City Beer Store

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

182 Reviews
Reviews: 182
Visits: 290
rAvg: 4.43
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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 182 | Visits: 290
Photo of AussieActor
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

An unassuming cozy little nook staffed by some of the coolest people in the industry. Adam, Teddy, Ryan and Eddie always deliver. The knowledge and enthusiasm is second to none. I love this place. (196 characters)

Photo of KevSal
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is one of my favorite spots in the city where i'm a regular. All the guys down there are great. where else can you have a pint of rare stuff while shopping a huge selection of beers.

A- its the perfect atmosphere for me, but im usually there in the afternoon so the place is nearly empty, the way i like to shop and sip some beer.

Quality- this is where they hit their mark. lots of quality bottled beers and usually a top quality selection on tap. they pull some pretty big beers on tap, constantly. its always changing (this could be bad for some though) so theres always something for you on tap.

Sev- A+ these guys are great down here

Selection- probably the best selection in the city, along with healthy spirits, this guys get everything, and a lot you just cant find anywhere else.

between here, healthy spirits and toronados (and the whole foods Wes is at) youve pretty much got everything covered in SF.

EDIT: also something really cool about this place a lot of people don't know is you can order a half glass on any of the beers on tap and its half the price. i really like this because you can try a variety of beers without getting too inebriated. (1,171 characters)

Photo of dbannister
5/5  rDev +12.9%

This is the premier place in San Francisco to either get a bottle or something on tap (15 taps). The place has been open for >7 yeas but it has stayed humble and honest since the craft beer explosion. The staff is extremely pleasant, helpful, and responsive. The owners are great people who have helped shape the craft beer scene in the area.

Great place to go have a conversation (music isn't too loud) while enjoying a quality libation. (445 characters)

Photo of willandperry
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I have not actually been to this store, but I had a friend who was visiting the area, who agreed to visit this store and mule some beer for me. whenever my friend showed up, he called me, and long story short, this guy from the store(connor) talked to me on the phone and told me good beers they had and recommended many different types. I had many beers I was ISO and he was patient and answered all my questions for probably 10 mins.
Incredible service! I hope to visit in person one day, as it seems that they have some awesome beers that are only to be drunk on premise(cantillon, vintages). (595 characters)

Photo of ericw985
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Great tap selection, including a few from Russian River (Blind Pig and Perdition when I visited) and some very good local brews from Cellarmaker and Fieldwork. There was a big bottle selection too, but while Cantillon and some harder to find RR bottles were available, they were extremely expensive and had to be opened and drank before leaving. The bartenders were very friendly and knowledgeable, and the tap area was a fun and social environment.

I didn't get to check out Toronado before leaving SF, but CBS is an excellent place to check out for high quality beer that I would go out of my way to visit again. (615 characters)

Photo of pjwilson
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

What's to say?

This is every beer nerds dream store they wished they opened and this guy did it. Where else you can drink beer while you shop for beer? I've never been anywhere else that you can. I don't know why more places aren't like this.

You walk in, choose one of the six amazing taps and then shop for all the rarest, hard to find amazing beers. Grab another beer and mingle with your newest friends. There's no way you can leave without picking up a few things. No way.

Prices totally on point for the beer. You almost don't notice it's in a postage stamp sized space in a SOMA basement. Makes it cozy. (616 characters)

Photo of MexicanSkittel
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I love tHis place, always something delicious on tap, vintage, new releases, and tasty treats. Some are a little pricey for me for such small pours, but I understand via the rarity of them.
Bottle selection is pretty vast and covers a lot of styles, countries, sized and prices.
Service is or has been to me always friendly and helpful.
Aside from it being on the other side of town from me I'd be there every day. So with the distance making it there once a week makes it such a treat.
Thanks
Keep up the great work everyone. (529 characters)

Photo of ThirstyHerf
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

A-What a gem of a store here in San Fran!

Q & Sel-Great but small tap selection. Extremely nice selection of bottles to go but an even more impressive selection of ages bottles that had to be drank on premises.

S-Connor and the rest of the staff was extremely knowledgeable and awesome to hand out with. Also, the day i made t to City beer there just happened to be a very nice Belgian styles tasting going on and was able to take part. AWESOME!

F- Ok, so there wasnt any food at City beer, however there is a killer sandwich shop down the street. Fortunately for me, with the belgian tasting came a large supply of aged Gouda.

If you are in town, I highly recommend stopping by this fine establishment but be sure to have some scrilla, its gonna cost you and arm and a leg, but you will be happy to pay for that batch 1 consecration! (841 characters)

Photo of indianabeerman
4.97/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

went with my wife on a Friday night. the places was packed. service was awesome. bartenders were very knowledgeable and also quite helpful in the selection of beers. the bottle selection was great. current beers and aged beers. people hanging out drinking exceptional beers.

