handed to the next generation.

    The nightlife scene here peaked in a frenzy of drugs, smoking, tits, muscles, cabs that came when you called them, available apartments within a 5-mile radius of downtown, danceable music that wasn't just for 80's Night, cocktails that didn't cost $18 or involve muddling, a lack of easy hookups via Craigslist, and a social climate where Asperger's Syndrome wasn't the new bisexuality.

    Now, as a 40 year old, I can go out and feel bored and cheated and treated like That Creepy Old Guy, or I can sit here on my ass and read LJ without (as much) risk of douchebag encounters. Easy call.

    But I'm not bitter! Okay, I'm bitter. I agree with the above post, the magic just went out of it. How will the young kids make it magical again, I do not know!

    As far as where my money goes instead, I just bought a new outfit and some gifts online, also while sitting here on my ass in front of my HD television. Later, I'll go to the gym and spend more money to work on my fat slack shut-in ass. While listening to my isolating douchebag-deflecting headphones, natch.

  37. edlang says:

    1. My hearing started to go. I took to wearing hearing protection too late and now even with wearing earplugs, it still annoys and troubles me. I find it harder and harder to hold conversations with people.

    2. I work in a city where's it's difficult to find well-paying employment without needing a security clearance. With that clearance comes a set of rules and laws I must follow, many of which are in direct conflict with having fun ...

    3. WoW.

  38. flipzagging says:

    I think the question of why there are fewer people going out (to the kind of shows mc_kingfish might like or promote) is answered with simple demographics. San Francisco is becoming an older, richer, more expensive, more professional, more childfree city. The arts and their audience are traditionally driven by people who are marginal in one way or another, and SF just has less of them. The kids are way off being oppressed in the suburbs, and they spend a lot of time online because of that (blame jwz for the graphical interweb).

    The question of why people stop going out when they get older is maybe more interesting. Surely all those childfree people have spare time? Well, for the most part, they fill it with work, and in-home entertainment. Consumer electronics are crazy cheap and even finding a place to park these days is really difficult. The older you get, the more comfortable your own home seems. You're not going out to escape your parents or your roommates or whatever.

    You raise a good point of why haven't people found new activities to replace the lackluster drunken night at a club. It's simple: your social network collapses dramatically when you pair up. You're spending a lot of time with one person rather than a little time with many. Soon it's "just the two of us" and maybe a few friends over for the dinner party or restaurant every now and then. Even if this is kind of boring after a while, people don't know how to break out of it. They've found the friends they like, which is good, but they've also lost the vector by which they got interested in new things. Part of my day job involves trying to repair that social network with online interactions. Seriously, we get fan mail saying that we've helped save marriages.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Those are good points, especially combined with San Francisco's active War on Fun, which is doing it's all to drive people away from gathering and socializing.

      The comment earlier about all the clubs that have disappeared in just the last few years goes hand in hand with all the attempts to put on end to things like the Castro Halloween party, etc. (though mind you, there's a whole seperate thread there about the fact that less and less young people have any sense of how to behave in public, with booze, in large groups, etc. --it's all related, and all part and parcel to the demise of socializing, or knowing how to socialize.)

      So, everybody should go out and have a good time. There! I fixed it!

  39. jason0x21 says:

    Granted, I'm not in San Fransisco, and I did in fact just come back from a night out trawling art galleries and getting down at a dance club, but it's something I don't do as often, for a few reasons.

    1) I'll take issue with your work and school assertion by saying that a 40 hour work week offers much less flexibility than a fully loaded school schedule, even though I'm working the same number of hours. Falling asleep in a class of 50 is different from falling asleep in a meeting of five, that you're running. I suppose I could get a job working second shift, but I don't like the idea of halving or thirding my salary. So maybe the change from school to job, or shit job to nice job should count as a profound life change. Call me a slave to the man if you will, but I'm doing what I love and won't apologize for they expect me to be there and on the ball.

