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City Beer Store

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
98
world-class

195 Reviews
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
98
Reviews:
195
Ratings:
318
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
6.33%
 
 
Taps:
15
Bottles/Cans:
300
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
City Beer StoreCity Beer Store
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Store

1168 Folsom St
San Francisco, California, 94103-6027
United States

(415) 503-1033 | map
www.citybeerstore.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2006

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 195 | Ratings: 318
Reviews by moz9:
Photo of moz9
4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Went here on a weekday afternoon. Visiting from the east coast, I was really looking forward to some good west coast selection. This place does not disappoint.

They had five taps, alll great selections. I went with Abyss, and it was served in a nice goblet. They will let you drink any of the bottled beers on premise for an additional $1 fee. Pretty good deal.

Their selection is outstanding. I left wishing I had purchased more bottles. They have two sections with bottles, refrigerated and non refrigerated.

The staff was amazingly nice and helpful. This is a must stop if you are visiting San Francisco.

 613 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of billab914
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I always like to stop in here when in San Francisco and checking out Cellarmaker which is not far from here. There's a good selection of bottles and cans although I get the sense that their best beers get cleared out almost immediately upon arrival. If you can appreciate great shelf beers you'll find plenty here.

The tap selection here has never blown my mind but always has some good stuff.

If you are willing to spend some change, the on-site consumption bottles offer some serious, serious gems.

 504 characters

Photo of DblDiamond
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Bwagner1122
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of dwagner003
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of reggggg
4.86/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of W_Des
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stopped by during a vacation to grab some beer and the guys working were extremely helpful offering suggestions related to what beer I was looking for. Seemed to be pretty busy on the bar side as well and I would have loved to stop and have a pint. Next time.

 259 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.54/5  rDev -19.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

My favorite part about this store is the several coolers have little lights that shine right on the front bottle in each shelf, so you can actually see what they hell they are. Otherwise it's cramped and the random shelves and boxes make it hard to see what else they have. The location means you have to walk through some of the worst south of Market blocks. Service seemed brisk and efficient, but I didn't ask for anything I didn't see.

Selection seems utterly eclectic and they typically have just one or two beers from a given brewer, rather than the full range. Not really that great a selection of Bay Area beers either. Mostly there are a lot of random oddities and expensive rather than rare stuff. It's the place to go if you want the $20+ sours and wild ales and barrel aged concoctions.

 799 characters

Photo of frasergrove
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Great to go/bar in SoMa...while the price point of brews to go can be borderline crazy, the selection of stuff to take out, enjoy in house, or have on draft is excellent.

 170 characters

Photo of amano_h
4.54/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

I always thought City Beer Store was one of the most underrated beer establishments in San Francisco. Now that I see 600 other reviews that also seem to think that way, perhaps it's as adequately rated as it can get.

The legends and the stories (both good and bad) about this place are all true, but once you think about the circumstances surround them, it's not all that impressive or out of the ordinary; the most clear cut way to describe City Beer store is that unlike all these new bars trying to capitalize on the craft beer craze, City Beer has its shit together and have known what they're doing even before beer was cool.

Yes, City Beer Store boasts some of the best selection of take-out beers and has a very carefully-curated rotating tap list, but then the city of San Francisco in itself has one of the widest distributions / selections of beer available in the country. (thank you, based Shelton Brothers)

Yes, City Beer Store tends to be slightly more expensive than some of the other bottle stores like Healthy Spirits and/or Whole Foods, but have you considered minimum wage, the rent in SoMa and the cost of operating a non-franchised individual business in San Francisco?

Yes, City Beer Store will sometimes have ridiculous whales hiding in their "Bar Fridge" (again, thank you based Shelton Brothers) and they charge an arm and a leg for them. The last time I went, they had bottles of Cantillon Fou'foune for 60 USD, which costs about 12-20 EUR (or 32 USD at the time of when I had this at City Beer) at the source, and Bourbon County Vanilla Rye for 40 USD. Would I ever spend that kind of money if I were just some dude with a casual interest in beer and were satisfied with the amazing selection that the Bay Area has brought upon its consumers over the past two years? Probably not. Would I order these bottles if I were visiting home for the first time in two years and just haphazardly saw it in the store while visiting it with one of my best friends on my birthday? You bet I did.

So in the end, all of City Beer Store's quirks and idiosyncrasies, like them or not, seem to have a method to their alleged madness. Your mind might rest easier if you remember that it's all just beer in the end.

 2,227 characters

Photo of Sludgeman
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

This place came highly recommended, but I was not impressed. A nice place but there are better beer bars in town. A little difficult to find as the signage at night was difficult to read/possibly non-existent.

V - A bit too dark. Difficult to read hanging paddles that served as the draft beer list. But a fine beer vibe. Also a bottle shop with a decent selection. 3.75

Sel – Relatively small selection on tap but a good selection of bottle that you could drink in-house. 3.75

Ser - Excellent service. The bartender was able to help my non-beer drinking friend choose a barrel aged beer to his liking. – 4.25

Q – Good. Correct glasses and temp. Clean. 4.25

F - NA

 677 characters

Photo of Coldstorage
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

I gotta ding em on vibe the most. Crowd is usually unpleasant and there are nowhere near enough seats. It's almost never a "comfortable" place to grab a drink.

Quality is fine. Good beer served through clean lines into clean glasses.

Service is mixed. Sometimes helpful, sometimes not.

Selection is great. Prices are straight up insane. Don't bother looking at the bottle list unless you have a sense of humour.

 415 characters

Photo of Claytonis
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of rfgetz
4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

A for the bar, B+ for the carry out

35 characters

Photo of Magnum40s
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.64/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I Love City Beer, it's always been one of my favorite places to drink beer in the City. While it started out as a tiny bottle shop with a superb selection... it's turned into a small (double the original size but still quite petite) very chill beer bar with 15 handles of interesting, rare selections - often of kegs you wont find anywhere else in the City or the Bay Area. Even better, they have a deal with Alpine, so there's always at least one offering. They also hold some super kick-ass special events. There are still bottles for sale and a solid variety, just a bit less emphasis.

 592 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

15 taps, smaller bar area, nice bar though big wooden lacquered thing, semi open area, few artistic pictures, bartender was fairly knowledgeable and friendly. Pretty clean, very limited snack offerings. Tons and tons of bottles, lots of super limited stuff like framboos, goose island bourbon county series, midnight sun, Avery specials, eclipse series, lots of vintage bottles, many great Belgians sour esp, almanacs, cascades, etc. Prices are fair, on the better side for the most part but a few expensive ones.

 513 characters

Photo of metter98
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Bubbawilly88
4.73/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of tshanahan
4.64/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

These guys regularly tap amazing, hard to find beers. The shelves are stocked with delicious brews at all times. The staff is knowledgeable as well.

148 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of EsseQuamVideri
3.68/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Solid place. I'm a tourist, so I can't really compare it to places in the region. As a bar, I rate them very highly; good vibe, good beers, good bartenders. As a bottle shop, I rate them average; average to slightly small selection. Overall, I exhumed you go if you're in the area.

 281 characters

Photo of bostonbeans
4.33/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of ricoslim
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
98 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.