Taps: 58 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 135 | Reviews: 108 | Show All Ratings:
3.33/5 rDev -24.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
I don't get the hype about this place. There are far better spots north in Orange County. I will say it has a cool neighborhood bar vibe with (real) rock n roll playing on the juke box and the food we had was quite good, especially the pork belly skewers, but as far as beer is concerned, and frankly, everything takes a back seat for me, this place is nothing special.
First, the beer menu is above the bar, not behind it, invisible to those sitting at the bar. Most beer-friendly joints I go to have a current tap list on a piece of paper for you to view, usually with a sentence or two about each beer. Looking at their menu board, I couldn't even tell what style half the beers were. As far as the selection was concerned it appeared to be almost all local breweries without much out of the ordinary. Of course with no descriptions what do I know. They do have a bunch of interesting stuff in bottles in the fridge behind the bar, but they don't have those on a list. On a side note, there was no wine for my wife, but it is a beer bar, I guess.
I couldn't find the tap list on their website and beermenus and taphunter hadn't been updated in months or years. Therefore I couldn't do any "homework" on what to try. I did recognize one on the menu I hadn't had and wanted to try, but they were out of that one. As service leaves a little to be desired, even in the afternoon, I didn't want to let the bartender get away, so I asked for a recommendation on a less bitter ipa on the more tropical side. (Did I mention they don't have flights?) I ended up with a piney, bitter, resinous one.
04-06-2014 01:04:20 | More by jwswigs
4.95/5 rDev +12%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
So, you're in San Diego and you visit beer web sites. Well, the Toronado has the best beer selection in San Diego. Great tap list and great bottle list. They also make some pretty good food. And the service at this location is much more friendly than the SF location, which I also love. This is one of the few places you can get Alpine beers on a pretty consistent basis.
03-22-2014 21:42:46 | More by hops_and_waves
4.43/5 rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25 | $$
I met up with a BA trading partner (coolethan) for an IP trade at Toronado SD a couple months ago while I was in town. This is an outstanding beer bar with a great selection of beers. Unfortunately, they were preparing for a big event, so the draft list was a little smaller than usual, from what I was told. They still had plenty to choose from and I had an Evil Twin Justin Blaeber. I also couldn't pass up Pliny on tap. Their bottle list was outstanding and I had my first taste of Firestone Walker PNC and Lost Abbey Cable Car... both incredible! They didn't allow any to-go bottles, or I might have brought one of each home with me. The service was fine and the food was very good. I will definitely seek this place out anytime I'm in the SD area.
01-09-2014 05:32:19 | More by GABrew
3.98/5 rDev -10%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.25 | $$
Went for the 1st time on a Satuday night before the crowd hit. Probably a good idea to head over to this place by 8 or 9 if you want a seat on the weekend. Very happy with the bottle selection but the draft selection just wasn't what I was hoping for. With the list being every changing, I'm guessing I just hit this on what could probably just have been a time with not too many "exciting" brews.
Food was okay. We had a chicken sandwich and the chicken was over-cooked and a bit dry but it was still pretty tasty overall. Service wasn't anything to write home about either. Had two girls helping us, one was great and knowledgable and talked a lot about some brew but the other almost knew nothing. When working at a place like this, at least take some time to learn about beer and what is available at your store.
As a beer fan, this was a great place to visit and a damn shame they can't sell bottles to-go. I would have loved to have taken some back home that I couldn't find in the area. Can't believe that out of all the times visiting SD, I somehow have skipped this place.
Can't wait to go back! If you're looking for a place to grab beers in SD, this definitely hits in the top 5.
09-10-2013 16:45:00 | More by EyePeeAyBryan
3.43/5 rDev -22.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75 | $
Smallish bar with some tables behind. Coolers littered with bottles behind the bar. Unfortunately the bartender said the list they had was unusable and outdated so I would have to browse visually which was hard considering the bar was full, so that was a knock. Both bartenders actually had a stick up their rears which was a pain.
The prices were awesome because there was a happy hour special for all local beers. There were about 20 on tap I believe. Ambiance was fairly poor though. People crowding the bar behind you with not enough service to help everyone.
This is the second bar during my trip with a huge reputation that totally let me down. (Falling Rock in Denver being the other). It seems they think because they are well known that service and standards can falter.
I also had a sandwich which was forgettable.
