Taps: 58 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 135 | Reviews: 108 | Show All Ratings:
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
4.2/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
An entry in center of two overlooking windows with the "L"-shaped dark wood bar to right with 7 coolers as the back bar, as well as a bank of 50 in the back/center corner. A fairly minimal space with standard tables and chairs against left wall with high tables and chairs center. Pressed tin signs on left wall. Lavs all of the way aft, left. Having been to its sister location in SF, the service here was MUCH better. Cuz Colby was well-recieved as we walked in and we encountered some other beer luminaries as we sat and had lunch. I was deeply impressed by the 30th Street area and its bars.
12-24-2009 13:20:38 | More by woodychandler
4.44/5 rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Of all the bars that I visited in San Diego, Toronado was my favorite. It's a fairly clean-looking place, both design-wise, and as in "clean". There are some cool details though, like the Oldsmobile Toronado sign and the exotic wood bar top. The taps are all tucked into one corner which is a little weird, but that was probably the easiest way to do it.
Beer selection. 50 taps and 12 feet of cooler space packed with lots of goodies. Lots of local stuff, and lots of great imports. Hard to find bottles. They really have the best selection in San Diego.
The beer board is huge, and cardboard signs are used to change them out. The only problem with that is that you can't see it if you're sitting at the bar, and with all of the taps in one corner that can be hard to see too. They do have a book, but I wonder how frequently it's updated. I know that at least one keg kicked and was switched over to something while I was there. However, I can say that bartender knowledge more than makes up for that. And, unlike many bars, they seem excited about the beers!
As for prices, I've listed it as inexpensive, given that regular beers will cost you more at a lot of places in San Diego, and some of what they're pouring is stellar and hard to come by (New Belgium La Folie, for example).
I didn't try the food. It looked good but I'm a vegetarian. Besides, who can screw up sausages?
10-07-2008 00:37:21 | More by NeroFiddled
4.25/5 rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
This is a very solid place, but I confess that after visiting Hamilton's, I just was not that thrilled or impressed with the place.
For starters, the Toronado atmosphere is not the best. The place is pretty small, with something of a bright, sterile, formica, plasticy feel to it. On the other hand, the beer selection is clearly outstanding, with a great selection of draft beer and a selection of bottled beer that would put the ridiculous Brickskellar in DC to shame.
As for service, the day I was there our server was a young lady who was quick and efficient. She wasn't the most knowledgable bartender, but she was still pretty good and could answer most basic questions. As for food, I ordered the grilled cheese on rye. It was OK, though I can't say it was anything special.
I don't know. This was an OK place, in fact it's very good. However, I just wasn't all that happy with the vibe here, and found myself longing for Hamilton's. As this place is just a mile or two up the street from Hamilton's, I'm not sure how often I would ever visit the San Diego Toronado if I was in the area.
12-22-2008 14:00:32 | More by johnmichaelsen
4.74/5 rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
One big strength of the San Diego branch is that the tap list is updated on the website with some regularity. I never trust the web information at the original. The taps are all top shelf as they should be: Abyss, Black Butte XXI, Mirror Mirror, Damnation, Blind Pig, Alaskan Smoked Porter, Alpine Uncommon, 12 beers from Pizza Port, Old Rasputin on nitro, Allagash Curieux, and another 15 or so beers. Plus a huge bottle list, including my choice: Cable Car 2009. Much cleaner and more civilized than the San Francisco location. But I still love the gritty feel and beer selections of the spot on 547 Haight, and it's always the first place I go when in town.
01-23-2010 03:25:32 | More by TurdFurgison
4.72/5 rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
I've made a quick visit to the Toronado in SF so I knew I had to visit the SD location. As many have noted, the SD location is a very different place but it's no commercial sellout. It still has lots of character and a serious, authentic pub vibe.
Toronado SD has a great selection of beer on tap (about 42 by my count) with lots from CA but also some good ones from the east coast and Europe. And they have many more in the bottle. I went with an Alpine O'Brien's IPA, an AleSmith IPA and a Bruery Humulus Lager. They were all fantastic. My wife had a RR PtE.