Here on vacation 1st week of may. (309 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is perhaps my absolute favorite beer store in the universe.

I honestly cannot afford to visit here on a regular basis so when I do it’s a real treat. Well-lit, well-stocked, and Beth and Craig, the couple behind it all, are just all-around fantastic people. More on that later.

Their recent remodel added more shelves and refrigerators full of beer to the place as well as expanded their tap handles—without making it seem any more spacious. But I think that’s just because they remain just as busy as ever. A sign to their success, as much as evidence of the growing craft beer scene. This is every bit how a bottle shop and tasting room should be.

For me, Beth and Craig make City Beer Store what it is. There’s not a lot of places that offer such a wide selection of beers, or allow one to taste on premise and take something to go. Certainly they’re unique but not the only ones on the scene. So when I say that I’d be a regular no matter what sort of operation they ran, I mean it. They could sell auto parts or brew gourmet coffee or run a furniture store slash cardboard box manufacturing factory but on the strength of their customer service alone I’d find a way to return. (Even if my tiny apartment would end up getting filled with fancy engraved chairs from the 17th century and the boxes to hold them in.) One of the reasons I like visiting so much is that I feel welcomed every time they’re there. Simple gestures like eye contact, greetings, and an acknowledgement on the busiest of days goes such a long way and I wish more places would realize that.

Since I moved away from the bay I don’t stop in as often as I once did. In fact, I’m guessing it had been around nine months since I last visited, and maybe another six months between that and my previous trip. But the last time I was in the bay I managed to go twice. I dropped in, briefly, on a rainy Friday night. They were packed for a bottle release so my companion and I opted to get dinner first then return—but didn’t. I came back mid-day the following week. Didn’t have enough time to sit down and try anything (believe me, that was hard not to do!) but I had a few minutes to peruse the selection (and drool over the rarities behind the counter). Craig snuck away from what he was doing long enough to make small talk and see how I was doing—mentioning in passing something like ‘it’s been a while since we’ve seen you. Welcome back.’ It was nice to hear. There’s a dozen other places I count as regular haunts and I’d be hard pressed to find the same level of recognition and reception at half of them. I know I’ll be back. Not soon enough. (2,672 characters)

Photo of Mulligan
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Awesome selection and knowledgeable staff. Prices are not cheap, but are what you'd expect for high-end beer. The store's layout is a little strange (i.e., half convenience store and half bar) and it feels a little more sterile than I'd like. But those are nits--this is my favorite beer place in SF. (300 characters)

Photo of caskstrength
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

For those seeking out west coast beer destinations, this is on the short list.

The top west coast offerings available. Good turnover, so the beer is fresh. IPAs in the fridge. Selection is insane.

Hole in the wall type place, so if you're looking for "the scene" this isn't where you go.

I've never been to a beer store that has an in store tasting bar with awesome selections on tap and lets me pick any beer off the shelves and drink it there for a one dollar "corking fee".

Just to give some details: Had 5 oz draft pour of Black Xantus (really good actually) while browsing the cooler/shelves. Then had them open a bottle of fresh Green Flash WCIPA for me. Drank that while looking for my next beer, which was a bomber of Sculpin IPA (black label) which I then finished. Picked up some Older Viscosity, Deliverance, Xantus, for the cellar and called it a night. (came back later for fresh Pliny and Russian River sours)

As good as it gets. (951 characters)

Photo of 2dogbrew
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

What a find - I didn't actually check the BA reviews on this place before I went there, but most are spot on. An excellent selection of beers - just got there when fresh Pliny the Elder was delivered. Bought a couple of beers to bring home and had an excellent draft. They have an amazing selection of bottles for consumption on premise, most are pricey as noted but almost all are hard to find. So worth it if you want to try.

Staff is very knowledgeable and friendly.

Not too busy when I was there, but it was 1pm on a Wednesday.

Highly recommended. (556 characters)

Photo of boltfan
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stopped at this place on my vacation to SF last weekend. I loved being able to go to the bar and get a beer and walk around with a drink while I figured out what I wanted to buy. The guy working the bottle section of the shop was awesome. Very knowledgeable and friendly. They had a great selection including a decent variety of eclipse, mikkeller, 3 Fonteinen etc.

The only thing was that the beer at the bar was a little on the pricey side. I got a 5 or 6 oz tulip of bitches brew and my gf got a tulip of Stillwater Wine barrel aged Folklore Stout which I think came out to $20. Still loved the place tho. They also had some awesome rare bottles in the fridge behind the bar which were a little outside of what I wanted to spend. I really wanted to try the beatification but just couldn't spend the money on it. I believe it was around $60. Definitely worth the stop to anybody in the area. (895 characters)

Photo of yeastsipper
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

CBS is a must stop for anyone visiting SF - and a regular haunt for all beer lovers in SF.

