Metro Theatre

2055 Union Street,
San Francisco, CA 94123

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rivest266 on August 1, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Also uploaded the April 23rd, 1924 as Metropolitan.

rivest266 on August 1, 2018 at 3:29 pm

This reopened as Metro on June 7th, 1941. Ad in the photo section.

MSC77 on December 22, 2017 at 2:09 pm

“The Graduate” opened here fifty years ago today. The film went on to play (a venue record?) 46 weeks. And to commemorate the classic film’s golden anniversary, here’s a new retrospective article which includes some exhibition history (and other) details.

GaryParks on January 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm

The facade of the Metro is essentially finished. It, and the marquee and vertical are repainted in two shades of taupe, and all the neon is back in place. Construction still continues inside. The 1920s ticket lobby ceiling in the entrance has either been preserved or carefully replicated. Through the new entry doors, one can see that the central one-third of the stenciled lobby ceiling has been faithfully replicated.

CSWalczak on April 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

An article about the proposed plans for the conversion of the Metro Theater into a gym. View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Here is a quote from the Landmark Designation Report for the Metro Theatre, regarding the involvement of architect Otto A. Deichmann in the 1941 remodeling of the house, and his professional relationship with Timothy Pflueger:

“While architect Timothy L. Pflueger (1892-1946) has long been associated with the 1941 renovation of the Metro Theatre, his involvement is less clear than that of architect Otto A. Deichmann (1890-1964). A city permit, dated 1941, for interior work and plumbing lists the name of the architect as Otto Deichmann, 321 Bush Street. Historical consultants involved with the 1998 renovation of the theatre believe that Deichmann worked with Timothy Pflueger during the renovation. Research has not confirmed that Deichmann worked in the offices of Pflueger’s firm, Miller and Pflueger, but the two men were associates and overlapped on important projects, most notably the Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939-1940, where Deichmann designed the Shasta-Cascade Building. The well-known mural by Diego Rivera, Pan American Unity, now located at the main campus of City College of San Francisco, was commissioned for the Golden Gate International Exposition. The mural depicts both Pflueger and Deichmann. Pflueger, friend and patron of Rivera, collaborated with him on the mural.”
Click this link to download a PDF file of the Landmark Designation Report. It has a fairly extensive history of the theater.

SkotFromTheRio on February 20, 2012 at 10:30 am

I managed the UA Metro around 1990. Of all the theatres I ran for UA in San Francisco, it was my favorite. Such a beautiful building, mostly unchanged from it’s opening state. Huge Lalique-style murals on the walls. a Todd-AO projector with 70mm capability and very decent sound. Among the movies that screened there during my tenure: • MEMPHIS BELLE in 70mm • BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES in 70mm • NOTHING BUT TROUBLE with Chevy Chase (total bomb. averaged 8 admissions per day. got a lot of gum scraped off the seats that fortnight) • PARIS IS BURNING (a documentary about transvestite “balls” in New York. The SF Chronicle reviewer said up front that it had no business playing at the Metro, and should have opened at the Castro. With seven shows a day and sellouts every night, I totally cleaned up.) • PRESUMED INNOCENT

TLSLOEWS on June 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Very nice maybe someone can open it back up.

kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 1:50 pm

The Metro in slightly better days – from spring 1996:
View link

lacadaz on February 4, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Here are a few shots from the exterior taken in January 2008

Metro Theater

tjmayerinsf on February 2, 2008 at 12:47 pm

The SF Landmarks Board will consider landmark status for the Metro Theater next Wed., Feb. 6 at 12:30 pm in Room 400, City Hall. See for more info or email Alfonso Felder at … the Metro item is #14 of a 14-item agenda so it will be later in the afternoon . .

enlgdm25 on October 8, 2007 at 4:13 pm

Does anyone know what is currently happening with the theater? Are they planning on using it as a theater or for alternative uses? It is a shame that it is not in use, because it is such a beautiful theater. Who is the current owner of the property, and what is their contact information?

kencmcintyre on September 4, 2007 at 5:07 pm

It seems like an upscale neighborhood. I can’t imagine it will be vacant for much longer.

Eric on September 3, 2007 at 3:13 pm

Wow, it’s real sad to see it all boarded up and dormant like that. I bet the residents and businesses on/near Union Street now wish they had tried to save it and keep it open.

RAMcBride on August 15, 2007 at 3:13 pm

I am looking tp photograph some interior shots of the Metro. If anyone has access to the Metro and knows the importance for archival documentation please email me or post a comment I would love to help.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 4, 2007 at 10:55 am

An associate friend of mine, who is a professional promoter and owns two theaters, is looking for a classic/historical theater to buy in which to present concerts in San Francisco.

My memory tells me that the Metro was once a vaudeville house so possibly there are dressing rooms etc, still exsisting and what dimensions are the stage. Is there a tower to fly the screen?

