Magnolia Pub & Brewery

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BEER AVG
3.72/5
Based on:
51 Beers
670 Ratings
Place Score: 90
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 129
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: n/a
Taps: 10
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

1398 Haight Street
San Francisco, California, 94117
United States
phone: (415) 864-PINT

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 186 | Reviews: 129
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75

To me, Magnolia is the quintessential example of New American cuisine. I can't think of another brewpub I have been to where I was as interested in the food as much as their beer. Frankly, I probably think of the food here before I think of their beer. And their beer is quite good as it is, keep in mind. Love the bathroom setup as well. This is a must if you are in San Francisco.

Photo of MightyCow9
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Very nice experience in a unique part of a unique city. We sat at the bar and were happy to discuss the beers and even the origin of beer names. Amazing service and the bartender was prompt and knowledgeable. Although we only ate a small sample of snacks and sides, they were great. The cheese was very good and the beers were all excellent. The foods that passed by us from the kitchen made me wish we had not eaten lunch. Burgers looked like magic on a bun, often with gigantic slabs of bacon hanging over the edges of the beef. It was a thing of beauty.

I particularly enjoyed the Oyster Stout. A very neat style of beer and I would say this was the cleanest and most balanced attempt I have ever tasted. The other beers were great and everything was served in the appropriate hardware.

The place is small and was PACKED, but service never suffered and the entire crew working the bar was very happy and made the experience elevate even higher.

The only regret I have is that we did not stay even longer.

Photo of excalibur
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

A very nice pub and brewery. Visited in the late afternoon and was busy but not crowded. You can see part of the brewery through a grate in the floor. The bartender was friendly, helpful and efficient. The beers we tried, Proving Ground IPA 7% and Out With The Old Ale 8.5% were above average and brewed by Magnolia. The pricing was reasonable at around $5 a pint. Comfortable environment with booths and lots of wood. Highly recommended for a relaxing beer in the hip area of Haight. We will revisit the next time we are in town. Also picked up a beautiful card to evaluate our beers.

Photo of Offa
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This is a wonderful brewpub, which gets extra points for being, to my knowledge, the only place in the region brewing a strong array of real British-style ales that have a true British character and, even better, real English cask ale.

The brewpub itself is in a neat old building near the heart of Haight-Ashbury, with big windows, lots of old tile, etc. It has some peeling paint which in a way adds to the old, time-worn charm, a good bar, tall wood booths, etc. However, it is a bit stuffy in warm weather and gets bit loud even without any music playing. The location is another plus, an interesting-characterful area with old Victorians, etc., and, unusually for San Francisco, this neighbourhood actually has a lot of trees lining the streets.

Beer that I have had is excellent and gets extra points for including an unusually strong selection of British-style beers, on tap and cask, that wonderfully capture the mellow, easy-drinking, but complex, rich character of good British beer in a way that is almost unheard of here. I really am very, very impressed with how well they captured the wonderfully complex but restrain, subtle character of English ale, but that is in part because I really have seen it done nearly so well anywhere else in California or the west coast.

Service we have experienced is good.

Selection of beers is great, with English bitter, ESB-type, old ale, etc., plus some more American-style beers, a few beers in the German/Czech tradition, etc., and they offer a few guest beers, as well.

Food is excellent. Fried chicken, chicken sandwich, fries, bangers and mash, etc., are all great. The fried chicken is particularly nice and a bit unique.

Value is very good.

Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Showed up medium to well done on the heels of ‘let’s go fuck with Brian Strumke at the City Beer event’, and then revisited today. Just as well, as there was too much going on last night to scribble scrabble; We arrived for dinner too late, the place was too packed, I was too hungry to deal, and too little time had passed since that ‘plint’ at that sportslike bar next to my ‘otel (A ‘plint’ is a ‘pint of Pliny’. I made that word up, and you may only use it about town if you properly footnote me). Okay, 45 minutes for a table, and then while waiting to get a beer at the bar, our table came in so we sat and ordered from there. And then today, while Ben worked, Bethy & I laughingly (Ha Ha!) took the mulligan and returned to drink beer...

What scenes Haight & Masonic have seen, I can only imagine. Large windows with smaller horizontal windows tracing them atop over both streets and sprawling awnings on outdoor seating wrapping around the sides with drop mounted lighting. Entranceway in the corner between, with a stained glass address piece sitting above the door. Used to be a pharmacy, they say, and now it’s a brewpub; all Grateful Deaded down from its former show. Well worn, and kind of tired with its stained ceilings cracked and faded yellow wall uppers two sides around, but has its charm just the same.

