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Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
98
world-class

170 Ratings
Ratings: 170
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Taps: 58
Bottles: 250
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4026 30th St
San Diego, California, 92104-2602
United States
phone: (619) 282-0456

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @toronadosd

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: kleffman on 06-29-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 170 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ILessThan3Brett
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%

My favorite bar in San Diego. I can probably best provide a slightly unusual perspective by comparing Toronado San Diego to Toronado San Francisco.

I think Toronado San Diego compares favorably to the original Toronado in San Francisco. It's cleaner and less divey than Toronado SF, it has bottles and extremely good ones at that, and I like the service here more. Toronado SF's taps do have the taps here beat, even though the taps here are extremely good; Toronado SF's taps have nearly everywhere beat. The atmosphere at Toronado SF has more character, with wood panelling and little side rooms and all, but thankfully Toronado SD is much cleaner. Finally and perhaps most controversially, I think the sausage sandwiches here are better than Rosamunde's (the ones here are heavily inspired by those at Rosamunde, a sausage place next door to Toronado SF, which serves no food, but lets you bring food in). Overall, in my book, the Toronado SD baby has surpassed the Toronado SF parent (in large part because I've always wished Toronado SF seemed a bit cleaner).

ILessThan3Brett, May 24, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%

I think I have to vote this my favorite bar in the world. Went in on a Friday afternoon, place was not clustered, some tables, back patio, long bar, open seats. Parked right across the street. Good discussion meeting BAs pastradul and zx6chris there, not to mention some lesbians on the patio that had good insight into education these days.

Amazing list of beers on tap and bottle. Only disappointment was not being able to get a Cantillon Vignerrone or whatnot. Other than that, they had everything they claimed to have (a common pet peeve of mine, some places, 1/2 their list is 'out of stock'.

Prices were decent. Ended up having toronado red, cable car, chocolate oak aged yeti, 30th street pale, levuds there. Blu cheese burger was damn good too. Service was excellent, they let me keep the bottles of Levud's and Cable Car with no hassle when I said I was a plinker and would be shooting them up on a legendary mountain full of deceased wales in Nevada (both met their demise yesterday afternoon, the Cable Car was an amazing, 100 yard shot up a mountain).

Didn't have to wait long ever for drinks, beautiful smiles, this is not the Toronado experience I am accustomed to in the bay area.

Beerandraiderfan, May 19, 2011
Photo of buzbuzzer
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%

Been to toronado's a few times and am always amazed at their selection of beers, most time including beers i didn't realize were in san diego or are very limited.

the enviroment is pretty laid back, the only downside that seems to be consistent with the location is the smell. for some reason if you go there, chances are it will have a hint of sour beer (not the good sour) or at least each time i have been there, that was a consistent theme. other than that, everything about the place is good.

buzbuzzer, May 15, 2011
Photo of Luvzsurfrz
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%

Stopped at Toronado on 4/9/11 when we were in town for the City Beat Beer Festival. Needless to say, this place was an amazing find for a great Saturday evening.

Toronado isn't a huge location, but has a great ambiance and mood. The crowd consists MOSTLY of other beer enthusiasts, which makes for great conversation and times shared.

Getting to the beer part of it, from what I recall (although I'd been drinking all day), there was something like 40 taps, and a bottle list unlike any I've seen. Both lists are also on their website. There was a nice balance of padded chairs around the bar with surrounding tables and booths. I started my evening with a RR Supplication on tap, followed by a round of Pliny on tap for me and my friends. Little did I know my boyfriend was on the other side of the room spending $45 bucks on a bottle of Cable Car. Thankfully, I didn't miss out on a tasting of that!

All-and-all, this is a must visit when in San Diego! We had a fabulous evening, and I definitely can't wait to go there again!

Luvzsurfrz, May 11, 2011
Photo of BrlyHpsWtrYst
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%

I won't bore you with in depth descriptions of subjective factors.. needless to say this is a fantastic place, ridiculous beer selection, amazing food. Walls lined with rare offerings from Lost Abbey, Russian River, Duvel... A bottle of Lost Abbey, Holy Water on the wall, huh... brilliant bottle selection.. theres stuff in the cooler I've only read about. Thats about it, lunched there almost all by myself had the run of the place... I'm sure this place is a zoo after dark, but I had a great time, pulled pork was amazing! Sculpin on Nitro? Cable car? 'Nuff said...

BrlyHpsWtrYst, May 11, 2011
Photo of Imstillthegman
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%

Visited Toronado on a Wednesday evening. Tried to stop in on Monday night, but couldn't find a parking place within four blocks and not knowing the area I wasn't sure how far along the "up and coming" scale it was. Needless to say, it was worth the wait. The place was my favorite stop during my week in San Diego.