    2) I don't know about S.F., but around here Shows. Never. Start. On. Time. So a show slated to go on at 9pm isn't actually going to be something I can realistically attend (during the week). This are not whines. I take a realistic assesment of what I can do and still take care of business. So instead of late night events, it's early drink or two at a bar. A movie. A geek coffee katch, and yes, maybe a thing at the house with friends. I do a "come on over for drinks" thing every month or so and get pretty good attendance for a house thing, but I start promptly at 8pm. Some local clubs are getting the idea and starting some shows earlier. Being home at 11pm from a rock show is a novel and enjoyable experience.

    PS: A word of warning. A "where did all the audience go?" can easily turn into a "you are all lame". Oh, wait, it did. It's a poor performer who blames the audience, and while it sounds like you're making a good faith effort to figure out where everyone went, folks who are worried about being castigated about not going out enough might not go out at all.

    PPS: As for where the kids behind me are supposed to be. If they're not going out like I did, your guess is as good as mine.

    • jason0x21 says:

      Jesus H. tapdancing Christ. Forgive the mild incoherence. Hopefully that all makes sense. I'll chalk it up to being, well, tired.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Hold the phone, though! It's not about people not going to just one thing or even just _my_ shows... I think something else applies when people are disappearing from all across the city and from a wide variety of entertainments.

      • grlfridae says:

        maybe it's my age showing, or the fact that i actually like sleep now, or that i'm at my best early in the morning and burn out by ten, but i really like jason0x21's "come over for drinks" idea. i used to do that in college, ala pre-party, but reviving the idea as the party sounds fun. maybe that's happening more, -- people just going to each other's houses for little fun things.

      • jason0x21 says:

        If it's across the board, then my question wouldn't be "where did all the old people go?" Old people always go. My question would be "Where are all the new people?" I tend to think that the event-going crowd maintains a certain average age. If it's shrinking, I'd think it's not being replenished with new blood.

  40. zebe says:

    Somewhat embarrassing to admit, but, my reason is that I don't know anyone here who likes to go out.

    Before I moved to the Bay Area, I was a college student and, like some other posters have said, knew what day it was by which club I went to. And I liked it that way!

    Then I moved here, and I now have a responsible, adult job and live in Nowheresville, South Bay. The city is either a long, solitary drive or a long, solitary train ride (with time limit to return, or turn into a pumpkin) away, and there's little to do outside SF after dark. I've tried hitting up downtown San Jose, but haven't found a scene there to my liking.

    Going out by yourself sucks, and not going out makes it hard to meet people. The above poster from Upcoming.org has my gratitude; it's the only thing that gets me out at all, but I still go out way less and have much less fun than I used to.

    Edit: everyone else's reasons for not going out anymore (not liking popular music, or there not being any young people/people their age, etc etc) don't help either; that just means if I overcome inertia, there's less of a reward at the other end.

  41. bellacrow says:

    we all got faster, cheaper interwebs access. and now we can sit around in our pjs while making websites to show how cool we really are.

  42. It is happening everywhere, not just in San Francisco. Government mind control gangster police state.

  43. babbage says:

    I lived in the south bay area for a while in 2005. These days I live in Ireland. I go out to clubs about two weekends out of four here (down from 3.5/4 when I was single). But when I lived in the bay area I didn't go to clubs in SF at all. They were mostly run on weeknights and public transport wasn't a realististic option (most stuff stops running). Driving was also not an option since I preferred to choose to drink alcohol.

    Here in Dublin on the other hand I can walk from my apartment to whatever club I'm going to, or if I don't feel like doing that, get a taxi for about $10. No problem.

    • waider says:

      That would put you conveniently in the city, I suspect. I'm living in the burbs myself, where committing to going out "in town" means a half-hour on public transport and a €20-€25 taxi ride home (or the Vomit Comet for €4, but that comes with its own barrel of fun). Couple that with the fact that "my crowd" dispersed to the four corners of the world and you have the two biggest reasons why I'm more likely to stay in and watch a movie than go out looking for any sort of entertainment. Trying to make new friends on a night out is a tricky prospect at best and more apt to wind up with me nursing a drink on my own in the corner.

