Red Car Brewery and Restaurant
Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
3.54/5 rDev -5.6%
I came two years late. You see, I was in Torrance two years ago doing my own "brew tour" when I received a phone call for baseball tickets which I could not reject. That cut my day short, but I'm back. Sitting in downtown Torrance is the Red Car Brewery, which is housed in an old building. The space inside mixes elements of the old building in with a brewery and restaurant. A simple door opens yourself to the brewpub, where lies the restaurant (left) and bar (right). I'll take a stool, thank you. A roomy bar with seating for over a dozen people, the taps sitting in the middle of the bar, brewpub-logoed glassware at each seat to hold checks (if you do this, make sure the glasses are cleaned and the rims aren't chipped). Sports on TV, lots of sunlight entering the room during the afternoon...I think I can relax.
At one end of the bar is a listing of the day's beers, while the menu itself shows its 6 regular beers. During my visit, "only" five house beers available (Big Red, Special Bitter, Motorman, South Bay IPA, Black IPA), available in pints and tasters. I prefer pints, so I ordered the bitter (much too dry) and Motorman (decent). Just standard shaker pints for the main glassware. $6 pints.
I was more hungry than thirsty, so pulled pork was selected along with a side of garlic fries. While the beer's did not excite me, the food certainly did, and it sounds weird to write that I would come back for the food before the beer. Having a helpful bartender also kept my visit going in the right direction.
Would I return? Maybe. The overall experience was fine. Regarding just the beer, there are other breweries which I would hit before Red Car.
04-07-2014 03:27:02 | More by DoubleJ
4.33/5 rDev +15.5%
It all started with a BeerMail from fellow BA, Mickeymac, inviting me to share one of two Season Tickets that he has to the Home Depot Center to watch a Football, I mean Soccer, Match. We originally decided to meet at the Alpine Village, but StoutLove77 told me of this little known (it seems) Brewery only a few miles further up the road. Having been to the Alpine Village, I have to say that this was a far better choice for a pre-match Pint and a bite to eat.
Easily accessible from the 405 and 110 Freeways, the Red Car Brewery and Restaurant is located just off Torrance Boulevard on Sartori Avenue (which is a tight left turn if you are coming from the 110 like I did). The area seemed clean and nice enough, and a dedicated Parking Lot made stationing the voiture rather easy. From the outside it has plenty of character, the largish rectangular building dates from around the 1930s but looks older. Its name obviously owes its roots to that of the local Red Trolley Cars or Trams that used to run here and judging by the wide open spaced interior, it may have been an original Station Building at some point, hard to tell, but if I had more time to examine the excellent collection of old Photographs inside I may have been able to confirm this. Pictures reflecting the history of the Red Cars and old Torrance abound and are very interesting. A rail line still runs by, I want to say it is the Blue Line but I may be wrong.
From the Parking Lot, a small long thin Patio is visible, but it was empty on my visit. You enter from the Street side through a small door. As you enter an array of Tables fills two-thirds of the left hand side of the building. To the right and set against the wall is an L-Shaped Bar that sports around twenty or so stools. Behind the Bar, the Brewery is on open display and clearly visible. Lots of wooden clad stainless steel vessels add a nice small but quality feel to the equipment. The bar had two sets of Taps, around 8 Taps on each set, but the bartender immediately told me to check the chalkboard as not all the working Taps had handles on them (it seems examining the tap handles is an old habit from my Handpump days back in England that I cant seem to shake).
Just as I was about to order, Mickeymac arrived, and we both went for a pint of the South Bay IPA, a very tasty unfiltered beverage that slipped down well. We both ordered a quick Sandwich, which arrived in good time. I tried a Pastrami sandwich with Fries, extra marks here for having Malt Vinegar and for the fact the bar tender didnt bat an eyelid as I plastered the Fries with it. The South Bay IPA accompanied the food extremely well, but I was soon staring at an empty glass. A second Pint was ordered, but this time we both elected for a change of pace and opted for the South Loop Porter, the other options were a Red and a Special Bitter. The South Loop Porter is a tasty dark beverage that lacked a little carbonation but was nevertheless a decent drop, it certainly seemed the most popular of the beers on offer, and I saw a few Growlers filled with the Porter in the short time I was here. Indeed, they sell their own Growlers and Fills for very reasonable prices. If you are thirsty or a big drinker and not driving, you can even order a Schooner of any of the beers also.
