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The Old Toad

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

55 Reviews
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
94
Reviews:
55
Ratings:
70
Avg:
4.27
pDev:
6.79%
 
 
Taps:
32
Bottles/Cans:
250
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
The Old ToadThe Old Toad
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

277 Alexander St
Rochester, New York, 14607-1920
United States

(585) 232-2626 | map
theoldtoad.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

View: Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 70
Reviews by Tut:
Photo of Tut
3.5/5  rDev -18%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 2

8/26/10
It's been two years since I reviewed The Old Toad, and I'm still amazed at the number of people who think it's really like an authentic British pub. Having just returned from five weeks in Scotland and England(my 9th trip there over the last 15 years), I can assure you that it's as authentic as a Disneyworld version of a British pub. It's no more real than the many fake Irish pubs all over the US.
I'm also curious what standards are being used by those who claim the Toad is the best bar in Rochester. Have they ever been to the Tap & Mallet?? The selection of beer is larger and much more interesting and varied there and the food beats the Toad's hands down. Come on people - in what way is the Toad better?
12/8/08
I've been going to the Old Toad periodically since the early 90's. Back then it was one of a very few places to get good beer in Rochester. I've not been back since the Tap & Mallet opened because I consider the Tap to be a much better bar. It has a more interesting draught and bottle selection.

The Toad does have 2-3 cask ales and makes an effort to keep them interesting but other than that I'm not very impressed with their beer variety.There's always something I can enjoy, but it's not a particularly great selection.

Having British staff is fine but this place is a far cry from an "authentic British pub" as they bill themselves and those on this site who rave about the Toad's authenticity have obviously never experienced the real thing in the UK. Yeah, they have many of the stereotypical pub trappings and the bar itself was brought over but it totally lacks the feel and atmosphere of the real thing. It's like the kind of "English Pub" you'd expect to find at Disney World. The food is mediocre and nowhere near the quality or variety available in a good English pub.

The bottom line is I can't think of a single reason to go there instead of the Tap & Mallet, especially since they're fairly close to each other.

 1,962 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of whosbeeristhis
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Hella sweet.

^_^

17 characters

Photo of Tomkob11
4.4/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of RUN-4-B33R
4.59/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Photo of SonictheBeerhog
3.92/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I don't wanna dis on the place but it was kinda smelly. Like, it smelled of old backed tap lines. The atmosphere was pretty authentic. The casks were a pleasant surprise

 169 characters

Photo of RNbeerfan
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

You feel like you walked into London upon entering. Great tap selection. The staff is always knowledgable of what is available as well.

137 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%

Photo of chefduff2
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of rojapa
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of d_cook_roc
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of km000
3/5  rDev -29.7%

Photo of Evarigan
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of vermilcj
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of meepmeep
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

One of my favorite places to go in Rochester as I live about a 5 minute walk away.

The selection is always pretty solid. About 10-15 taps or so- 3 different tap stations- one with 3 on the right of the bar, 5 on the back wall of the bar, and 6 or so on the left side of the bar. There are 4 cask lines, but not all of them are always used at one time.

They try to have a few European beers on tap most of the time- Guinness and Fuller's London Pride are practically house beers for the Toad, and are always on. Their house DIPA, OT 20, is always on, and is really freakin' delicious. Always a good choice if none of the taps wow you. Good job by CB's on that one. There's sometimes a second house tap made by CB's, right now it's a brown ale brewed with squash, but I've seen a coffee porter, an "apri-bock", and a few others. Usually one or two Belgians, 3-4 NYS state beers, and then a few other specialty beers from across the country.

The service is hit or miss. They're not always good at handling bigger crowds, so if you're sitting down and want a beer on a Friday or Saturday night, you're gonna have to push through people to get a beer quickly. During the week the service is fine.

The food is good, but pricey, lots of great English favorites. The drunken cheddar soup is to die for, one of my favorites.

The beer is a bit expensive, and they don't generally have any specials that I can find. Beers on cask are never under $6, and usually are in the $7-$-8 range.

