Varsity Theatre

4329 University Way NE,
Seattle, WA 98105

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Related Websites

Far Away Entertainment (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Far Away Entertainment

Previously operated by: Landmark Theatres (USA)

Architects: Bjarne H. Moe

Functions: Movies (Classic), Movies (First Run)

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 206.632.7218
Manager: 206.632.2267

Nearby Theaters


Opened in 1940, in September of 2003 I found the Varsity Theatre to be open and busy showing movies. It was situated in the Meister building which was built in 1921 to the designs of architect William White. “Varsity” was spelled out in red letters with a yellow background in between twin marquees that extended out from the building at an angle.

Operated by Landmark Theatres (USA), it was taken over by Far Away Entertainment in January 2015.

Contributed by Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kateymac01 on May 16, 2005 at 3:32 am

A little history from the Varsity’s Web site:

The Varsity has been operating as a movie theatre since 1940. Since there was no room to build outward, the theatre was expanded vertically with the addition of two upstairs screens in 1985. These smaller auditoriums feature high-back ultra-cushy seats with large wall-to-wall screens.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 16, 2005 at 7:00 am

Listed in Film Daily Yearbook, 1950 edition, as having a seating capacity of 471 when it was a single screen.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2011 at 5:33 am

The Meister Building was built in 1921, according to this historical site summary from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods. The original architect of the building was William White. The expansion and conversion of the building into the Varsity Theatre took place in 1940, and was designed by theater architect Bjarne Moe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2011 at 5:42 am

I should have said that the conversion of the building to a theater in 1940 was designed by Bjarne Moe. The expansion of the building took place much later, when the two additional screens were added.

The Varsity got an updating in the mid-1950s, which was handled by the B. F. Shearer Company. Boxoffice of October 22, 1955, featured a two-page article about the project, starting here.

markinthedark on December 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Landmark will be pulling out of the Varsity in January but the property owners are in talks with “an established operator”. Still 35mm got the early run of Interstellar as a result.

MattHucke on August 21, 2021 at 11:06 pm

Joe Vogel: thanks for the article reference. The link you posted is dead, but I found it at (pages 126-7)

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