      Plus, I would agree with a lot of the above commenters who indicate that the cost/benefit analysis just doesn't make sense any more. My local bar is a quiet spot, but the pint is still under €4 and doesn't get jacked up as the night goes on, and there's never been (nor is there likely to ever be) a cover charge or some guy on the door who deems me insufficiently whatever to get in. It's not like I'm counting the pennies when I go out, but I don't like to supoort extortionate pricing and arbitrary access policies, either.

  44. grlfridae says:

    we moved to the suburbs, then our car's engine blew and we couldn't afford to get it fixed. six months later, now that my only means of transportation is something other than a motorcycle (we finally had enough money to buy a VAN), i intend to stop being an anti-social lazy ass and singlehandedly revive the scene. whatever that may be.

  45. tramp32123 says:

    Not in SF, but I go out to performances more not less. Generally concerts and the like, rather than nightclubs though. The why is that many moons ago, my ex and I decided not to make the drive up to Auckland to see Queen - said 'next time we will'. There was no next time :-(. So now I go to all that we can afford. I'd go to Hubba Hubba revue if it showed up in Raleigh NC - even thoughI don't like bars and night clubs as a performance venue. Here there are smoking drunks, not just drunks. Live performance rocks.

  46. pikuorguk says:

    I never went out much anyway. Then I got an Internet connection.

    There's also nowhere interesting to "go" in the UK unless sitting in pubs, clubs and bars are your thing, staggering around at 3am trying to find a taxi in the cold and rain is your idea of a great night out, or you enjoy going round your friends' houses (which is really just the same as staying in, only you're in their house, not yours).

    Plus in the UK all we ever talk about when "out" is the shitness of our jobs, the weather and the price of petrol.

  47. spike says:
    • ManRay: ManRay closed. There was no acceptable substitute at the time, and the rhythm of life that involved regular outings to THE community weirdo zone was broken. There was no automatic place-to-go anymore for a whole flock of freaks, myself included. In addition to losing our regular nesting place, it meant that we had to think about where to go, and we had to go out of our way to pass the word that tonight 'we all' were going to X instead of 'the club' (=ManRay). There was no longer a good chance that you'd wind up running into three or six or ten friends -- without doing all kinds of planning and organizing.

      For many (weird) people, ManRay closing broke a virtuous cycle of regular clubbing.

    • Kid.1: Spawned child process. While it only consumed relatively small amounts of resources directly, the frequent(!) NMIs and resultantly high level of resource fragmentation just completely slaughtered the scheduler and overall 'entertainment' throughput for the first few years.
    • Kid.2: Babysitting (required) cost and complexity. These add significant impediments to impulsive outings in the evening, which used to be a regular thing: a willing and available sitter must be identified, located, contacted, sometimes transported, and paid.
    • Kid.3: she gets up ready for breakfast and her day at 6 or 7 AM no matter what, even if Daddy only got to bed two and a half hours ago, and regardless of what he's done to his blood chemistry. (file under "O", for "ouchie! morning hurts!")
    • Kid.Net: as various members of my social crowd were stricken with problems Kid.1-3, the likelihood that someone ELSE would say Hey, X is playing at Y tonight, let's go! dropped off; the expected number of positive responses that I would get were I to make that kind of proposal also dropped off. More likely to say Hey, come over tonight, the kids can play together until bedtime, yours can sleep in the guest room; the grown-ups will stay up, order sushi delivery, and watch Tampopo together, and wrap the evening up by midnight.

    In semi-sadly semi-related news, I am now curious about "baby loves disco":

    all across the country, baby loves disco is slowly but surely transforming the hippest night clubs into child proof discos as toddlers, pre-schoolers and parents looking for a break from the routine playground circuit let loose for some post naptime, pre-dinner fun. make no mistake, this is not the mickey mouse club, and barney is banned. baby loves disco is an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by real djs blending classic disco tunes from the 70s, & 80s guaranteed to get those little booties moving and grooving.


  48. jurph says:

    The internet and MMORPGs offer large-scale social interaction with strangers for pretty cheap. The strangers vary from pretty cool (an Army specops linguist who uses WoW to spend time with his other Army buddies all over the world) to incredibly lame (examples too numerous to mention).