I give Selection a 4, not based on quantity of the offerings, but the quality of them. Nevertheless, for those that value feedback on quantity, it seems like there are no more than 4 regular Red Car beers and 1 Special at any time. OK, not the greatest selection numerically, but what I do like is that this place seems more focused on quality beer, rather than quantity. What it does, it does very well. The bar tender was extremely courteous and chatty, and even went on to explain that they often brew a Winter Warmer which is popular and once a year they have a Pumpkin beer. In addition, a perk of the ears was experienced when he said that they also do a Double-IPA on occassion. I would certainly love to try that!
Well my first Soccer Match in the US ended in a rather sad result for the home Galaxy team, loosing 3-0 to the MetroStars. But I reckon I scored by getting to visit here and sharing a couple of Pints & a Sandwich with Mickeymac who I havent seen in a long while. I would seriously contemplate coming here again if I am in the area and most definitely if I am attending the Home Depot Center, hopefully to see another Footie Match.
A lovely, clean, well run Brewery Restaurant that is a quality outfit, the IPA and Porter are good enough to get me to come back here to try the other offerings at some point. Next time you are nearby on the 405 or 110, and have time, I would strongly suggest that you drop in here!!
Last Visit: Wednesday 23rd June, 2004.
06-25-2004 03:50:58 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.55/5 rDev -5.3%
Red Car is in Torrance off of Torrance and Cabrillo. They have a decent sized private lot and there appears to be metered parking in the surrounding blocks.
The brewpub is housed in a historic brick telegraph building. The exterior has stucco and a patio, with lots of windows. The inside is brick with cream colored walls. The bar is on the right side with a small dining area opposite. Brewing equipment is visible behind the bar, and there is a chalkboard listing what beers are on tap.
Red Car has 5 beers on draught and has a sampler for $5.25. The styles are pretty typical, including an Amber, APA, IPA, Porter and Anniversary Ale. The beers are average for the most part.
Service on a weekday lunch at the bar was pretty good. The bartender was not very busy and was friendly.
I had a sandwich and fries for lunch and it was decent.
Overall this place does not exactly have a robust array of beers, and the ones they do have are straightforward. However it still merits a visit due to the nice atmosphere and overall quality of the beer and food.
09-15-2010 20:45:12 | More by Dogbrick
3.44/5 rDev -8.3%
I stopped in here recently when I was in the area. It's a fairly small place with a side for tables and dining and then the bar side. I sat at the bar and ordered a sampler flight. The bartender said he was out of 2 of the 5 beers but I saw him pour all 5 so I'm not sure why he was saying that. The quality of the beers was pretty good but they seemed a bit warm straight from the tap. The service was alright but there weren't that many people in there and it took a while to get my check at the end. The selection was limited to 5 of the house beers and a few bottled offerings from other breweries from what I could tell. Prices were reasonable for the beer. To be honest, this is sort of a depressing place and I'm not sure I will be back.
03-17-2013 23:12:43 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.43/5 rDev -8.5%
My family and some friends ate down the street at La Capilla tonight and stumbled across this place after when we were walking around this old run down part of town, stopped in for a few pints and got a growler to go, do not know how much the pints were because I did not buy them, but the growler I bought was $4.50 for the glass and fourteen bucks per fill regardless of the beer, I had the special bitter first while we there and got a porter for round two, neither were very good, the IPA I brought home in the growler was a little better with a great nose but still lacking some other important qualities, place is an old depot building, the tanks are literally five feet from where you sit right behind the bar, lots of families in here and a few beer drinkers too, did not look over the menu much but most people seemed to be eating pizza, laid back inside but located in a bit of a ghost town in Torrance, service was decent as it was not too busy but they still probably could have used a few more pople working, only had four different beers on tap and they were all their brews, the only one I did not have was their brown ale, will probably go back in October to try their pumpkin ale as I have heard good things about it, not the best beer but cool to have a place like this fairly close to my house, just weird that it took me this long to get out here, will go back, worth checking out if you are in the South Bay
07-13-2009 03:10:19 | More by Floydster
3.93/5 rDev +4.8%
I was staying overnight in Manhattan Beach after a week long meeting in OC. It was a Friday night and although somewhat burned out from the week, I decided to grab dinner someplace new and wound up at the Red Car Brewery. This place was a pleasant surprise in terms of the low key friendly atmosphere and the excellent food. The beers were all tasty and very drinkable (I had the sampler) but nothing struck me as exceptional. There was live music though, which was all original and quite decent, and my Chicken picatta over garlic mashed potatoes was outstanding.