The atmosphere is very quaint. I can always get behind a bar that allows you to talk to your friends without shouting over loud music/TVs.

 1,621 characters

Photo of dmbhaggis
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of Mediczod
3.76/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

All furnishings and decor imported from England. All staff are from England as part of a University program. Very authentic, like walking into a pub in London.

Food is very good, lots of traditional English fare. The Scotch Eggs are excellent. Several vegetarian options, however they tend to run out of some things on the menu fairly often.

Huge beer selection, specializing in cask ales. Many vintage and hard to find selections.

Large selection of Scotch, about 80 different varieties.

Located in an entertainment district, which can be rowdy at times. Upon leaving one time, my friend and I were approached by someone who attempted to rob us. Unfortunately for him, the bar isn't actually located in England, where the populace is unarmed. He went to jail after his failed attempt.

 789 characters

Photo of BeerBucks
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

The Old Toad is located in kind of a neat old building on busy Alexander.

The space is kind of cut-up into different areas. It would say it is kind of like snugs you find in many pubs. The bar is towards the rear. It’s small and seats about 10. There are plenty of seating areas for large and small groups.

They have well-worn furniture and fixtures (in a good way) decorated with miscellaneous bar type stuff. Lots of old photos, beer bottles and I liked the clock set to London time.

Service was friendly enough and could talk beer. Note the staff is imported from the UK which adds a bit of flavor.

They offer 13 taps and 4 casks (including a cask cider). I would guess 30 to 40 good bottles. Unfortunately two of casks were empty during my stop, but that can happen.

Food service was very slow, but I was in no hurry. When I finally got it, it was pretty tasty.

I would stop by again for some good beers and conversation.

 936 characters

Photo of olivianjeremie
4.51/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

The food was very good. Had the fish and chips, which was their special. They had a great selection on tap as well. The service was very friendly and able to suggests what to try with what I wanted in my beer. I would recommend this place, and I maybe a regular in the future.

 276 characters

Photo of DonBar
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Great beer selection here, bottles and taps. Great English appeal. Love the food and selection. Great authentic menu over all. The place is a little cramped but generally a nice person crowd. I will continue to go to old toad for the unique experience.

 252 characters

Photo of hungryghost
3.45/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I visited the Old Toad on a Monday afternoon for lunch. They had experienced a busy (or maybe regular ?) weekend and were out of all the popular and highly rated food items.
Quite a disappointment. What I did have was tasty.

The beer selection is pretty decent as far is English pub styles go. At the time of my visit they did not have much in the way of hoppy or 'big' beers. The local staff is knowledgeable.

They decor is unique to the area and interesting. Overall the prices are a bit higher than other establishments in the area, but worth a visit.

 557 characters

Photo of Bowersm
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Great place for beer and food. Once inside the atmosphere is difficult to top. Beer ranges in quality, but is generally very good and fairly inexpensive. Only real complaint I have about the beer is that the wider selection tends to be more in the bottle as opposed to on tap, but that's ok given that what's on tap is generally of high quality. Have frequented this place since the late 90's on through until I moved away from Rochester in 2009. My wife and I try to make it back whenever we visit.

 499 characters

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I was in Rochester for an audition and a friend of mine at Eastman told me about this place (knowing that I was really into beer) and we went there on a Friday night. The setting is awesome- it's meant to be an English pub (indeed all of the bartenders I spoke with were British) and has a very clean and warm atmosphere. Upholstered booths and well lit. They had a good number of beers on tap and many many more in bottles. I had a beer brewed for them called Smokin Toad Porter on draft, which was excellent, as well as Mission IPA on draft and Peak Organic Mocha Stout on draft. It was rather expensive, especially for it being Rochester, but it had a great vibe, nice and knowledgeable bartenders, and a very good selection of beer. If you're willing to spend a little money, this is a great place to visit.

 811 characters

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The Old Toad in Rochester, NY
94 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.