    If I crave excitement IRL, I can gather a bunch of my friends (many of whom I met during my crazier days) and we will go for dinner and maybe some kind of entertainment like a concert. Movies are pretty much out of the picture, what with Netflix being cheap and home theaters being much nicer.

    I go out about three or four times a month, mostly on weekends, because my job requires me to be awake at 0500, which used to be a perfectly valid bedtime.

    I dispute the 5th bullet -- three or four majorly fun things a month has always been about my limit. Maybe I'm just a loser?

  49. sparklydevil says:

    one thing i've noticed about SF in particular is that people are really...well, let's just say it: PUSSY about the weather. that really weirded me out at first, because i was used to detroit where there would be four feet of snow and people would STILL go out (put on yer snow pants, darlin' and i'll git the tire chains - we goin' DRANKAN!)

    the only possible reason i can surmise: since bad weather here is such an infrequent thing, so when there's a rainy night people are more inclined to just say fuck it and stay in, whereas in the midwest bad weather is the norm for 6 months out of the year, so people just learn to deal with it (or move to california...)

    as for the other answers....what the fuck, do we have to start doing WoW numbers at hubba hubba to remain competitive in this environment?

  50. unwoman says:

    I'm Just Not That Into It (anymore)

    *Also I would rather stay home and make music than lose my voice talking to people and drinking too much

  51. I'm only 25 and I've already broken up with clubs. I honestly can't remember the last time I went somewhere I had to pay to get in (although I think it was a Hubba-hubba several months back).
    I don't enjoy it as much as I did when I was 18 (or 21) but why?

    I've found that I am now largely incapable of bullshitting with former acquaintances that had nothing to say other than "how are you?" but also don't care to hear my response.

    I could use my insane school and work schedule as a reason, but it doesn't stop me from going to bars at least twice a week.

    I fully agree with the "video games" point made by several people before me. I oftentimes would prefer to hang out and play Xbox/Playstation/Wii with some friends and and some beers than get in a cab, go to a club, pay to get in, shout over loud music that I may or may not like pay too much money for a cocktail in a plastic cup (no disrespect to the dna or it's deadly and tasty cocktails), and then get hit on by drunk men/women that can't come up with something better to say than "did that tattoo hurt?"

    I am much more inclined to go out to something that isn't a dance club, however. I frequently pay a cover charge at a sports bars to watch fights on the jumbo tvs, and will gladly put up with all of the aforementioned annoyances to see a band that I like (depending on the venue).

    Now that I have a real job with real pay, I find that I'm doing things that I couldn't afford to do when I was going to nightclubs regularly (going to the ballet/opera/symphony/theater etc).

    Lastly, I started dating someone who is decidedly *not* one of *us* (whereby, us, I mean a "nightclub person"). He is, in fact, an artist (the real kind, not the kind that goes to death guild and says he's an artist because he likes to cut himself and then draw portraits of trent reznor by candlelight) so on nights when I would otherwise go to the dna/cat club/wherever, I find that I have just as good a time going to art shows where the music is pretty much the same- except slightly quieter, the drinks are as expensive- except actually served in glass, and my evening is generally more fulfilling.

  52. positricity says:

    The only reason I went to clubs when I was in college is that there was nothing else to do (besides maybe Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament, which I did plenty of, as well).

    There's a lot wrong with nightclubs:

    • The sound guys must all be deaf: everything is deafening and too damn loud.
    • Ear fatigue: a constant bombardment of high SPLs makes me tired, especially when I'm at a rock show and want to see the headliner rather than the 3 shitty opening bands.
    • I hate being around people who are drunk or on drugs.
    • I hate cigarette smoke.
    • Despite being a night owl, I'd like to at least have the option of waking up the next day at a reasonable hour, to enjoy more fun activities. Every rock show starts late, and by the time I've seen the headliner, I'm getting home at 2 AM.

    So what am I doing now, instead of patronizing nightclubs? The answer may surprise you. I'm on stage at clubs and bars, wielding a Jazz bass and standing in front of an old Ampeg stack. I'm not famous enough to be the headliner, and I usually go home right after I'm done playing. Maybe I'm denying myself the occasional networking opportunity, but I have a lot of fun, and I'm home by 11.

