Taps: 58 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 106 | Show All Ratings:
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 | $$$
Another Toronado! I'm not sure if I should be excited or frightened.
It goes without saying that this place is a world class beer bar, it wouldn't be able to carry the name if it wasn't. The question is, how does it compare to the original?
Well, it does preserve some of the dive bar feel but not remotely on the level of the one in SF. The staff is more friendly, the building newer and MUCH less dingy/filthy and they have food. Really good food actually, the grass fed burgers are awesome. The beer selection lives up to the original and personally I liked this one quite a bit more. While the surly, back alley pool hall atmosphere of the original Toronado is something that every beer geek needs to experience at least once I don't consider it a pleasant environment to drink a great beer. This one, on the other hand, is a much better balance of authenticity and comfort and I would go back any time I had the chance.
One last note: this place get BUSY and a savy drinker goes to the Toronado (either one) during the afternoon unless he loves crowds.
09-06-2012 06:23:53 | More by nickfl
4.3/5 rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Torofuckinado; the other one. Long damn day that didn’t start so well but bettered, and no one more surprised than I at my continued ability to scribble legibly. Arrived, at last, cruising the ‘hood looking to park that boat that Ben insisted on renting. This location is in a strip of the hip & cool; talk about Toronado night & day...
“L” shaped slat wood topped bar, with a panel wood base and piping foot rail; seating for 15 or so, seems like it’d be more somehow. Barback holds some lowboy coolers with 3 door bottle coolers to both sides, lined with magnums, random bottles, and pieces of play, above. Glassware shelved above center, on the ends, and extending well out of reach above the coolers, and then a graveyard of magnums, jeroboams, and random bottles that meant something to someone once atop. More glassware down past the second set of coolers, a single cooler door past there, and off the far corner, 2 rows of towers, 1 over the other; 50 taps in all.
Slat wood floors, and the walls & ceiling done beige. Spinny fans & drop pan lamps over the floor, and sunken spots from the overhang. The front corner wall plastered with brewery stickers, placards, tins, & prints, and 3 gigantor framed mirrors on the far wall with lotsa brewery tins in between. A single flat screen in the front corner, an Oldsmobile ‘Toronado’ neon to the rear (kind of badass), a juke over there (me, pointing), a trio of 3X3 event & specials boards to the rear above the kitchen space (Seems they do food here), and crumpled dollar bills stapled to the ceiling.
Logo front windows with a swinging half door in between, and neons on the overhang above. A single hightop in both front corners, with a full table accompanying on one side. 5 long large tables with shared benchings adjacent to the bar off the far wall. We tried for a just vacated table but it was instantly scapped up by a group of girls out for a bachelorette party. Down the rabbithallway to the rear, with 5 framed De Dolle prints well screwed into the wall or I’m sure some unscrupulous cad would have pinched them by now (anybody got a Phillips head screwdriver?), and a glassware display of pretty cool down and around the bend. Past there and through to the out back, into a garden of sorts; 5 picnic tables and a long bar counter table there.
50 taps (or space for that many anyway but only 47 beers on just now), the selections shown over the bar on the same slat board type set up as the San Francisco location, brewery & beer. 33 craft offerings (Russian River IPA, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig & Damnation, Ballast Point Reef Rye Brown Ale, Sculpin IPA, Ingrid’s 1 in 8 Strong Ale, & Serrano Pale Ale, Alesmith IPA, Grand Cru & Speedway Stout, Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye & Summerfest, Green Flash 30th St Pale Ale & West Coast IPA, Beachwood Breaker Pale Ale & Forever Bitter, Allagash Curieux & Saison Mihm, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA & Double Jack Double IPA, Mother Earth Night Shift Coffee Porter, Coronado Black Sails IPA, Northcoast Old Rasputin, Bear Republic Racer 5, Deschuttes Black Butte Porter, Victory Prima Pils, DogFishHead 90 Minute IPA, Stone Ruination, Port Brewing Dawn Patrol Dark Mild, Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale, Lagunitas IPA, Maui La Perouse White), a baker’s dozen imports, all Belgian save one lone Germ (Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge, Van Honsebrouck Gueuze Fond Tradition, St Feuillien Speciale 2011, Scheldebrouwerij Hop-Ruiter, Cuvee Des Trolls, Chimay Tripel, Duchesse De Bourgogne, La Chouffe, Malheur 10 & 12, St Bernardus Abt 12 & Witbier, Spaten Franziskaner Weisse), and a single cider (Wandering Aengus Anthem Cherry Cider). 2 handpumps along the bar, only 1 live currently (North Coast Red Seal). Started with the Port Brewing Dawn Patrol, which was sublime, and as the Pliny kicked, we slummed it with the Blind Pig. Did not suck.
Big bottle book of nearly 250 selections; 120 Belgians, 65 US, 52 beers of the world, and a dozen large format this and that. (Lovely) Orval runs a cool $10, and, oh, I see they hold multiple bottling batches of various Russian River beers. Hmmn, Consecration batch 3 or 4? Why not have both? (Fuckers!)
It started out light but then filled in crazily around us (as Saturday nights do), to the extent that the girl now sitting at our abandoned hightop took to sitting in an infant ‘Davo’ seat. The crowd seemed to grow younger & younger and maybe more yuppie than hipster, and seriously, who does a bachelorette party here (other than the woman I would want to marry?) Revisited a few days later in the light of day, a whole lot more chill, though seemingly clean & sterile; this place is the anti-San Francisco location (Ben says “Toronado light”). Service served; no problems there. They’ve got a great selection, and they’re ripping through beer so you know it’s fresh. Good beer here. And quality time with Carmen Sandiego completes the show...
08-09-2012 17:09:04 | More by slander
4/5 rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped here on my final night in SD with some friends.
It wasn't too crowded on a Sunday night. The drafts were nice, a good range of stuff, but they seemed to focus on a lot of beers by a handful of breweries. The bottle selection was extensive with plenty of rare stuff. But the problem is those bottles are so expensive that it isn't even worth it. The draft offerings were much more reasonable priced.
The service was pretty good. Overall not a bad stop if you are in SD but a bit overrated IMO.
07-30-2012 07:05:12 | More by crossovert
Toronado in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.