History

photo by Dylan Priest

The Columbia City Theater boasts one of the most beautiful settings for live music and performance in Seattle. The theater reopened on June 25th, 2010 to rave reviews and was featured in Seattle Weekly’s “Best of Seattle” list after being open for less than two months. It has since been dubbed “The city’s finest sounding room,” by SPIN Magazine.

Theater History

The Columbia City Theater, designed by local architect John L. McCauley, was built in 1920 and officially opened in 1923, originally built as an old-time movie house. Over the span of 4 decades Columbia City Theater (originally the Columbian Theater) served as the neighborhood’s cinema, while the front room (now the Bourbon Bar), was occupied by a variety of businesses including a bakery and a candy shop. During the 1960's, the theater began presenting live events and has long been rumored to be one of the first venues to host Jimi Hendrix while the legendary musician was still in high school.

The Columbia City Theater as it stood in the 1950's

During the early 1980's, the theater was a home to much of the DIY punk movement and the touring networks that were created to support it. In the years since, it has served as an art commune, an underground disco, and a place that specifically hosted raves under the name “The Lish House”.

Since the theater reopened in 2010 it has been proud to host many fantastic artists including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Wilco, The Lumineers, The Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, Everclear, Damien Jurado, Robyn Hitchcock, Andra Day, Noah Gundersen, Griffin House, Ro James, Smino, Sondre Lerche, Joseph, and many more.

The Columbia City Theater is located at 4916 Rainier Ave S, Seattle WA 98118