    • baconmonkey says:

      The sound guys must all be deaf: everything is deafening and too damn loud.

      No, the guitarist and drummer are deaf.
      Most small-to-mid-size venues have a mix coming out of the speakers that is mainly kick, Bass, and vocals. If they don't have good subs, then it's mostly vocals. yes, the other parts are in the mix, but generally pretty quiet. When the guitarists amp goes to Eleven, the vocals have to be pushed to Twelve in order to heard at all. I've mixed shows where I've taken the snare completely out of the mix, and still wished I could make it quieter. I have 15-20 thousand watts at my disposal, and still often have to push it hard to compete with really loud rock band guitar amps.

      I did a live show last week at one of the biggest dance clubs in town. the band had 3 drummers, and they were so loud, I pulled them out of the mix completely just so that the backing tracks could be heard. Bands with lower stage volume ALWAYS sound better.

  53. karlshea says:

    Like an above poster said, it's not just SF.

    Milwaukee is having the same problems with club attendance, and a couple of clubs have closed this past year. I've worked at one of the largest clubs in the state for the past 3 years and even in that time the number of people per night and the number of nights we could even have has dropped almost in half. It just seems impossible to drum up people to attend an event anymore.

    The reasons are probably different than in SF, but I'm not quite sure what they are and am just as interested in them as you.

    • Hmm... I'm from Milwaukee, too. I'm 26, and I'm already a troglodyte though. Clubbing was my thing, especially to find goth venues, but not anymore. It's mostly been a few small realizations of what I don't like that have kept me at home:

      1. Damn cigarette smoke--I realized I really hate trying to dance in the strangling haze of--well, burning stuff.
      2. I realized I really don't feel welcome. People bump into me like it was on purpose, they're so aggressive and competitive today. I can be feisty about it and start fights, but that's not what I'm there for. Where's the PLUR these days??
      3. I realized they don't play music I like anymore (except at goth clubs, but see ({1,2}) about that. Anyhow, I've become bored with house music and want to hear Drum & Bass or Darkwave.
      4. I realized, probably as a function of ({1,2,3}), especially (3), that I'm usually not that excited about being there--so why bother?
      5. I realized that I feel patronized when I'm forced to stand in line at "happenin'" places that are sparsely populated once I get inside.
      6. I realized I don't like being ignored at the bar and then having some shithead cut in and get served first. Same aggressive crap I see in (2), fvck those people. Where did deference and courtesy go?
      7. People are clicky and look at me funny when I talk to them. Maybe I'm just a creep?
      8. Paying a cover ON TOP OF paying for drinks sucks unless I really like the performer.
      9. Damn parking--and no, I don't want to pay for valet, because when you live in Milwaukee, that's just inane!

      And I'm not single anymore, so the usual applies for that.

      Anyway, I did the art museum thing for a while, but nobody's there to socialize with new people. I think I'm just acquiescing to the notion that Most People are Dicks.


  54. bramcohen says:

    I stopped going out because I had a couple kids, my career got a lot more demanding, and basically staying out late is extremely inconvenient and impractical now.

  55. ptocheia says:

    My nighttime activities have strongly decreased since a few years back or so.

    I think part of it is having a job where I have to be at work at 8:30, rather then the school schedule of getting up at noon, or the work-from-home schedule I held up until a few years ago. It can become hell to go to work when you've only slept a little the night before.

    Shifting musical interests: I used to be more interested in seeing live music and dancing, but I'm not really familiar with most of the bands out there anymore, as well as not really familiar with much of the music out there (and I long ago grew sick of 80s nights).

    More interests in daytime activities: I'm more interested in hiking and cycling then I used to be, neither of which work quite as well in the nighttime. So I try to structure my day so I get more sunlight, thus going to bed earlier.

  56. nutpunch151 says:

    For me, there was a shift in the music scene somewhere around 2001 or 2002. I spent most of the late 90s in Chicago and went out a ton (once I was able to get into bars and clubs). Mostly we would go out to dance clubs/parties and, at the time, there was a hell of a lot of energy and excitement surrounding the entire electronic music scene.