To the rear of the room, a wide wood straight bar with a slat wood base and piping foot rail, seating 8 on stools. It would reasonably seat more, but the bar is broken up by a center pillar along the way. 15 taps on a blackboard panel on the barback wall, with nondescript handles and chalk drawings above. Four shelves of glassware next to the panels over mirrored backing and subway tilings below a kitchen peekaboo on the end. More barback unit space to the side (barside?), with a center mirror and shelved books, old apothecary bottles, and a growler. A mounted ‘Festival of firkins’ board above describes the goings on, which may explain the 5 handpumps on the bar and 2 more on the end. Great Caesar’s ghost!

Slight bar counter for 4 sits adjacent to the bar, we were fortunate enough to take over. A single long table along the side street windows, with seating for a dozen on raised stools, alongside a center divider with 2 black leather booths on each side. A horizontal board listing tap selections (draught & cask), and strong beer month entries sits above in between pillars, and slides down for easy updating access. A dozen+ square and round 2 seat tables run up front along the windows and around the bend along the far wall on boothed backings below splotched glass panels with corner lamp lighting in a wood unit piece matching the bar. Bathroom tile floorings, filament bulbs along the perimeter over the windows, and drop spinning top glass lamps in 2 rows from above.

Okay, so 15 taps, currently occupied by 12 beers, a root beer, a wine (Sutton Cellars), and a hard cider (Two Rivers Pomegranate). The beer breakdown was 4 house regulars that we sampled (Kalifornia Kolsch, 4.7%, a lovey, lovely Kolsch; Big Cypress Brown, 3.7%, an English style Brown, it was, um, adequate; Dark Star Mild, 3.6%, beautiful, dark, grainy malt goodness; Proving ground IPA, 7%, very nicely balanced, wonderful), another 2 that we didn’t (Oysterhead Stout, Prescription Pale Ale), 5 house Strong Beer Month entries (Pride of Branthill, Tweezer Trippel, Oakstack Lightning Imperial Stout, Promised Land Imperial IPA, Old Thunderpussy Barleywine) ranging from 8.5% to 10.25%, and the San Francisco Brewer’s Guild collaboration Strong Ale (which I had at Thirsty Bear earlier). Plus 2 house firkins (Billy Sunday’s Best Bitter, 5%, which was Thursday’s bust butter; and Gold Top, 4.8%, a Belgian Golden, excellent), and 5 guest firkins for the event (Birrificio Le Baladin Al-Iksir, Birra Del Borgo Re Ale, RCH Brewery Old Slug Porter, Harviestoun Schiehallion and Bitter & Twisted). The Kalifornia Kolsch, Dark Star Mild, Proving ground IPA, and the cask Gold Top were the best of ‘em.

The food menu is paper pasted on backings displaying old set list. Hey! I was at this show (Giant Stadium 6/17/91), and this one, too (Richfield Coliseum 9/4/91). I started with 2 meats (Salametto Piccante & Soppressata) and then the Magnolia pub burger (dry aged organic beef, cheddar, and thick slab mapley bacon). I had help with the fries. They split the beet salad (phenom!), and then Ben had the Louisiana Andouille with cheese grits, and Bethy, the pork chop with duck fat, cannellini beans, caramelized onions, and kale. Food was of the awesome variety.

Pleasant servers, comfortable house, some very nice beerings, and excellent food. Good tunes; lots of Dead (surprise, surprise), Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Petty. Not to talk potty but they do have a cool basin sink back there for the washing of one’s mitts. And dig on that great wafting wort steam from the basement brewery below.

Photo of LeeMarvin
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

The bartender at City Beer told me this place was a mandatory stop while in The City. On the corner of Haight and Masonic, Magnolia is a beautiful, 19th century space whose owners have worked to retain its period feel. The owners and brewers are real Deadhead/Phisheads, and have named many of their beers after both Dead and Phish songs. Their food and drink are some of the best you’ll get in the city at a very reasonable price point.

I arrived on a Thursday afternoon later than I’d wanted to and found myself at a table with a great view of the colorful world that is the Upper Haight. I eased into my experience with a Proving Ground IPA and an order of the braised rib entrée, both excellent. Outstanding music played over the speakers, from Phish to (old) Aerosmith to acoustic Jerry.