The store is relatively small, but jammed with all sorts of great beers. The highlight for me are the always rotating taps with some very hard to get beers showing up very regularly. Get a beer, browse, and chat with other beer lovers or the very friendly and knowledgeable owners. A very cool concept of bar/retail store.

As I have started going in more often, I notice that new beers come in often. There is a lot of turnover and a lot of great beers on the shelf. Even if you are not looking to by bottles, this is a great place to stop in and have a beer. Chances are great that there will be something on tap that you haven't had.

A must stop in SF. I highly recommend City Beer Store. (784 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Fantastic store. I have order stuff from here several times and they are always the best when it comes to service. Kind and couteous and always willing to work with me. One of the best selections of beers I have ever come across and prices that seemed to be right about where they should be. Overall a pleasant expierence on every level possible. One of the best for sure.

Let us also not forget the fact that they keep one of the best tap lists on the planet! You really cannot go wrong here. Give them a show when in the area. (529 characters)

Photo of billshmeinke
4.88/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

So it's tiny. However, the bottle selection is AWESOME. The guy and gal that work there are extremely knowledgeable and friendly and love to chat. I had a Sea Monster by Ballast Point and I picked up a sculpin, both the bourbon and rye versions of eclipse, and a mikkeller beer geek breakfast stout. They also had Life and Limb as well as Limb and Life on tap. No beer on tap was more than $6. My friend Charles got a 2 year old Temptation. If you are in town or if you live in SF, you need to visit. (500 characters)

Photo of LeeMarvin
4.86/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

My main focus of an entire day was to try this beer venue, and I'm glad I did. They have an amazing selection with an atmosphere full of people who are at least aware of the craft beer movement and its importance. Half of it is a beer store and half of it's a bar, so how can you lose?

It only gets 4.5 for service because this place gets BUSY, even early in the afternoon, and for two people to manage this kind of OCD about beer is too much to ask of any beer service team. I arrived at 12:30pm and the place filled up fast after that. The sign of a great bar. The bartender himself was a beer advocate, and his knowledge of beers from throughout the nation and world qualified him as an expert on the subject. He was able to advise me on my next beer steps throughout the city and even gave me advice about biking in the area. I'll definitely be back. (855 characters)

Photo of marcpal
4.86/5  rDev +9.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Q: You know what really sucks about City Beer Store in SF?

A: Nothing, absolutely not a thing.

I have been in SF for a week for business and got a time for a break from convention fun on Saturday and ventured a cab thank to BA suggestions to this 'establishment'.

This was in the middle of a unique neighborhood, off the beaten path and a cool environment. The concierge at the hotel I was doing work at said I would need to cab and not walk- not a great neighborhood. Is he kidding? Has this guy been to Newark? This is not a 'bad' neighborhood- grow some balls my man.

One of the coolest places I've ever been. There is nothing not to like. To start, the girl/woman working there was one of the friendliest, helpful beer store people I've ever come across. She took the time to attend to any and all questions, was interested in talking beer.

Definitely seemed to have locals in there and took me about 30 minutes of browsing to notice that they actually had taps there. How great is that? I hope to get back there another day before I leave just to enjoy a pour and give the place some deserved business.

Great selection for an out of towner and plenty of great imports that would make it great as well for an in-towner. Picked up a few bottles to either have cold (ie Pliny) or to bring back (ie Hopsickle) among others.

This is a place that cares and that is what matters. The prices are well beyond reasonable. If I lived in SF, I would be honored to frequent this place. Keep up the advocating.

Didnt try, but I saw they had bread and cheese behind the counter. Textbook for homegrown beer house. Thanks again, wish I knew the name of the woman working because she really does deserve credit.

Next to Oak Tree back home, the finest beer store Ive ever been to. (1,778 characters)

Photo of GoreStorm
4.84/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This was my second stop in SF.