01-31-2009 05:36:27 | More by 86sportster883
4.45/5 rDev +18.7%
Stopped in for lunch on a nice Friday .. showed up at 11:15 and joined the crowd of about 10 people waiting for the doors to open at 11:30. Once they opened I took up a seat at the corner of the bar (which quickly filled in). Bartender was quick to see what I wanted, and brought over my sampler right away. They had 4 beers on tap - he said they were usually 5 but they finished the porter the night before, and hadn't tapped the wheat yet. Reviews to the beers to follow, but they were all nice examples of the style. If you are only going to have one I would suggest the IPA! Bartender knew what he was talking about, and the brewer was also wandering around behind the bar working on beer and answering people's questions. I had a shrimp Po' Boy for lunch, and it tasted great. The brewpub itself is in a very nice building, with exposed brick and open rafters. There are also two nice patio areas.
If you are in the vicinity of Long Beach or LAX - make sure you stop in. Even if you are a bit further away, it will be worth your travel.
04-01-2005 21:51:59 | More by rowew
4/5 rDev +6.7%
Really cool of the manager to let us sit at the bar and get a taster set even though the place was closed. We walked in late but still manged to get some beer poured for us so I can't speak of the atmosphere cause it was only me and my budy who were in the bar. They had 5 house beers that were pretty decent with their porter standing out to me the most. Cool bar with the wood covered fermenters sitting right behind the bar. The bartender was nice enough to pours some tasters after closing hours and was friendly as well. I will definitely try to come back to taste their food and give the porter another run. Cool place to stop by if your in the city of torrance.
05-31-2010 00:52:40 | More by Gobzilla
3.68/5 rDev -1.9%
Visited on Monday 01/07/08 at about 4:00pm. Place was deserted. My friend and I sat at the bar and ordered an appetizer (spinach/artichoke dip). He had a pint of the porter, while I had the sampler. The bartender was very friendly and attentive, though not as knowledgable about beer as we were. The food took a long time to come, but that was okay. They have six taps brewed on premises, though they were out of the red ale when I visited. The decor is best described as early 20th century red brick: reminded me of a firehouse. Dark and quiet when we were there, though I have been before when it was bustling and noisy. The relief bartender was also attentive and friendly; she and I struck up a conversation about cars, of all things. Nice place. (here comes my standard closing line). If I lived closer, I'd visit a lot more often.
03-10-2008 23:33:36 | More by charlzm
4.43/5 rDev +18.1%
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BREWPUB!!!
I stopped in here for lunch and this is a quality establishment. It is in the 'old town' part of Torrance, surrounded by shops and dated architecture. I was told the building used to be a telegraph office.
A large rectangular building. Brick walls give this place an old time feel. The decor is more modern. There are photos on the wall of the defunct 'Red Car' transportaion system which used to be very popular in the Los Angeles area. Upon entering the L-shaped bar is on the right. It is good sized and the bar area has a small ledges style bar opposite it. A couple of t.v.'s hang in the bar area for viewing sports. The dining area is to the left of the door and has plenty of tables and chairs. The brewing equipment is behind the bar. Another ledge style bar is near the kitchen. There is a skinny patio but no chairs or tables were set up when I was there. Maybe that is for summer use. A somewhat plain but very warm and friendly feel to this establishment.
The service was superb. The owner and brewer Bob is very friendly. We talked about beer for quite some time. I informed him of BA as he had never heard of the site before. The other servers were attentive and personable as well.
The food is very tasty. The ahi tuna sandwhich with fries was a hit in my opinion. The onion rings are huge, tasty and filling. The menu is large and I hear the fish and chips and the chicken pasta are very good as well. They also have soups, salads, burgers, calimari and quite a few other selections. Prices are fair as this is not greasy bar food. They have wine but no spirits.
The beers are brewed on premises. I had the South Bay IPA and their Winter Warmer. Both were very good. I was poured tasters of their Reserve and the ever popular Electric Lite. They are quality beers as well. The selection is about five of Red Car's beers at a time. They brew a seasonal pumpkin beer during October. There is only one guest beer which is the Bitburger non alcoholic beer. I gave 'selection' a 4.5 because quantity does not necessarily equal quality. These are quality beers. The IPA is not held back. Good and hoppy. Red Car will brew on occasion an imperial version of the IPA. I want to check that one out. The Winter Warmer is smooth, inviting and warming. Red Car is brewing quality beers and hopefully this will continue for years to come. They are not subtle knock offs of the styles for the masses. Beer lovers will find a beer to their liking here. Bob also told me that he is hoping to get his beers to some local establishments like Father's Office and others.
I have now tried the Red and the South Loop Porter. Both are fine examples of the style. The porter is especially nice. Get here and give them a try.
This is a quality establishment. Well run, friendly and fun for the family or a get together with friends. I recommend people give this place a try.
Notes: They have their own parking lot.
They have growler service.
They will serve beer in a schooner if you ask. Six ounces more.
12-21-2003 02:00:58 | More by Rumrunner
Red Car Brewery and Restaurant in Torrance, CA
86 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.