About halfway through my meal, things started to pick up noticeably in the place. I quickly ordered another beer, this time going for the Oakstack Lightning Imperial Stout on cask, which ended up being one of the best beers I tried during my visit. Halfway through I was so overjoyed with my experience that when the brewer walked by I couldn’t help but stop him and commend his efforts. Despite a further influx of people and noise, I finished off with the cask version of the Proving Ground IPA and called it a night. I won't miss this place next time I'm in town.

Photo of Torontoblue
4.03/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited 4th Feb 2012.

Arrived for brunch around 11am, and got there just in time before a mad rush of patrons arriving 30 minutes later. Got seated straight away and ordered a pint of the Dark Star Mild (Cask). Cask was a little old, probably on it’s last day of being served. Nice to have a proper 20oz pint glass though! Had the sublime Crab Cake Benedict for brunch and followed up with a half of the Proving Ground IPA (Cask). This one was definitely old and was not very pleasant. So, away from the casks it was. Ordered the great value sample tray and was tempted to have the Strong Beer Month tray for an extra $1.00, but was far too early to be having 11%+ beers ;-)

The place got crazy busy around 12.30 and people were lining up to get in.

Great cafe/bar feeling place. Friendly staff and good beers. A definite place to visit when in San Fran...and it’s in the marvellous Haight-Ashbury area!

Photo of elNopalero
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Smack-dab in the middle of the Haight, and just a few blocks away from the famed intersection of Haight-Ashbury, Magnolia went from being ‘that place where I went once and had an ok time’ to becoming one of my favorite places to treat myself when I’m visiting SF.

So, a little backstory:
My first time at Magnolia was on a Tuesday, and I found the crowds—attracted, probably, as much as I was by their half-price pint special—to be overwhelming. Long wait for a table, friendly but overworked servers, and the din made it impossible to have a conversation. (Geeze, I must sound like a cranky old man!) Plus, I felt the only vegetarian option at the time was overpriced—and forgettable. By this point I have no recollection of the beers I tried that day but I wasn’t impressed enough to return.

I’m not sure why I gave Magnolia another chance but I’m glad I did. It had been over a year between my visits. This time I went in the afternoon, skipped ordering food, and asked for some samples before committing to pints. What else changed? Well, my palate expanded as I had developed a taste and appreciation for many, many different styles of beers—including, I’m sure, a few that I tasted on my first visit. I’ve been back many times since then. I even had a farewell party there—and a welcome back gathering, when I returned (briefly). I’ll still go on Tuesdays for their specials, but now I know what to expect.

Magnolia keeps a number of beers on tap and hand-pump.
One thing I enjoy doing is trying a pint from each to compare the differences—how cask conditioning brings out the malt, or the way the hops come across. They make some terrific British-style ales, and one of these days I’ll finally remember the specific, technical differences between Mild, Best Bitter, Extra Special Bitter and whatnot. You can’t go wrong with their IPAs, and if you’re lucky they’ll have a gruit or one of their strong beers available, too.

The servers have always been friendly, and in my experience I’ve enjoyed being around a warm, friendly crowd. There’s a number of tourists who pass by as well as regulars and folks in the food and service industry, and the window facing Masonic is just about perfect for people watching. Definitely worth a visit. I’m looking forward to my next one.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in here while on vacation.

Certainly unique venue for a brew pub. We were there on a Tuesday afternoon so the place was dead. Not complaining. We sat at the bar and ordered a few pints. Service was friendly. I inquired about the special malt they use in the English bitter and the bartender gave a great explanation on how and why it's used. The beer list although not long was eclectic and tasty. We didn't order food but the guy next to me was crushing a burger that looked awesome.

Glad we stopped in.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3

Cool atmosphere, I'm sure its been said a million times, Grateful Dead, pharmacy etc. . . overall, you're in one of the cooler corner spots on Haight Street, and while I usually never hesitate to bag on San Francisco, I really think the city has done a great job cleaning this area up, its actually not as miserable of a place as it used to be! Sure, there's still some bums, but they're the nice ones! Although it can be a little touristy, I think the place right next door or a block away, I don't remember, but anyways, they wanted like $35 for a tshirt! Hah!

Anyways, I've always thought the quality of Magnolia's brews and food was pretty good. They also seem pretty good at making styles I might not be into, their old super ipa stuff they used to bring to the Bisto in Hayward was pretty good, faded a little bit recently, but their gruit, barleywine, cask porter are all worth a try.