    It seems like once we entered the 2000's all of that became completely passe. I was feeling it during my last few years in Chicago and it really hit once I moved to the Bay Area in 2002. It was like nothing was special anymore. I felt like I was wasting my time going to record stores or dancing to DJ Push Play. The last thing I wanted to do was spend $7 on a drink to hear a good DJ while surrounded by douche bags.

    These days, I still go out occasionally but mostly to small local dives and rarely to dance clubs. Chalk it up to work, school and a whole lot of apathy. I'm just not as excited about doing it up as I used to be. It's easier to convince friends to go down the street than it is to drive across the bridge, find parking and not drink.

    None of us are as excited about whats going on in the city. Is there an exciting scene somewhere and I'm just out of the loop? Or does shit (myself included) just suck ass these days?

    Blah. Whatever...

  57. allartburns says:

    Before leaving the bay area:
    - art projects / burning man started soaking up a lot of my free time
    - living in the south bay means adding 2 hours to the amount of time you
    spend doing anything in the city
    - I was never one to "hang out" at clubs to begin with, so even when I
    stopped going to DG/Bound/whatever regularly, I still went out to see
    bands and whatnot

    Now that I'm in Pittsburgh, it's mostly a matter of the club scene:
    - people still smoke in bars. yeah, I love wearing my fancy club clothes out some place and then coming home stinking like an ashtray.
    - what passes for goth/industrial clubs here are often DJ's by breakcore/dnb DJs who don't care if people are dancing or not
    - the chill/lounge DJs turn up the music so loud you can't have a conversation. (Yes, I'm talking about YOU, Halcyon DJs. We even pointed out that people were leaving and repeatedly asked you to turn it down so we could, you know, lounge with our friends. But you kept turning it back up to eleven so we left.)
    - no public transit to speak of

    We still go see bands/acts, but hanging out at clubs is just not any fun. We go have dinner with friends, drinks at a bar, go to gallery crawls or art salons and have (probably) as much fun as we used to. We just don't go hang out at bars until 0200 every night.

    For a few months there was a swanky, non-smoking restaurant here that had great food downstairs and DJs upstairs, but they were in a crappy part of town with no foot traffic or public transit, which is probably why they closed. I would love love love to be able to go have dinner some place decent (not even nice) and have a floor show of some sort during/after.

  58. wyndebreaker says:

    Because after working in them and going to them from 1992 to 1999, it became really unhealthy for me and I moved away from SF.

    Nothing will compare to 1995, or at least that's what I tell myself as an excuse not to go out whenever I visit SF.

  59. diemoniker says:

    two reasons:

    In 1984 the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21. Not only did this make bars/clubs/music venues less profitable (18-21 are really the most golden years of substance abuse - after that you only have a while before one wakes up the morning after a party and think "That really was one too many"), but it also made it more difficult for youngsters to spend their malleable impressionable years seeing bands, and developing a taste for it, rather than, say, developing a taste for drinking 40s down by the water treatment plant.

    The "urban revitalization" (and consequent real estate inflation) of urban areas means that it's a) harder for venues to stay open and b) harder for everyone who works/dances/bounces/is even remotely associated with that venue to go out five nights a week. Most of the non-trust funded younguns I've met in this town work 2-3 jobs AND are earnestly studying something like "massage" or "Chinese medicine" or "business" out of the misguided notion that they will be able to use a major in one of the previous as an eventual ticket out of their 2-3 jobbish lifestyle.

    My advice: Let's form a powerful political lobby for a lower drinking age and increased urban blight.

    • mc_kingfish says:

      Sign me up!

      I think it was Frank Sinatra who said, "I feel sorry for people who don't drink, 'cuz when they wake up in the morning that's the best they're gonna feel all day... "


  60. I know it's kind of late responding to this, but it happened about two years ago when being on the internet was suddenly less scary than being out in the real world, and a little more comforting, too.

  61. shandrew says:

    I've never been much of a club-goer, but I found this thread fascinating and read the entire thing. Something that wasn't mentioned as far as young people go is that most colleges today are much more parental and insulated. Compared to a decade ago (when I was in college), college kids do not go out as often. There has been a huge culture shift in colleges throughout the country.