Rivoli Theatre

1941 San Pablo Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94702

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Golden State Theater & Realty Corp.

Architects: Marc T. Jorgensen

Functions: Retail

Nearby Theaters


Located in West Berkeley at San Pablo Avenue & University Avenue. The Rivoli Theatre was opened in 1926 with Marie Prevost in “Up In Mable’s Room”. It was equipped with a Hope-Jones orchestra organ and a fully equipped stage. It was still open in 1957. Following closure (date unknown), it became a 99c store.

In October 2022 it was announced that the 99c store would be closing on November 18, 2022 and the building was to be demolished to build a housing high-rise on the site.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

gsmurph on September 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Must point out that the opening contribution by William Gabel mistakenly says “Rialto” rather than “Rivoli.”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Wild looking theatre in 1986 picture.

LBorg on February 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Lawrence Borg, my Uncle, built the Rivioli in 1925. and in 1926 he bacame owner of the Parkway Theatre,Berkeley. The Rivoli and Parkway were thus sold in 1931 to the Golden State Theatre & Realty Corp., San Francisco.

It is my dream to one day soon, be able to purchase one of his theatres back that is shut down and revive it, as they did in Napa with the Uptown Theatre .

GaryParks on April 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Last night I got to see a single pencil-on-vellum longitudinal section drawing of the Rivoli which has been owned by a friend of mine for nearly ten years, but I hadn’t seen it as it had been in storage. The drawing (from Jorgensen’s drafting table) shows the auditorium’s ornamental scheme exactly as one sees it today—that is, what survives. The drawing also shows that there was much cove lighting. I realize now that I didn’t pay much attention to the lobby in the drawing, but it was rather low. The box down in the lower right corner names the theatre as the “West Berkeley Theatre.” Clearly, this was the proposed name at the time of its design. Perhaps the name change to Rivoli was to save money on sign design and maintenance.

Ian on March 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Photo from March 2000 here, showing the exterior and stage house:–


walterk on February 9, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Opening night ad and a photo that accompanied an article in the Berkeley Gazette added to the photo section

soubriquet on October 28, 2022 at 9:21 am

FYI, I’m in the parking lot of the old Rivoli (current 99¢ Store) right now. Just spoke to the manager, and their last day of business will be Nov. 18th. After that, the entire structure is being razed to put up a housing high-rise.

You have only three weeks to see the former Rivoli Theater. After that, IT WILL BE GONE.

m00se1111 on October 28, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Hmm. The above bio states that it was still open in 1957, then back in 2010 a poster informed that it’s now a 99 cent store. Here we are some 12 years later and no update. Pity that it’s going to be torn down, but that’s the Bay Area.

erilaz on December 31, 2022 at 10:58 am

It breaks my heart that this place is being torn down. I shopped at the 99¢ Only store quite frequently, and I loved to look up at the glorious old ceiling.

Incidentally, before the 99¢ Only store, there was a Grocery Outlet in this building, circa 1990, before it moved several blocks west on University Avenue. I remember buying several boxes of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Cereal there.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.