So I said food quality was pretty good, but yet, the score is only average. . . what gives you say? Well, let's talk about that fried chicken sandwich. Very good tasting. But you know what? It had about 3oz of meat on it, total, and that might be a very generous tally. I hate eating at places and then still being hungry afterwards, even when I'm drinking beer too.

Portions of the vegetarian stuff seemed to be larger, who knows, could have been a vegan cook or something that he makes the highest minimum wage in the country.

Waitress made about 3 mistakes, but was trying hard, so it all evened out.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

How am I remiss in reviewing the Magnolia? I walked all the way from the BART train at the embarcadero just to visit.

It's a comfortable place that's just big enough. When I arrived it was pretty full, but I was able to find a place at the bar.

The bar is nice with a plank bar-top and lots of dark wood. There's a window that looks into the kitchen surrounded by subway tile, and schoolhouse lampshades hanging from the ceiling. The walls are yellowed, seemingly untouched for quite some time, and the ceiling is in even worse shape, giving it a really nice "old time" feel. To the right, here's a black leather banquet against the wall with old mirrors above it and some retro lights - very cool. It looks like they bought the place "as is" and just left it as the wonderfully charming time capsule that it is (except that all of the tables, chairs and stool seem brand new).

On to the beer, I had three and all were good. I couldn't pass by the Sara's Ruby Mild thinking that it must be based on the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild from Sedgley, England. Spud Boy's IPA sounded good as well, and I couldn't resist the Branthill ESB as the gentleman seated next to me was expounding its virtues to the rest of his group. It's not often that I find a brewpub that can impress me with every beer that I taste, but Magnolia has done it!

It was lunchtime but I didn't have anything (although it all looked good) because I was heading over to Pi for a slice.

Overall, it's my favorite place in San Francisco, even if it is right down the street from Toronado.

Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It should go without saying (as with most trendy hotspots) to avoid going at peak hours if you don't want to be disappointed.

Corner spot in the Haight, the space had some funky vintage touches to it, like old tile flooring, tiled walls behind the bar, and an old vintage washbasin for the restrooms (and actual towels). Chalkboards detailed the house selections, which included 12 drafts and 4 casks, which was impressive. Two wet hop harvest ales, one dry hopped with Citra, the other with Simcoe. Weekapaug Gruit, a couple bitters, milds, pair of IPA's, ESB, Kolsch, Stout, Pale on draft and cask.

Visited twice in the same day, first for drinks at the bar and later for a bite to eat after shopping and hitting Alembic. Service was great both times, the bartender even did some juggling of plates. Our server was very knowledgeable about the beers, and suggested a tasting order for the beer flight.

Quality and attention to detail here is top notch... from the custom built beer flight boxes, branded glassware, imperial pints, psychedelic art coasters, and the sharp menus (check out the back of the paper, it's a clever blotter art design). Didn't really know what to expect after all the crappy reviews, but Magnolia was a surprise hit of our visit to SF.

Photo of searsclone
1.73/5  rDev -57.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 2

I was really looking forward to trying Magnolia since it has such a high grade on BA. Unfortunately, we didn't have such a great experience. We went on a late afternoon on a Sunday. The place was about half full. We were greeted promptly by a hostess who told us that we could only have a table if we were eating. We decided that we would grab some food and try one or all of the beers. Our hostess gave us a table, then brought us 2 glasses of water and a bottle of water for the table. We looked at the menu and figured out what we wanted, then we waited. And waited. After we drank all of the water that was on the table, and watched the table beside sit, then have the waitress tell them they couldn't have a table without food, then having another group sit at that table, we decided that we waited long enough, and walked out without having a chance to try anything except the water. After talking to a couple of locals, they all seem to agree that this type of service is not uncommon.

Photo of Northsider
4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

What a great oasis for this neighborhood. This establishment really doesn't fit the atmosphere of Haight with the bums, hemp, and super trendy boutique stores. Ok, well, nothing really sits well in this neighborhood, but I'm glad this place was here.

The place was a bit small and intimate, but I went early enough (4pm) on a Monday that it wasn't too crowded. Staff was very helpful for suggesting beers and food.

I had the beer brat and it was delicious. Typical gastropub food here is all you can expect. Selection of beer wasn't huge, but decent enough to have some good choices.

