Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 17 | Display Reviews Only:
4.46/5 rDev +10.9%
Church Key is a tiny little bar in an area that has plenty of eateries and small shops. No name on the place, only a key sign hangs over the entrance. The bar is is the back and can only seat about 6-8 comfortably. A staircase heads upstairs, but I didn't check it out. There is a few tables so I can see this place getting packed quickly. Luckily when I visited there were only about 10 folks there. Overall the place is a bit dark with only a large window overlooking the street.
There were 10 beers on draft during my visit, with some notables like Deschutes Stoic, Orange Kush, Black Xantus, and DFH Palo Santo Marron. The beer seems to move quick here as it looks like all patrons were very beer knowledgable along with the bartender.
I would call this a must stop for any BA on a trip to San Francisco as they seem to offer some unique beers from the typical bars in the area.
10-10-2011 12:17:20 | More by Gavage
3.99/5 rDev -0.7%
This was my 2nd attempt (a few years in between) and stopping by the Church Key while in the charming North Beach region of SF. This time the place was actually open and in existence (not sure what happened that previous night...)
Cool place - small, split level bar that is high on cozyness no matter where you are. Tap selection was small - maybe only 8 or so beers, though it looked like the number was usually a little higher (empty spots on the board). Still, there were good choices to be had and my ruination hit the spot.
Pretty cool neighborhood spot - not one to got out of the way for, but if dining down in North Beach and in need of a pint (and dont feel like going to la trappe or rogue), here is another good option.
07-09-2013 00:33:56 | More by dirtylou
4/5 rDev -0.5%
Visited 4/24/2011, on a Sunday night.
This is a small unassuming place marked only by a key hanging above the door, or at least thats all I noticed while walking up the sidewalk. Inside is a bar, a handful of tables, and a stair case leading to the loft where there are more tables. Didnt go upstairs, just ordered a sausage and a bottle of Hanssens Gueuze (wasnt excited about the $22 price tag on a 375ml bottle though) and sat in front of the window next to the entrance.
There was some music playing that I didnt pay much attention to. Over all the place was pretty dark but aside from reading the beer menu it wasnt an issue. My food came on a wooden board complete with a small loaf of bread and some sauerkraut.
I only saw one employee in the whole place and she was working behind the bar. She was really nice and helpful. She accidentally charged too little for our food and drinks but when I corrected her she still gave me a break.
Had a small glass of the Uinta Kolsch along with my bottle of Hanssens. Nice place, would stop in again if in the immediate area but in the end it's not a huge beer destination.
04-28-2011 18:34:55 | More by t0rin0
4.3/5 rDev +7%
A great small place in North Beach not far from the Rogue Ales taproom. Very knowledgeable bartender, friendly, full of information, happy to provide samples. Poured both of us samples of Ovila from bottle opened to try. Number of taps varies from 7-10 but there are lots or interesting bottles which many people were trying. Taps included Green Flash IPA, Nogne, Stone 15th, Firestone Double Barrel, Alaska Summer, a German Hefe, and Ephemere Cassis.
Interesting changing music selection from the Mac laptop. Friendly folks. One lady brought in a couple of Surly Furious cans as a gift to the bartender. Not crowded early on a Saturday evening, jammed on Friday.
Makes a good stop if you're hiking up to Coit Tower. Easy to get here from downtown or Fisherman's Wharf on frequent 30 trolley coach line or the big 6X bus, or the 41 and 45, all running every few minutes.
09-04-2011 05:40:12 | More by mactrail
4.64/5 rDev +15.4%
Coming here I felt like I had discovered a Hobbit-hole of beer geekery. The vibe of the place—from the nondescript symbol of a sign, to the ‘regulars’ vibe, to the barkeeper himself—felt more like I had stumbled into a man cave of craft beer. A real hole in the wall, they still managed to have 10 tap handles pouring and all sorts of proper glassware. The bottle list runs for pages and pages and makes for great reading. Prices are about what I’d expect for the beers. If this place was easier for me to visit I’d make it regular haunt. Hope I can drop in again sometime.
08-27-2012 19:44:04 | More by elNopalero
3.71/5 rDev -7.7%
Church Key is a new beer bar/lounge located in North Beach. For those going, parking around the area is extremely tough. If you are going out later than 6, take public transportation or be prepared to spend $20 to park. They serve only beer and wine and don't do food, but the table next to me had brought in pizza.
It is a fairly tiny space. There are two levels, but I only stayed on the ground floor where the bar is located. There is not a ton of seating room. They have a booth, a few hightops, and some seats at the bar.
They have a few taps that they continually rotate. When you come in they give you a clipboard with their draught offerings as well as their bottle offerings. When I went they had Curieux, Maharaja, Buffalo Belgian Stout, Duchesse, and a few others that I don't recall. The bottle list seemed fairly large, but I did not even take a look at it.
My biggest gripe was that it was a little too loungy for me. Think lots of Eurotrash and crummy Radiohead knockoff bands playing on the stereo.
The prices were in line with what most Belgian beer bars seem to charge (not very cheap). Draught offerings went from $7-$10. I think my Maharaja was $8. The bartender was friendly and quick at getting my beer.
This is by no means a bad place. If you are waiting to eat at Tony's pizza down the street it is a great place to go and have a drink. I prefer La Trappe and Rogue because of their atmospheres.
08-01-2009 19:18:29 | More by mjl21
3.7/5 rDev -8%
This place is decent. Pretty nice ambiance and a fairly good beer selection, albeit extremely predictable. They've got some Allagash (White/Curieux), Dogfish Head (90 Min/Midas Touch/Palo Santo Marron), Delirium Tremens, some De Ranke, Nogne, Duchesse de Bourgog....(yawn)...zzz. Ok, maybe I've become too much of a beer snob for my own good. But really, nearby La Trappe dominates this place, and that's not even considering La Trappe's awesome moules frites. Church Key prices are also pretty high, although not unexpected for a high-end North Beach beer bar.
One interesting feature on the menu is the $2 "mystery beer."
It's something crappy, almost definitely some variety of bland American macro adjunct lager. If you're lucky, it'll be PBR. If you're unlucky, well, let's just say I hope you have lots of Advil and easy toilet access the next day.
Still though, it's another place to get a good beer in the city, and is worth it if you just want to mix it up a bit.
06-24-2009 22:17:16 | More by nickd717
Church Key in San Francisco, CA
90 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.