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City Beer Store

Not Rated.
City Beer StoreCity Beer Store
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BA SCORE
98
world-class

193 Reviews
Reviews: 193
Visits: 311
Avg: 4.42
pDev: n/a
Taps: 15
Bottles: 300
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Store ]

1168 Folsom St
San Francisco, California, 94103-6027
United States
phone: (415) 503-1033 | map
www.citybeerstore.com

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2006

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
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Reviews: 193 | Visits: 311
Reviews by willjschmidt:
Photo of willjschmidt
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

A store that only sells beer and offers top notch selections and service as well. They also always have several beers on tap. I couldn't stay long during my visit so I couldn't sample the draft beers but this is a fantastic concept. There are a couple of coaches out as well for the patrons to chill.

Even though it's on the small side the selection here is top notch. Lots of stuff that you can probably only find in a small handful of Bay Area stores. Only a few beers are kept in a small cooler, the rest are out on the shelves. They also let you break six-packs or buy singles which allows you to try a lot more beers.

The best part is the service. The guy working when I went in was incredibly helpful, offering suggestions and just bs-ing about beer. I would highly recommend this place.

 800 characters

More User Reviews:
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.

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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

Photo of mikepcarney
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Only issue I had going to City Beer Store is that everything is way over priced. Tap list is very nice and interested array of bottles on the shelf. Bottles are consistently marked up 20% over elsewhere. The reserve list is insanely overpriced. Go to Toronado if you want a great reserve list and great taps. Bottles check out The Wine Club.

 346 characters

Photo of Highbury09
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of BDeibs
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

What a great store. A really well curated 10 tap list and a very fun vintage bottle list for sale. They make of the most of their space and have curated a nice selection of beers for sale from 45 dollar Belgians, to some great beer from across the US and a nice selection of small breweries from Northern California. The service couldn't have been better. Everyone was very friendly and very helpful without being pushy. A really great group of people supporting a really great store!

 489 characters

Photo of James_Michaud91
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Bar/Bottle shop with a huge selection. Well known amongst the beer community. Regularly have very limited/special taps on including beers brewed specifically for their store by greats such as The Bruery.

 203 characters

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

Photo of SFCraft
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
98 out of 100 based on 193 ratings.