Uptown Theatre

1350 Third Street,
Napa, CA 94559

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Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

stevenj on November 12, 2016 at 4:41 pm

There was cosmetic damage from the earthquake but the theater had been strengthened during it’s most recent renovation during the first decade of the 2000’s. The (Nov 2014) Napa Valley Register link with proscenium damage pic has the details:


robertcampbell on August 25, 2014 at 4:47 am

Yesterday’s 6.0 earthquake in Napa, caused some damage to the Uptown. Photos show it being roped off, with reports from newspapers of damage to the exterior and to the interior. The extent of the damage is unknown, as there was no power in the building for a decent inspection.

HatefulJosh on October 4, 2013 at 9:35 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.

Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

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

GaryMeyer on February 22, 2012 at 10:03 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.

LBorg on February 13, 2011 at 4:28 am

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.

JohnRice on May 4, 2010 at 12:54 am

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.

MikeMorgan on March 8, 2010 at 6:56 am

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 3, 2010 at 8:17 am

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

warrendewey on April 30, 2009 at 5:10 pm

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.

KurtL on November 19, 2008 at 3:53 am

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.

KurtL on November 19, 2008 at 3:47 am

I miss Perry’s Deli, best darn sandwiches anywhere. Anywhere I tell you!
Word of warning:
If you live in California still, cherish your deli sandwiches. They’re so fresh and wholesome. Not so on the East Coast. Who wants to eat a “Hoagie” ? <rolling eyes> Damn you, you can get your sandwiches on Sourdough. It’s not fair!

Say HI to the Sonoma Cheese Factory for me. However, last time I was there, you can’t watch them make cheese there any longer!

KurtL on August 9, 2008 at 4:36 am

part II

Rentals picked up and we hired another person to run the video rentals and I became assistant manager. I had a ball there, selling tickets, talking with customers about the movies. I forgot to mention that this is one of the HUGE old theaters with a Giant screen. I even enjoyed closing and cleaning up the theater at midnight all alone. I’d crank up the music in the theater and go to work.

Good times….

KurtL on August 9, 2008 at 4:33 am

In the 80’s, I was the assistant manager in high school.
I was “Lured” away from the Sound Connection where I was their Video Manager. Video rentals were just starting to take off. We rented BETA too! Blockbuster wasn’t even around yet, they didn’t start until 1985. Anyway, I moved to The Uptown theater and started their video rental department from scratch. They let me choose the stock of rentals; as a future film school student, I was in heaven.
—— end of part I ——

tickets, talking with customers about the movies. I forgot to mention that this is one of the HUGE old theaters with a Giant screen. I even enjoyed closing and cleaning up the theater at midnight all alone. I’d crank up the music in the theater and go to work.

Good times….

GaryParks on July 11, 2007 at 6:35 am

I went to a movie once at the Uptown, in 2000, to see “Elizabeth.” The lobby was mostly in original condition, though it needed work. The auditorium was ‘plexed, as mentioned above, and had been pretty much gutted in the process. I don’t remember there being any decoarative features surviving in there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2007 at 4:40 am

The plans for this theatre were announced in a November, 1936, article in the magazine Southwest Builder & Contractor. The architect named was A.A. Cantin.

sblaziek on July 10, 2007 at 3:32 am

As a child I remember standing in line to see a Disney feature on a Saturday and the line would reach around the block to the front of the post office! We always sat in the lower seating area, but if you turned around and looked back at the balcony, there would be a thick haze of blue smoke. We ate ice cream bon bons, Sugar Babies and those greasy french fries that came in a bag. Going to the Uptown was a treat!!!!!!

Kanthume on April 22, 2007 at 6:29 pm

When I first moved to Napa County, the Uptown was a single theater. It soon split into two when the nearby River Park Theaters opened. It stayed a twin theater for many years. By the 1980s it was playing seconds at cheap prices but it had a wonderfully large screen and comfortable seats. But there were problems. The projectors would often break down and the film cancelled. The heat would often not work in winter. When the River Park Theaters closed down, their projectors were moved to the Uptown. And then in the 90s someone got the “bright” idea to make 4 small theaters out of the place. These were cramped theaters. The screens were to high and large, the seats at weird angles because they kept the seats designed for the larger layouts in the same places The projectors kept breaking down. People stopped going. And it closed down. Now Napa does not have a second run discount theater.

rkoch on April 10, 2006 at 1:51 am

William; the Uptown Theatre always had 1130 chairs in it from 1937 until they decided to multiplex it.

rkoch on March 17, 2006 at 4:37 pm

As I worked in the projection room of this thatre both before and after WW2 I,too, have a special interest in the restoration. I no longer live in Napa but when I do visit there never seems to be any one around or working.They have restored the “vertical” and done a beautiful job, other than that, I don`t know whats been done or how to find out.

Rella on January 12, 2006 at 3:53 pm

You can find a current photo of the Uptown at the following link: http://www.napaphotos.com/newuptown.html – It appears the lights are on but no one’s home…

baraf on January 2, 2006 at 8:53 pm

I’m still waiting for news.

It looks like a beautiful theatre.

It looks like someone spent money on renovating it and cared for it.

It looks like it is now abandoned.

Please advise.

baraf on November 30, 2005 at 10:35 pm

This theatre should be listed as “closed”. It was undergoing renovation and a lot was accomplished. From the outside it looks like it has been repainted and that the poster frames and woodwork have been restored.

But as of September 1, 2005 there was no evidence that any work being done on the theatre. And it looked like the work had been discontinued for some time.

There was some unsubstantiated rumor to the effect that the contractor was negotiating for construction permits on other buildings and that this was tying things up.

But whatever the cause for the stop the theatre is not being finished and it looks like it has been “under renovation” for a period that is so painfully long that the project may have createred.

It’s a shame because it looks like it was a beautiful classic theatre and the neighborhood where it i s located looks like it could use a shot in the arm.

I looked at this site when I returned and found no current news about the theatre.

Any news would be welcome.

Donald Baraf

William on October 27, 2003 at 3:57 pm

The Uptown Theatre is located at 3rd Street and Franklin Street. At one point this theatre seated 1254 people.