This place was awesome for my purposes!
Very small, and relatively clean, but not so much that it seems douche baggy or whatever. everyone just kind of kicks back and whatever.

the only flaw of this place is that it only has 6 taps. they all had something interesting that i'd never had before though and that was just fine.

their tap list was:
Jolly Pumpkin - Calabaza Blanca
Deschutes - The Dissident
Russian River - Pliny The Elder
New Belgian - Grand Cru
the new sierra nevada special release (my notes aren't clear on the actual name, sorry)
Allagash - Four

the bottle section packs a lot into a small area. a lot of good stuff including russian river stuff, lost abbey, the special release from harvestouns etc.

the bar tender who i assume was the owner was super friendly and conversed with us while we were there, there's almost no waiting to get your beer here.

i gave it a 5 on selection because this place was packed with stuff i can't get at home.

i give it a value of reasonable because a lot of the standard stuff is okay, but anything rare or out of the region you will pay dearly for. from what i understand he actually drives down to san diego to pick these beers up from those breweries which translates into a big price hike.

i preferred this place overall to toronado because it's a place i'd most likely frequent, i've never been a person to hang out for hours in a bar. i like to grab a few pints and then do the majority of my drinking at home. this place is perfect for that.

city beer is a place to hang out on your own....toronado is a place to take a friend from out of town who wants a bit more excitement. (1,682 characters)

Photo of kazmanbrew
4.81/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is fabulous. The bottle selection is fabulous. Beers from all over the country and world. You can select a bottle and enjoy on site for $1 more than pricetag, or choose from one of their 6 taps. I usually go for a draft, since they are always something unusual. The taps are a mix of seasonal or one-time beers from great craft brews, or classic belgians that you can't find elsewhere. I drink while I shop for beers to take home.

The folks behind the bar know their beer and the brewing industry. The folks sitting next to you also are pretty knowledgeable. If they didn't know beer, they wouldn't bother stopping here.

Enjoy. (641 characters)

Photo of somabeer
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This place is amazing. They work hard to bring in the best beers possible and it shows. The only place in SF with Cascade, Alpine and Midnight Sun. Craig and Beth are some of the sweetest people I have ever met and they have never steered me wrong on their suggestions. The five taps are always diverse and interesting but, the bottles is where this place shines. Always a fantastic selection available for here or to go and cold or dry. The prices are always reasonable and quite competitive. Come and show the love for a real beer drinker's place. (549 characters)

Photo of popery
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Great little beer store with a high quality selection and some well-used taps. I like City Beer quite a lot. My main complaint is that the space is too small for everything that's going on. They always have good to excellent beer on tap with the occasional rarity from a, usually, local brewery. The owner seems to have quite a few contacts in the craft beer world. I will admit that I don't love the service. It's not so much a problem with anyone who works there, but it's always been a bit too busy for me to ask questions. The place is halfway between a bar and a store, so there's an odd tension between serving drinks/talking about the tap beers and helping bottle customers. My other slight problem is the crowd tends to get a bit heavy on the yuppies, not really the store's fault so much as the city's. At times, it gets dangerously close to feeling like a wine bar, not really my favorite type of establishment. The selection is a tad on the small side, which is a function of the store size, but it's all high quality. You definitely see bottles, particularly from local breweries, here that you won't see anywhere else in the city. Of course, other stores (Healthy Spirits particularly for imports and Blackwell's occasionally) can make the same claim, but City Beer more likely has the hot California beers. Anyway, prices are a bit steep, only annoying when Whole Foods down the street carries some of the same bottles for fifty cents to a dollar cheaper, but I don't begrudge them that. It's expensive to run a store in this city. At any rate, they have a very nice little bar and a very nice selection of high quality beer. (1,639 characters)

Photo of whiskeysoda
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

A cozy little gem in the middle of a (relatively) bustling city. Warm, friendly service and a fantastic selection of sours and aged beers on their wood racks in the back, with IPAs and other more temp-sensitive brews respectfully stored on display in the refrigerators out front.

Can't find something? Ask! They might have it in the back.

I can't imagine a better afternoon than winding down here, buying a couple of bottles and opening one up (or trying one of their taps!) right there while enjoying a fresh artisan cheese place.

We need one of these in LA. Damn city laws!! (579 characters)

Photo of colonelforbin
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Definitely a big fan of this place, even if I only make it over there every couple of months. Craig and Beth are top notch proprietors and very friendly and helpful. I couldn't ask for much more in this regard.

Excellent selection of beer in coolers and on the shelves. 6 taps, many of them limited/interesting brews, which rotate pretty regularly.

Prices are somewhat reasonable, especially considering you're near downtown SF. Some things are a better value than others, but the great selection makes everything seem worthwhile indeed.

They put on some nice events here, usually on a weekly basis, but sometimes it's every two weeks, or every month; this varies. Mostly just doing interesting flights of beers of a certain style, or beers with some sort of connection to each other; though they have brewers in the house to showcase their beers often as well.

The one slight downfall of this place is the size; however, that will be changing as they are expanding, so I did not ding them for that in the score. It's pretty small and fills up easily and quickly, depending on when you are there. I am very interested to see what the expanded location looks like.

Highly recommended if you are spending any time in the bay area. It is very easily accessible via BART, just a three block walk from the Civic Center BART station. Check it out. (1,351 characters)

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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
98 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.