Ratings: 158 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
4.55/5 rDev +2.2%
I had an extra day in cali after the bruery party so I decided to drive down to San Diego and hit up the Toronado. Great decision on my part.
I got there right when they opened so it was nearly empty but as the day wore on it became more and more packed. They had the NFL playoff games on the TV and the music was going. Place was a bit stale when I first got there but once I left it was alive and hopping. My bartender, Eric, was awesome. He was really nice and very knowledgeable about all the beers they had. The ones he didn't know about he opened and sampled so he could learn about it. I never had to wait for a fresh beer and that is saying something because he was the only person working.
The food was good. I got the toronado burger with chips and it was cooked to perfection and tasted great. I noticed a few other things on the menu I would have loved to try but I just didn't have it in me. I really wanted to try the beer cakes but I just plain forgot to order them. The quality was exactly what you would expect, top notch. The food was all fresh and tasty and the beer was served in the correct glasses. They really don't skimp on anything at the Toronado.
The selection is second to none, other than maybe the SF location. Where else can you get a Cable Car? They still had a bunch of pizza port beers on from an event earlier in the week to go along with all the other offerings. I had a cask Big Brown from Pizza Port, a bottle of Redemption, and a bottle of 2010 Cable Car. All were excellent and reasonably priced. I listed this place as $$$ because some of the other bottles were a bit pricy and my sweatshirt cost as much as the Cable Car, both $40. Overall one of the best places for beer on the west coast, maybe in the whole country. I am glad I made the trip down to San Diego to check out this iconic bar first hand.
01-12-2011 20:35:10 | More by orangesol
3.98/5 rDev -10.6%
Kind of sterile in the atmosphere aspect. Too bright, too open. Not very cozy. I really preferred the feel of Small Bar, but that's just me.
Great overall quality. Really amazing tap and bottle selection. The night I went they had a Port Brewing special going on with lots of great stuff.
Service was decent if somewhat impersonal. When I asked an opinion between two Imperial Stouts, the bartender admitted not trying one and poured us each a nice sized sample of the one he hadn't had.
Food was really tasty and the prices were okay.
01-12-2011 03:45:30 | More by Ambiorix
4.3/5 rDev -3.4%
Flew in to San Diego to attend the 2011 Bruery Reserve Society party and HAD to stop here to try some beers. We landed at 11am on a Thursday and hailed a cab to get us to Toronado as they opened at 11:30am. We were a little early and waited outside for a couple minutes but soon enough the doors were opened and we were the first to walk in. We were greeted by a very friendly bartenter whose name escapes me but it was either Brandi, Brittany, or something like that with a B. Nice large bar and plenty of tables. A list was provided with all the beers available along with a giant baord above the bar that is more up to date on what is available. My eyes were drawn to the coolers though and peaking out was a nice looking 2010 Lost Abbey Cable Car calling my name! For $40, it's an expensive bottle but give how hard it is to come buy, $40 is minimal. After that I enjoyed a couple other tasty local beers and ordered the pulled pork sandwich, which was just awesome. I would totally go back here to drink/eat anytime.
01-10-2011 15:38:46 | More by kbutler1
3.9/5 rDev -12.4%
Ok, i'll admit it, this isn't anything like the original Toronado on Haight in SF (which is probably the greatest bar in the world), so I won't even try and compare the two. I was just happy to get one somewhat near my house, because I know the owner has the best connections to the finest brewers all around the world, so I'm not trying to split hairs here.
The atmosphere is a little generic and since the beer craze has hit SD, you get a ton of wine snobs sniffing and swirling their beers, and this place seems to be a mecca for this type of folk. On the other side of the coin though, the room is big and airy, and there always seems to be a spot to post up and have some drinks. The room is a bit bright at times, but what can ya do (???). There's also a patio out back with picnic tables so if you like to have a beer and a smoke, this is a good option instead of huddling out front of the bar like a criminal.
Service is so so depending on who's bartending - there's a couple "cool guys" working the bar in the afternoons from time to time that like to take the uninterested European approach to bar service, but the evening staff seem to realize they're working for tips and act as so.
The selection (and this is the only comparison i'll make to their SF location) is one of the best in town, no doubt, but they seem to get less of the super rare one-offs that you see pop up every week up North. Amazing tap selection of West Coast and Belgian ales and some rare bottled beers that line the back walls of the bar in coolers.
The food is really good - the mac and cheese is off the hook and their potato pancake plate with sausage is a perfect pairing for a good IPA.
I'll agree with most of the comparisons and criticisms out there in regards to the SD location vs. the SF location, but it's like comparing apples and oranges. I'm just stoked to have this quality and selection within 20 minutes of my house.
12-08-2010 19:13:57 | More by DeanMoriarty
4.58/5 rDev +2.9%
First time checking this place out and Im glad I went!
We got there about one and there were only 2 other people in the bar just hanging out which I thought it was great that it wasnt packed.
The beer selection is awesome and the have some brews you wont find anywhere else. I got an Alpine Ugly BIPA which was amazing.