One quick word of advice....when I was trying to find the place at night, I drove past it about four times before finding it. Seemed like the only place on that side of the street that didn't have their sign out front lit up somehow and the tree there blocked my ability to see it.

Dug the vibe of the place. Walking up to the Dutch style split door was cool. Grabbed a seat at the L-shaped bar before realizing the beer list for the taps was above my head. That's my only gripe about this joint....wish they had a tap list on the bar like the bottle list they have. They had a wide variety on-tap and an even bigger selection in bottles. Prices were reasonable. I didn't mind paying the $40 for my bottle of Cable Car. I figured supply and demand and the fact this was probably my only chance at getting to try it justified the price paid. The service was very good. I was there during a shift change and both sets of bartenders were very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Plus, the ladies working there have some awesome ink! This is a must stop if you're in the area! Looking forward to returning someday.

Imstillthegman, May 03, 2011
Photo of bs870621345
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%

Outside, very humble, and doesn't seem to be the best neighborhood. Inside is dark but awe inspiring with all the glasses and beers around. Amazing glass selection as well as taps and bottles. Near the bathroom there is a showcase of the owner's glasses and its worth checking out.

Great place to go, worth the trip and worth the price of going there.

Bartender knew what she was doing and she was great.

Selection was...well, just go.

Only had the chips, they were better than bagged, but nothing special.

Cable Car was expensive, everything else was reasonable.

bs870621345, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%

I have been going to this place for about 2 years now and it's probably my favorite place in San Diego. They have some great events and almost always have a great lineup. Russian River Night over there is a must-see and they've had some things on tap that I haven't seen anywhere else. The bar is far enough away from True North that the guidos stay away and the crowd is generally a little older than some of the other bars around. Good, relaxed atmosphere with a patio outside that's usually not too crowded.

notchucknorris, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of arizcards
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%

Just returned from a trip there after a late morning/early afternoon at the SD Zoo.

Atmoshpere was good, the wall opposite the bar was decorated in beer signs from around the world. Behind the bar was stocked with glasses for conceivably every style of beer.

Quality of the beer was A-1 and the food was good.

Service was very good, a younger guy in glasses was extremely friendly and helpful. It helps when it is 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon!

Selection of beer on tap was phenomenol! It is predominated with San Diego breweries including Alpine, Alesmith, Ballast Point, Green Flash, Stone, Coronado, Port/Lost Abbey. There was also Russian River, Anchor and Sierra Nevada from Cali. Plus a good choice of Belgium and German beers. There were several hundred different kinds of bottled beer in case the draft list did not strike your fancy.

Food was very good. Da Boss and i had grass fed mushroom/onion burgers which were very good. The two sides (potato salad and slaw) were also quite good.

Overall value was very good. We had two pints of Pliny The Elder and a Weisthephaner Lager plus the burgers for $31.50 - very reasonable!

The character of the original Toronado is ledgendary but the San Diego version was better IMHO.

arizcards, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of djaeon
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%

This place is a blast. It's not your normal everyday bar that's full of creeps. This is a place that seems to attract awesome beer fans. The vibe is one that you get when you're surrounded by people who all have something in common... a love of good beer.
They have a huge variety of beer on tap and in bottle. If you don't find several things you like on tap, you're not really looking. The food is decent, but nothing spectacular. The prices are average. And the service I think is very good. I've only been there on very busy nights, so the bartenders weren't hanging out and chatting or anything, but I never had to wait more than a couple minutes to get served. That's impressive to me on a crazy Friday or Saturday night.

djaeon, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of abcentfishing
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%

I really like this place, first of all it has a nice diverse selection of on-taps and a great bottle list. The staff is friendly and the place is clean and neat. I think those that have been to the origional would like it to have a bit more character but I like it just fine and character grows with a place and it will grow with this one. The food is good, I love the sausage sandwiches and most of the other fare. They have a smoking section in the event I decide to have a nice stoggie and the specials and events are always fun. It lacks the age to bring it a nice consistent set of customers but that to will come and this place will be a local favorite for a long time to come. I have enjoyed many a conversation with in and out of towners. Even got an invite to hike the Appalachian trail with one beer lover. Give it a shot and get on the email list so you dont miss a great beer release.

abcentfishing, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of Hojaminbag
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%

The Toronado was the first place I visited on a weekday in San Diego, so the bar was pretty empty. Fairly open space with a bar to the right and a few tables to the left. More seating in the back. A large board has cards with the tap list on it.

