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Dancers at Asylum, Tucson, 2003 (above, below).


121 East Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

Original gothic art and photography, dark-fashion dancers writhing, a live DJ spinning nightly. On a good night, Club Asylum is the best escape from the Normals. It’s across the street from Grill, where you always end up anyway. (If you get there post-Asylum, you can show off your dance-smeared post-Cure look too.) For many of us, it’s the neighborhood bar with adventurously artistic participants. Tourists not wearing black are OK as long as they behave. And if they don't, well, you can't swing a cat in there without hitting a dom.

-Cia Romano and Kyle Kulakowski, spring 2003


There is no cover from Tuesday to Thursday, $5 cover on Saturday and Sunday. Most Asylum regulars wear at least one major article of black clothing. Fetishwear is common, safe, and appreciated. The crowd is cyclic: one night you may wander in and the place is packed, and the next it may be populated by five fabulous-looking Dark types.


Asylum usually has a 1$ drink special ‘til 10pm, another $2 drink special ‘til 11 and a beer special that runs all night. Check the blacklight marker board behind the bar to see for yourself. The Asylum proudly hosts the only Brit pop/indy night in all of Tucson and the DJ welcomes requests within reason.


A small hallway to the left of the bar leads to the rear open-air patio area. The only downside is that you have to be sober to know which is the mens’ and/or womens’ room (both are labeled with a small artistic rendering). If you are stumped, the men’s room is on the left.


What you are going to admire most at Asylum (other than the hot goth guys and girls) is the artwork – by locals Jinx, Julie Ramsee, Mike Peru, and Carlos Campos -- that lines the walls and add to the gothic feel. The piece that really will grab you is the giant metal Chluthu-like beast suspended above the bar (well, the artist labeled it generically “alien”). It is made almost entirely (99.9%) of scrap motorcycle parts.


The Double Zero used to occupy this space with bad lighting and pool tables on the main level and a cave-like basement that hosted bands like Greyhound Soul and one of the craziest Hydra fashion shows ever, featuring Jae and Jay, Anne, Zoe, Miss Michelle, Jaison and Cia.


You can go to www.clubasylum.com for more information about the club and the fine folks that work there. The owner of Asylum, DJ Cain (Stephen Holder) brought Asylum nights to other clubs and seeing its post-Fine Line popularity, opened up his own space.