We also ate there and I loved the food. I had a Jalapeno burger and it was cooked perfectly and served on a nice soft, bready roll. Others in the group had BLTAs (BLTs with avocado) and a salad. Everything was good.
Toronado has it all... the atmosphere, the draft beer and the food. It's the real deal.
08-17-2009 11:53:45 | More by GJ40
4.24/5 rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
We made a couple of stops here during our vacation and were glad we did. The atmosphere of this place is probably the only negative. Someone described it has having the vibe of a bingo hall and that's about right. Maybe it was the lighting...
Plenty of delicious San Diego area craft beer dominated the taps, more than making up for whatever shortcoming the place may have had vibe-wise. The highlight was tons of Kern River on tap.But there was not a lousy tap to be seen. Service was prompt and friendly. Glad we made it there.
04-02-2012 15:26:36 | More by sholland119
4/5 rDev -9.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
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
4.08/5 rDev -7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped by here during a recent trip to San Diego. I first tried to go on a Friday night but it was so packed I didn't even go in. I would highly recommended going at night only Sunday thru Thursday or during the afternoon.
This place is basically a narrow rectangular room with a long bar on the right with tables lining the left wall. Not nearly enough seating during the busier times. Even late on Sunday night most of the tables were occupied. The bar had plenty of space available though.
The place is very clean with beer signs everywhere and rare bottles behind the bar. There are also two coolers on each side of the bottle containing a theoretically nice selection. Although this place was more spacious and cleaner than the SF location I prefer the grimy vibe of the original location. Also, the juke box at the SF location is pretty awesome, elevating the vibe.
Service was pretty good here. I didn't go in when it was crazy busy so I can't comment on that but it was busy enough on a Sunday night and the one bartender held it down, taking care of everyone quickly. She was also very knowledgeable and patient putting up with all of my questions about unfamiliar locals. None of the beers on draft have descriptions but she knew about all of them.
Toronado has a great reputation for having an amazing selection but to be honest, I've been kind of disappointed in both locations. They did have 50 taps with lots of one offs, cool locals and BA stuff but the bottle list was pretty weak. Not too many rarities and the ones that were available were very expensive. Lower tier rare beers like the eclipse variations were close to $50! Also, 30+ of the beers on draft were from Pizza Port. They had an event on NYE with over 60 of their beers on and these were the left overs. Fortunately, most of them were excellent and pretty rare. The rest of the list was pretty impressive.
Overall, this place was fun but didn't live up to expectations. Not as cool as the other location but the service is much better. The draft selection is quite nice but the bottle list left a lot to be desired. Maybe I'm just a jaded Philly guy. If you are from out of town, be careful when you go because the place can get crazy crowded.
01-17-2012 21:14:43 | More by corby112
4.28/5 rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $
Stopped here on my third day down in San Diego this past week, right down the street from the Linkery on 30th Street which I have not been to yet, anyways similar to the neighborhood feel in San Francisco but not quite the same, doggie door is almost identical though, place seemed too nice inside to get that same feel from the original too, did have a cool jukebox, everything was super clean, brand new beer fridges and chairs, bathroom had a hole in the wall from a fist most likely but had lots of funny comments around written in various pen markings, had a bratwurst and it was quite good, the other sausages I saw go by me looked great as well so food is good and that is something they have up on SF since they do not sell it anymore, tap selection was decent but again the location up north had them beat, some of the standouts on tap were New Belgium Eric's Sour Ale, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Avery Ale to the Chief, and Green Flash Le Freak, I had a Bear Republic Up in Smoke which is a steam beer, prices are great during happy hour and one dollar off all taps, which makes most beers only three dollars, bottle list was great and the Lost Abbey stuff blew my mind, still had some bottles of Cable Car for $50 but you have to drink them there because they do not have a to go license, also had Cuvee de Tomme, Older Viscosity, and Angel's Share, the three Russian River sours but no more Toronado 20th unfortunately, Abyss, and many more, place is crazy inexpensive and I will most certainly be going back, the owner Ian is a cool guy which helps things out even more, check it out when you can
09-08-2008 00:09:37 | More by Floydster
Toronado in San Diego, CA
97 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.