Uptown Theater

1350 Third Street,
Napa, CA 94559

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Uptown Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Uptown Theatre opened on August 13, 1937. It was quadded in the 1970’s and was closed in the late-1980’s.

Work began in 2005 on a restoration/renovation project, and the auditorium was returned to a single space. In late-2009, restoration and renovation continued and it reopened in early-2010.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

KurtL
KurtL on November 18, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Remember 15 cent ice cream cones at Thrifty in Riverpark???? I’m sounding damn old now, but –

With inflation, that 1978-1979 15 cent ice cream cone should be like $1.60 now I am guessing. However, try to find any ice cream for under $4.00, I challenge you. Why’s ice cream so expensive these days? It’s people who go and spend $6 at cold stone creamery who has made the cost go up and caused the credit crisis. Same people who had to have 52" flat panels in every room of their house.

warrendewey
warrendewey on April 30, 2009 at 9:10 am

Looked inside at ongoing work yesterday. The appearance is about as in the 2007 article mentioned above, but the ceiling decorative paint looked nicely restored, as well as a huge mural over the stage. It’s basically a wonderfully large space with a very high ceiling for a theater lacking a balcony. In the back of the house, the seats rise stadium-style over the relatively small lobby.

The place appears to be a purpose-built movie house, with lots of original deco details and light fixtures still intact. There is no real stage or fly loft, but it looks like a new thrust stage area has been built.

It seems as though the place is being restored a bit at a time, but should be really nice someday. Maybe room for 900-1000 seats. Extensive second floor offices and booth were being worked on.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 3, 2010 at 12:17 am

According to JamBase, the Uptown will be hosting a concert by retro band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on May 14.

MikeMorgan
MikeMorgan on March 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

My Dad was the Manager from 1966-1976 I worked there from 1970-1975 the stories I could share, crazy times. Napa was a great place to live in those days, most of my friends worked there (you know who you are)also how about the Kay Von drivein, alot of good times. Glad to hear it’s reopening way too much history to let it it stay empty hope all goes well I plan on visiting my next time through.

JohnRice
JohnRice on May 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Reopening (finally!) is May 14, 2010. Here’s an article from the St. Helena star:

View link

Too bad there aren’t plans for films, at least occasionally. It would be a great venue for a WIne Country film festival. I really like it when these renovated theatres make films a part of their programming. Nothing like catching a flick (preferably a classic) with a large audience at an former movie palace such as at Oakland’s Paramount or San Jose’s California or Antioch’s El Campani to name three greater Bay Area examples.

Fond memories for me of seeing movies at the single screen Uptown when I lived in the Napa Valley 1959-1964. By the time it was converted to a four screens it was pretty much ruined. I look forward to seeing the restored Uptown in the near future.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 26, 2010 at 7:09 am

This photo was published in The New Yrok Times travel section yesterday:
View link

The theatre also has an official website at www.uptowntheatrenapa.com

LBorg
LBorg on February 12, 2011 at 8:28 pm

My Uncle Lawrence Borg built the uptown in 1936. So glad to see that it is restored to its former glory. My uncle would be proud to see it still in spectacular condition

In 1933 Lawrence Borg became half owner of the Fox and State Theatres leases and business in Napa, Calfornia, and in 1935 Sole owner. In 1936 he built and began operation of the Uptown Theatre in Napa http://www.uptowntheatrenapa.com/history/ and in 1938 converted the State Theatre into the Napa Bowl, a bowling alley, which he operated for a year. He sold the Uptown, Fox and State leases to the Blumfield Theatres, San Francisco. He also built the Santa Rosa, California Bowling Alley in 1938 and operated it until 1940 when it was sold.

GaryMeyer
GaryMeyer on February 22, 2012 at 2:03 am

I grew up at the Uptown and someday will get around to writing some stories. The recent restoration is gorgeous but sadly the wonderful ceiling mural of topless ladies riding chariots has only been recreated quite small and is hidden by lighting bars unless you are in the front rows. At a recent high school reunion several people confirmed the original mural…we remembered if the movie was boring the ceiling was not! The first manager claimed there was no such mural so my guess is it was done n the late 1940s when a painter came through Northern California creating similar works in small town theaters.

This recent article in the Napa Register has some mistakes (like claiming the Fox becoming a bowling alley when it was actually the State per above and my own memory). But there are theaters mentioned here I never knew about. http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/real-napa/columnists/rebecca-yerger/napa-s-old-movie-houses/article_565a63e6-4faa-11e1-a1f0-001871e3ce6c.html?mode=story

I do hope the Uptown operators will consider dong some films programs. Art films, classics and shows presented by the Napa Valley Film Festival. Wouldn’t it be grand to offer these on nights between live shows.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

A few 2011 photos can be seen here, here and here.

HatefulJosh
HatefulJosh on October 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

It seems strange that this theater closed in the late ‘80s. I could have sworn that I saw Ed Wood here in 1994. Though I was only 15, so my memory could be hazy.

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