Warfield Theater

A Grand Performance Space from Another Era

One of the many things that make San Francisco a world-class city is the number of great old theaters, which still showcase performers and delight audiences. One of the best examples of the art deco theaters that were common in the 20s and 30s is the Warfield Theater, on Market Street. Built in 1922, “The Warfield” first served as a vaudeville venue featuring performers such as Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope and countless others, who went on to become movie stars and household names.

Today, the Warfield is primarily a concert venue featuring top-shelf touring bands and comedians, most of who look forward to playing at this venue for the historic look and feel of the place and the close proximity of the audience to the stage. Folks who attend events at the Warfield also say that the intimacy of the theater is a big part of their enjoyment of the experience, no matter who is holding forth onstage. The venue only holds 2,300 seats arranged in the classic main floor, lower/upper balcony and lower/upper loge configuration. This seating arrangement affords superb sightlines from virtually every seat in the house.

Performers also say that the acoustics in the Warfield are a big part of why they love performing there. The room has superb sound and sound engineers are able to reach audience members in the furthest corners of the room without coming close to punishing the amplifiers (or the audience.) The uncommon ambiance of the place is made apparent from the moment you walk into the grand lobby, complete with ornate ceiling decorations, sweeping staircases, large chandeliers and all the other architectural flourishes typical of public buildings built when architects and decorators were more concerned with creating lasting beauty than they were with deadlines and shareholders.

If you live in the Bay Area, it’s likely that you’ve already seen many shows at the Warfield over the years. If you’re planning a visit to San Francisco, you really should check out the venue’s calendar of events listed in the official website at http://www.thewarfieldtheatre.com/. Sadly, there aren’t many of these grand old theaters left, as they are expensive to maintain and require steady audiences and a packed calendar of events to make them profitable. However, some still remain in America’s larger cities and The Warfield is a very fine example of when venues were designed to provide as much pleasure as the performances they held. The Warfield Theater is located at 982 Market Street in downtown San Francisco. If you’d like to attend an event, there is ample pay parking available nearby but you’re probably better off taking a cab or mass transit to and from the show. You can grab a nice bite before or after the show with the savings!

View Larger Map