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36-Year-Old SF Nightclub Battles DC Bar With Same Name

Also: Sextant Coffee’s struggles, and more news to know today

DNA Lounge, DC’s logo (l) and DNA SF’s (r)

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • Is it fair play for a new business across the country to chose the same name as a 36-year-old SoMa institution? Depends on who you ask. Eater DC has the tale of DNA Lounge, a new (apparently hookah-themed?) club in a building on the East Coast corner of 11th and U Street NW. It has no relationship with San Francisco’s DNA Lounge, which has operated on (3000-mile-from-DC) 11th Street in SoMa. DNA DC’s owner tells Eater DC that “he was aware” of the SF venue, but still chose the name because its “short and nice and catchy.” When SF’s DNA caught wind of the spot, they sent DC’s DNA a cease-and-desist letter, which a neighboring bar owner says “pissed me off” because DNA SF’s “first response in the middle of a pandemic is to lawyer up.” DNA SF owner Jamie Zawinski tells Eater SF that “we own the trademark on ‘DNA Lounge’, so it’s pretty cut and dried. That should be the end of it right there. They have no legal right to use our name.” In addition, Zawinski says, “it’s just asinine for them to claim that nobody will be confused by this because we’re on 11th Street in SF and they’re on 11th Street in DC. Have they heard of the internet? It’s pretty popular. For them to pull this kind of nonsense during the pandemic, a time when 100% of our business is online webcasts, online food sales, merch sales, and memberships is particularly galling.”
  • Sandwich chain Subway responded Thursday to a Washington Post-amplified lawsuit against the company claiming that tuna sandwiches in Bay Area shops were tunaless, saying in a press release that “these baseless accusations threaten to damage our franchisees” and calling the NorCal suit “a reckless and improper attack on Subway’s brand and goodwill.” The company also got support from SF Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho, who writes “the fact that the plaintiffs’ attorney has repeatedly refused to disclose the results of the analysis of the tuna salad — really, the evidentiary basis of the lawsuit — raises a major question mark that makes the whole thing seem frivolous.”
  • Local broadcast hit the streets Thursday night to see how SF’s outdoor dining reopening was going. Brace for dampness. [KPIX] [NBC Bay Area] [KPIX] [KTVU] [NBC Bay Area]
  • Kinani Ahmed, the founder of SoMa’s Sextant Coffee Roasters, says San Francisco “is not really helping small businesses. It’s just talk.” [SF Chronicle]
  • St. Helena’s V. Sattui Winery says that while online sales are up by 200 percent, revenue lost by shutdowns and cancelled events means they’re still short on funds. [ABC 7]
  • The Napa Valley restaurants that sued Gov. Gavin Newsom over the outdoor dining shutdown have dropped the claim — but say they’ll refile if there’s another opening rollback as the pandemic continues. [Napa Valley Register]