06-19-2013 00:45:14 | More by claspada
4.43/5 rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Coming out to San Diego from the east coast this was one of my top beer destinations. I had very high expectations, thinking Russian River, Alpine and many other great CA beers. Unfortunately my timing was off as there was no RR or Alpiine on during my visit. That being said there was still a huge draft selection of amazing stuff. I had a few Stone 'Enjoy By' IPAs and enjoyed the atmosphere of the bar. It's a long and narrow bar well decorated with beer paraphernalia.
Absolutely a place I would stop back past if in the area. Hopefully my next visit will be to the SF location.
04-27-2013 02:09:56 | More by bkett01
4.36/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I recently visited Toronado in San Diego for the first time. It's a nice space inside with bar seating and tables as well. Lots of cool beer memorabilia around the place. They had approximately 40 beers on tap with a nice bottle list with some great beers. All the beers I tried were served at a good temperature and in proper glassware. Service was good even though it was a bit busy at the time. The selection of beers was great with a wide range of styles and breweries available. They serve beers in pints, half pints, and even do tasters. I was thoroughly impressed and highly recommend a stop in here if you are in the area.
03-12-2013 16:24:11 | More by UCLABrewN84
4.64/5 rDev +5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25 | $$
This was the 7th, and most anticipated stop during my San Diego Beer Week trip. For someone who has been to Toronado’s San Francisco sibling (See My Review), I was also looking forward seeing the comparison. San Diego’s version is housed behind a generic storefront situated in a bland retail section. (This North Park neighborhood is an obvious difference from Haight-Asbury district.)
Toronado SD is much more modern, and being not quite the dive as San Francisco it is more inviting. It is a tad larger in size with a moderate sized bar amid a roomier venue decorated with a myriad of beer paraphernalia plastered and strewn about. While dimly lit, there was still enough natural light to allow one to make there way around. The self-serve water station was a pleasant touch.
Much like the San Francisco venue, there is an excellent draft selection; there are about several dozen West Coast brews on tap, many of which unavailable outside the San Diego area – Alpine Brewing comes immediately to mind. And unlike, the aforementioned sister venue, this one offers food (for example, a delicious and filling Cajun sausage roll with potato salad). Top this all off with friendly and knowledgeable service and a great time is to be had by all. Then add moderate prices and one is most assuredly satisfied.
Previous reviews mention the horrendous parking in this area; no worry, since the No. 2 Bus from downtown runs right past the front door. To coin the usual cliché: Toronado San Diego is a MUST when in town. (Sometimes clichés are simply the truth told over and over.) In any case, I loved this place!
02-18-2013 23:46:24 | More by jjboesen
4.35/5 rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75 | $$$
Went for my first time on an average day, no special event or anything.
I found this facility and service to be average, nothing bad, nothing over the top good.
I did not try any food, so I can't comment on the quality there.
The tap list was good, but nothing special or anything. I will say this is well above average just for number of choices though.
The bottle list, the quantity of hard to find and above average beers was awesome, best I have seen. However, I will never buy any of them at the SUPER inflated prices. The bartender tried to explain to me how eBay prices were three times the price of their list to justify the prices. Yeah buddy I've never seen Abyss go for 180 bucks on eBay ( the bottle was 58 there). I wonder how they will justify their prices now that eBay has shut down alcohol sales?!
Overall, average bar with an over priced awesome bottle list. If you have über deep pockets, you will love it.
10-04-2012 13:41:24 | More by HopsintheSack
4.6/5 rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Another Toronado! I'm not sure if I should be excited or frightened.
It goes without saying that this place is a world class beer bar, it wouldn't be able to carry the name if it wasn't. The question is, how does it compare to the original?
Well, it does preserve some of the dive bar feel but not remotely on the level of the one in SF. The staff is more friendly, the building newer and MUCH less dingy/filthy and they have food. Really good food actually, the grass fed burgers are awesome. The beer selection lives up to the original and personally I liked this one quite a bit more. While the surly, back alley pool hall atmosphere of the original Toronado is something that every beer geek needs to experience at least once I don't consider it a pleasant environment to drink a great beer. This one, on the other hand, is a much better balance of authenticity and comfort and I would go back any time I had the chance.
One last note: this place get BUSY and a savy drinker goes to the Toronado (either one) during the afternoon unless he loves crowds.
09-06-2012 06:23:53 | More by nickfl
Toronado in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.