The historic Harding Theater first opened at 616 Divisadero in May 1926. During the 1920s it ran as a movie theater/vaudeville house and as a single-screen theater until the 1960s, when it became a Lamplighters theater and music venue during the 1960s-70s, hosting many live acts including The Grateful Dead.

After its closure in the 1970s the space served as a church and community center, then sat vacant for two decades until 2003, when developers purchased the property with the intention to demolish it and build condos. In response, the San Francisco Planning Commission conducted an investigation and declared it a landmark building.

In November 2015 a conditional use permit was granted to convert the main space into an arcade bar. Extensive renovation efforts continued through the Fall of 2017, when Emporium SF opened to the public.


  • the emperor jones
  • 1942 harding theater image