We also split a veggie sloppy joe which wasnt bad but nothing special.
The bartender was cool and we chatted with her for most our visit. I will definitly be back but hopefully I can check it out early again and miss the crowds.
11-29-2010 17:25:49 | More by Eriktheipaman
4.65/5 rDev +4.5%
I chose my apartment because it was in walking distance from Toronado. San Diego's 30th Street is the best beer street in the nation and Toronado is one of the top three beer bars on 30th.
I don't like places that are meant to please everyone. I don't like people who think places should please everyone. I like Toronado, because it exists to please beer lovers; not people who want to sip fizzy yellow water while getting cuddly with their pals in a booth. It wants to serve people who arrived for the beer itself. It does this well.
The bartenders understand what they are serving. They'll explain any beers you think sound interesting and give you a taste if you want to be sure. If you are a San Diego beer tourist, go here. if you live in San Diego, you should already be here. I'll see you on Monday; it's Local Pint night.
11-25-2010 04:43:17 | More by RadNatta
4.28/5 rDev -3.8%
My first stop on my trip to San Diego.
I somehow imagined Toronado to be completely different than what it is... which is in essence a semi-converted dive bar. The place is dark and a bit grungy and located in what seems to be a real shabby and run down neighborhood. Its also very small with very limited seating. Appropriate though, considering that this seems to be the hardcore Beer Geek's haven. Who cares what it looks like when you can order Cable Car at the bar?
Even though its a bit run-down. The quality of the beer at Toronado is unmistakable. Clean tap lines, all the beer refridgerated or otherwise properly cellared. You can't ask for any more in terms of quality of product.
Service is decent given the amount of people that show up on a daily basis. They are a bit understaffed and it gets annoying to have to order your food at the bar. They do bring it to you at the tables though, so that's a redeeming point and service at the bar is really pretty quick given the man (or woman) power.
Selection is the reason to come here. They have everything... and some things that no other place has. Hands down one of the best ever.
The food is surprisingly good given the atmosphere. I thought it'd be some simple bar food but the burgers are incredible as well as the quesadilla's that my party had.
$4-$5 a pint on most things on tap with a very reasonably priced bottle list (including Cable Car!!!). Cheap by New York standards which is how I look at it.
Toronadoes is a legendary bar in the beer community and for good reason. Definitely worth the visit.
11-15-2010 04:38:36 | More by SpeedwayJim
4.38/5 rDev -1.6%
I really enjoy this place. The atmosphere feels like a bar I can call my home bar. It's a little dark and loud (music wise) on certain nights. Despite these minor atmosphere pieces, the people are friendly and the place just helps me take it easy after a long day.
Quality of the product is great. I believe the bartenders really pay attention to the product they are giving out, even down to how they pour it from the tap.
Service has always been solid. I don't sit with a empty pint for long before I'm asked if I want anything additional. The bartenders are happy to talk about the different beers and give their opinions of differences in beers. Very friendly to all the patrons, even those that seem like total jackholes.
This places greatest strength is their selection. They are very aware of what season it is and what their patrons are wanting to drink at that time of year. At the same time, they have a little bit of everything so if you feel like an imperial stout in the middle of summer you can have it. They also keep a lot of local beers on tap. Can't beat the monday $3 pint night on all local brews.
Overall, a great place to get a couple of good brews.
09-08-2010 03:15:06 | More by gregshead
4.53/5 rDev +1.8%
I was there last night with some friends and colleagues from work. The beer selection is top notch and I love the multitude of IPAs they always have. The staff is great and the service is good. This is one of my favorite beer bars in San Diego.
HOWEVER, this was my 4th visit, and aside from the sausages, I have yet to find anything on the menu that is decent or that they can't screw up. My first two visits I ordered a burger on a busy night, and both times they came out well done (I asked for medium). The third visit I ordered the buffalo chicken sandwich, and it was over cooked and dry. Last night I ordered the potato pancake plate with a sausage, and the potato pancake was undercooked and tasted of two week old potatoes. The sausage however was extremely good. My recommendation if your hungry, is to get some food at The Ritual about a block away before you get beers at Toronado.
08-07-2010 01:17:10 | More by OldTownDB
4.58/5 rDev +2.9%
I may be a little biased in that I can easily walk to this bar from my apartment. BUT I do love me some Toronado SD. They have a decently varied tap list, and a very nice bottle list. Prices are median- running an average of $5 per tap and up to $20-something on some of the bottles. Food's good, they've just revamped their menu to include Pub Cakes (beer + cupcakes, what?!). All of this can be read about in prior reviews, so I'll touch on what does and always has impressed me about this place: the service. The staff there is knowledgeable about their product, consistantly friendly, and always willing to answer questions and make recomendations with no prejudice. That helps greatly in making this a place that I came to as a beer novice and will continue to return to on my path of beer love.
07-14-2010 05:32:41 | More by shelikesbeer
Toronado in San Diego, CA
98 out of 100 based on 158 ratings.