Best Vintage Auditorium
It's difficult, if not impossible, to be more old-school than the Paramount (unless you count the still-not-yet reopened Fox Theater and historic Sweet's Ballroom). An authentic California Registered Historical Landmark, the Paramount has been a fixture in downtown Oakland since first opening in 1931. During the Depression era, it served as a movie palace, where its heaven-bound ceilings and quasi-mythological Art Deco stylings (designed by renowned architect Timothy L. Plueger) lent it a sense of classic glamour and noirish grandeur, which still fuels our escapist fantasies to this day. A throwback if ever there was one, the auditorium is more than a little reminiscent of a time before the Internet, Blu-Ray DVDs, multiplexes, and ultra lounges. Its washrooms are bigger than some clubs, and just a few minutes inside the venue can make you feel like you've stepped into a scene from It Happened One Night. Currently owned by the City of Oakland, the venue is home to Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and also hosts a full schedule of musical and comedy acts, theater, and ballet performances. It's also one of the only East Bay indoor venues with enough seating capacity and a big enough stage to book national tours; upcoming shows include Yaz, Melissa Etheridge, Donna Summer, a Motown revue with the Temptations and the Four Tops, and the Apollo Big Show Circus. If other nightlife venues are fast food, the Paramount is a sit-down dinner. It's the place where one gets dressed to the nines to see a really big show, and that's one thing that hasn't changed much over the years.