Service was good, obviously, because the bar was empty. I guess it could still be bad, so no complaints here. The bartender was attentive and fairly friendly, as we had a conversation or two with her while we were there. She was also a good-looking girl, which doesn't hurt.

Most things here were 5 bucks a pint. The list focuses on SoCal locals, and it has a ton of them at pretty reasonable prices. It also has a few good Belgians and a few non-locals. Solid list with plenty of things that I have never had or was not even familiar with. I was pumped to grab a pint of Alpine Pure Hoppiness.

The bottle list is full of rarities, including all sorts of 1-6 liter bottles at very large prices. I split a bottle of Cable Car with my friend. I'd tried it before but still dropped 40 bucks on it. It wasn't worth 40 bucks, but I'm on vacation!

Toronado was a good experience. Although the bottle list is full of rarities, I recommend exploring the tap list.

Hojaminbag, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4.55/5  rDev +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.

orangesol, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of Ambiorix
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%

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.

Reasonably priced.

Ambiorix, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of kbutler1
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

kbutler1, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of DeanMoriarty
3.9/5  rDev -12.6%

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.

DeanMoriarty, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

Eriktheipaman, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of RadNatta
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%

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.

RadNatta, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.28/5  rDev -4%

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.

SpeedwayJim, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of gregshead
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

gregshead, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of OldTownDB
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

OldTownDB, Aug 07, 2010
Photo of shelikesbeer
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

shelikesbeer, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%

Dim but not too dark bar - convivial atmosphere, mostly small groups of friends and a few couples deep in conversation. Two to three bartenders when it wasn't even that busy, all of whom were patient, helpful, and friendly. The decor is awesome, with an enviable collection of brewery posters, signs, etc.

Tap-list is very long and impressive, although the night I was there, I realized I had already had 2/3+ of the beers on offer - so a true beer dork may not be impressed as they should be; however, if you are from out of state, this is pretty much a must try pub.

Everything is fresh and served properly in the brewery's own glass when available. Bottle list is great, with lots of rare local and hard to find Belgian ales, but the mark-up is painful. You may need a couple pints (if not a couple pay-checks) before you get up the courage to order that bottle of Cable Car...draughts range from ~$5 - $7.50 or so.

Menu looked decent, but I didn't order food.

The patio is one of the most inviting spaces, but unfortunately it is the preserve of smokers, which makes enjoying the nuances of your beer rather difficult.

If I lived in the area, I'd probably be a regular, at least around happy-hour.

augustgarage, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%

Stopped in during a recent trip to SD.

Atmosphere is good. The main room is very spacious and allows for even a good number of people not to be crushed together. Tables dot the outskirts of the place and the bar is on the right with the beer listed above. If you go around out back there are a few picnic tables but they close the outside down a bit earlier than the inside (this may change as it was for litigious regions).

Quality is very good although admittedly it may just seem better than most because it's Toronado. All beers are served in propoer classware with good head.

Service is good. It's sometimes hard to gain the bartender's attention but not unduly so.

Selection is as expected - very nice. The tap list was impressive enough in itself and the bottle list seals the deal. Check out their website for specifics.

Food is good although a bit more expensive than the beer prices would intimate.

Value is good, with the slight exception of food as noted above.

Overall this place lives up to its billing as a top beer bar and seems very clean compared to what I've heard about the SF location. Worth stopping in if you're in the area.

glid02, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of adkirkish
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%

I'm definitely a fan of Toronado. I usually come on monday nights for 3 dollar pint night and now I'll be visiting on wednesdays for their washoe tournaments.

The staff @ Toronado have always been friendly and polite to me and my friends and can always recommend a great beer to me and give me a rundown of what to expect, even throwing in some tasters to help me decide.

The beer and bottle selection is nothing short of awesome. Not only do they carry alot of locally brewed beers (Lost Abbey / Port Brewing / Alesmith / Alpine / Karl Strauss / Green Flash etc.), the list pours into belgian and german styles to name a few.

Along with the amazing beer they have an awesome food selection. I highly recommend their sausage and potato cake plate. They offer a couple different types of links: Italian, Bratwurst, smoked apple chipotle and the portions are huge. The potato cake covers up the entire plate (it's enought for 2 people to share).

The only reason why I gave 4 stars instead of 5 is the size of the bar. It gets crowded on Mondays and I've had to wait outside just to get in the door. If this were a bigger place I would have no complaints what so ever.

adkirkish, May 22, 2010
Toronado in San Diego, CA
98 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.