South Bay Drive In
The South Bay Drive-In, open since 1958 at 2170 Coronado Avenue, is one of only two San Diego drive-ins remaining in operation today. One mile north of the border and with space for up to 1500 cars, it was another William Oldknow/Sero Amusements venture (still run by Oldknow's company, now called De Anza Land & Leisure Corporation). Originally called the Bayview and sporting a single screen, in the mid-'70s the South Bay added two more screens. Most of the speaker poles were phased out for AM sound in 1972, and then FM beginning in the early '80s (movies are currently broadcast in stereo, via FM only). The snack bar has been renovated a few times, most recently sporting a nautical theme, with the entire concession building painted blue and white and designed to resemble a ship, portholes and all.
The same company also runs the six-screen Redwood in Salt Lake City, the four-screen Mission in Pomona, the four-screen De Anza in Tucson, and the three-screen Van Buren and three-screen Rubidoux in Riverside, California. The De Anza company really goes all out for the Starlight Drive-In near Atlanta. This well-advertised ozone regularly hosts pop-culture conventions and car shows on its lot during the day, and frequent "Drive-In Madness" theme-athons (often with live band performances) run all night long.
A swap meet has run on the lot since April 1977, operated by the drive-in's owners rather than being leased out as at other area ozones. It appears to have been the area's third drive-in swap meet (Midway began leasing to Monte Kobey's swap meet the previous summer, and the Valley Drive-In held an Oceanside flea market as far back as 1971).
The main screen number one at the South Bay blew down during the early 2003 winter storms and had to be replaced that spring, at a cost of around $60,000. In summer 2005, a new Technalight installation was done on the projectors for all three South Bay screens. Open seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year, it may be the only drive-in in the U.S. to serve menudo.
|Sunday||6 a.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Wednesday||6 a.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Saturday||6 a.m. to 2 p.m.|
- Tin Fork: "Clarity Soup" · June 2, 2005
- "Let's All Go to the Drive Ins! The Santee & South Bay Outdoor Theaters" · Feb. 1, 2012
- "South Bay Drive-In goes digital" · May 30, 2013
- "San Diego Mopar group swarms The Fate of the Furious at the South Bay Triple Drive-In" · April 18, 2017
- "Fun things to do" · June 5, 2019