Red Vic Movie House

1727 Haight Street,
San Francisco, CA 94117

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: The Red Victorian

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Red Vic Movie House

This eclectic independent theater was founded in 1980 by a group of cinema aficionados inside a red Victorian hotel (hence, its name) on Haight Street and Belvedere Street. At that original site, it became known for using old couches as part of the seating, and for offering mostly homemade snack fare. However, conflicts with the owner forced them to eventually seek a new location.

The Red Vic moved to its current location in 1991, converting a former restaurant into a larger auditorium that now offered video, 16mm and 35mm Dolby capability. Yet it still offered signature couches (newly-made, as the old ones had to be discarded), and organic homemade treats in its snack bar.

Still run by collective members and volunteers, the Red Vic Movie House was one of the foremost venues of independent and offbeat cinema in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was closed on July 25, 2011. In 2018 it is the Bindery, a bookstore and live performance space specialising in poetry.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Ian on March 18, 2007 at 5:49 am

Exterior photo here:–

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JenniferV on July 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm

The Red Vic Movie House celebrates 29 glorious eclectic independent years this year!

darquil on April 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I’ve posted information and photos from a recent visit here.

scottfavareille on March 31, 2011 at 5:48 am

KTVU-2 news last night ran an article about the attendence at the Castro theater suffering due to the decline of available “revival film product”. They mentioned that the Red Vic has been struggling as well and has had to cut back in printing film schedules.

JenniferV on June 21, 2011 at 10:55 am

The Red Vic has plans to close with a final screening of Harold and Maude on July 25. If you are in the area, try to get to the theater this month or next for one last time!

CSWalczak on October 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm

According to the publication SFist, there is a proposal to turn the former Red Vic into “a food-centric incubator space where budding entrepreneurs and retailers can get their sea legs before moving on to their own commercial kitchens or storefronts”. Story here:

CSWalczak on October 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

According to a redevelopment proposal, the theater may get a partial return to theatrical use in addition to the entreprenurial “incubator” use: View article

volcomsuperhero on February 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

Bring back the Red Vic!

cmbussmann on February 6, 2013 at 4:14 am

The Red Vic is across the street from where my sister lives and sadly it looks like it’s been closed for years. A lot of homeless people sleep in the doorways and garbage has piled up. The building has seen some vandalizing too, which is sad. I really hoped someone would snap this place up and re-open it. Maybe modify it a bit to do more food and stuff. It was a nice place and easily return. Hope someone figures it out soon before too much damage is done.

sfinthe80s on August 18, 2018 at 10:27 am

Never a comfortable or luxurious theater (four walls and a couch), it provided a community friendly place for like-minded individuals to view works other theaters would not screen. I lived in the Haight (Upper and Lower) for a good 5 years and loved the fact that I could walk to a theater to see an interesting film. Good luck doing that today, no matter where you live.

After the Haight Theater closed in the late 70’s (long before my arrival, and demolished in the early 80’s) where it sat empty for a good 10 years before St. Vincent De Paul build a structure there, the Red Vic (at its original location, where the Red Vic B&B is located today), it was the only theater in the immediate area of The Haight, the amazing Castro being the next nearest.

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