Also, will someone please update me with a seating count, in-house operational equipment and a contact name/phone/e-mail for a “$” amount?

Here’s hoping that United Artists/Regal didn’t trash the place when vacating -as is so typical of this cut throat chain of candy merchants.

I say to “the City that knows how…” let’s get the Metro’s lights back on… it’s time to rock ‘n roll!

RAMcBride on June 13, 2007 at 7:24 am

I am a photographer working on a book about San Francisco movie theatres. I have already photographed the Castro, Bridge, Balboa, New Mission, Tower, Roxie, among others. I want to photograph the Metro Theater but I have encountered some obstacles- anyone have access to the inside of the theater? Please email me or post a response to this email.
To see my photographs go to

R.A. McBride

Ian on March 18, 2007 at 9:39 am

Exterior photo here:–

View link

kencmcintyre on December 29, 2006 at 7:38 am

I like the little plea at the bottom of the photo. My gym used to be the Mann 9 at the Del Amo mall in Torrance CA. No trace of the theater now.

HowardBHaas on November 4, 2006 at 5:53 am

I am copying below from the “News” section Gary Parks comments. He mailed me a CD and with his consent, I have posted photos on my flickr gallery so everyone can see the TWO layers of movie theater history present at the Metro. The auditorium has the 1941 murals on view, and the 1924 columns hidden. Apparently, in 1998, the rehab did the reverse with the lobby, bringing it back to original 1924 design rather than the 1941 decoration. The photos show what you don’t see.
Being in Philadelphia, I haven’t visited since 1997, so if I am incorrect, Gary or others can advise. Ok, here’s the first of the photos that Gary sent me, the others follow:
View link

Firstoff, a little historic correction: The theatre was designed by James and Merrit Reid. The office of Timothy Pflueger did the 1941 remodel, which is mainly what one sees today in the auditorium. The vertical sign dates from this time, but the marquee dates from an earlier and more lighthanded redecoration, as does the deco sunburst pattern you see today on the inner lobby ceiling once you enter.

The plasterwork in the outer and inner lobbies is mostly from 1924. The paintwork on the outer lobby ceiling is 1924, save for some minor embellishments by artist Kelly Cool during the 1998 refurbishing. She also did the arched murals which are on either side as you proceed from the outer to inner lobby.

The lobby as remodeled by Pflueger no longer exists, having been totally removed during the 1998 refurbishing, at which time the original 1924 lobby was largely restored, with some sympathetic updating.

The auditorium features murals by the Heinsbergen decorating firm. These date from Pflueger’s remodeling. The ceiling, save for the 1998 acoustical panels, chandeliers and 1941 paint, is from 1924.

Behind the draped and plastered angled walls on either side of the screen are hidden extensive intact remnants if the 1924 auditorium. These include large Ionic columns surmounted by eagles clutching shields, and arched niches containing urns and long-disconnected cove lighting. The organ chambers, though empty, are intact, and their openwork grilles, though slightly damaged, are largely extant.

I was one of the historical advisors to the 1998 renovation, and was a guest at the subsequent Grand Reopening. I would love to see the Metro escape demolition, even if it meant only a partial retention of the building. While preserving the building intact would be my first choice, even a reuse of the building’s shell, with a restoration of the facade’s key decorative elements is preferable to complete demolition, which will likely give birth to yet another example of slavish, tired devotion to the long-outdated and academically-loved but (usually) publically-loathed Bauhaus style, or worse, a poorly proportioned attempt at historicism such as is so common today—a style best described as “Lego Mediterranean.”

All this being said, I am not currently in a position to actively help in the fight to save the Metro—professional and preexisting volunteer obligations preclude this—but I would be more than happy to share copies of the photos I took in 1998 of the 1924 architectural features which exist behind the 1941 walls, as well as extensive knowledge of theatres designed by Reid Bros., having been closely involved with the ongoing preservation and restoration efforts at the Reid-designed Golden State Theatre in Monterey, as well as a little aid in the efforts to save San Francisco’s Harding Theatre.
posted by Gary Parks on Sep 19, 2006 at 1:12pm

butters on October 10, 2006 at 5:37 pm

Sadly, the Metro closed down last week.

ZabrinaTipton on October 9, 2006 at 3:53 pm

Speaking of the Lee’s that operate the 4 Star and Presidio, as was posted above, our family went to the Cars opening weekend there and 20 people were there. It was a Saturday late morning movie. It was such a disappointment to see the lack of people supporting a neighborhood theatre.

I was moved though to witness how Lee family works so hard at the Presidio Theatre: at the window, the door, the concession stand and starting the movies. The bathrooms are clean and the theatres are wonderfully set-up with Red Curtains and wonderful layouts for seating.