Photo of stupac2
3.95/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped by here while putzing around SF yesterday. Was able to get seated within 15 minutes, and the place is interestingly decorated (the menus seem to be old Brewer's notepads), and has a generally good vibe. The beer selection is pretty standard, I ordered the IPA on cask and was impressed at how creamy it was, but I don't think that's a good thing with an IPA. No one else in my group was particularly impressed with the beers, they seemed pretty average.

Regardless, the food was excellent. Everything was delicious. I'd think of Magnolia as a restaurant first and a brewery second, you definitely won't be disappointed then.

Photo of ElectricBoogaloo
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Stopped here for a late night meal and a couple of brews. This place is loud, so don't come here if you a looking for a nice quiet meal.
The beer was good- I had a couple saisons and cask pale ales-quite tasty. The focus on the english side of beer was a refreshing stop from the hopped-up extreme beer west coast scene.
I enjoyed the food, but it was definitely overpriced for my slim college budget. The burger and fries were average, i was expecting more for $14.
Our server had a cursory knowledge of their beers and wasn't able to answer any questions I had, which I find odd for a place that makes it's own beer. He also took his sweet time serving us, we often had to wave him down to talk to him.

Poor service was made up for by good beer. If you are ever in the hashbury neighborhood, stop on by

Photo of armock
2.2/5  rDev -45.4%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 2

Atmosphere - This place is a loud tiny box seriously they pack everyone into a maybe 20x20ft room. The bar are has a nice woody look to it and thats about the only nice thing going on. I was there at 3pm on a Sunday for a late lunch but the place is so small and packed it wasn't very enjoyable with random peoples asses sliding along the edge of my table from them trying to move around the place.

Quality/Selection - They had a good number of house beers on tap and another three on cask. I was only able to drink two of their beers on cask one was pretty good the other was pretty boring.

Service - I'll give some props to the bartender who got me a beer after fighting through the crowd to be seen by him. My waitress and the food runners on the other hand are a bunch of rocks. While waiting for my table I saw the food runners bring the wrong order to tables and wander around guessing until they got it right. After the wife and I ordered our meal one of the food runners drop off an appetizer at my table then runs off before I even had a chance to tell her we didn't order it. My waitress didn't use a notepad to take orders and ended up messing up my order twice. I ordered the grillied chicken panini with a salad. When the food comes out my wife gets her food but no condiments for it and I get chicken sausage. So we have to wait forever for the waitress to come by and retell her what I ordered and also order another beer. After another long wait I'm brought a the grilled chicken panini with fries and then I have to remind her about my beer order wtf.

Food - After finally getting food it really wasn't worth the price. Since my meal was still messed up all I ate was the sandwich since I didn't want fries. My wife had their burger and didn't finish it because it just wasn't all that good.

Overall when I go back to San Francisco for a weekend again this place isn't going to be on my list of places to visit. Too crowded and loud with horrible service.

Photo of hophopandaway
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I came here to try some US cask ale and I have to say that I wasn't particularly impressed. I first tried the mild (3.9%) and it was absolutely appalling. The head was non existant, but I forgave that because there is a school of thought that says cask ales should be seved without head. The next was a 6% IPA that was decent but just not well rounded and lacked the quality I expect from a cask beer, but it was an enjoyable drink. My final cask beer was the 7% IPA and this was okay, but it wasn't packing the kind of punch I expeect from such a strong brew. After this I went to the draught Cole Porter- great name, awful beer. Like so many american porters it was completely devoid of body and the only flavour was coffee. Having said all this I was very happy to be drinking cask, even though they wouldn't really cut the mustard back in britain.
On to the positives, the atmosphere in here was electric: the place was packed and the decor was really good. There were oysters on and they were both delicious and well priced. For my main course I had the fish and chips and they were excellent. The service was good and the waitress was easy on the eye.
I had a superb night here and I will certainly be going back. Better to go early though because there is very little space just for drinkers.

Photo of bradybeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Third stop of SF brewpub tour. Located on Haight in the middle of the Haight Asbury neighborhood. Walking in you get hit smacked in the face with pub warmness of the wood and booths and the bar.

When we were their that had about 20 beers on tap. We tried two 6 beer samplers-which included three IPAs, three bitters, a porter, a brown, two pale ales and a gruit. Enjoyed all the beers, even the gruit, but were blow away by the Proving Grounds IPA. We were impressed by the ability of the brewer to play within the parameters of Pale Ales, IPAs, and Bitters-this ability shows how there can be distinct beers within a style. More breweries should do this.

$20 dollars for 12 samples-noce. Service was excellent. A must stop in the city.

Photo of womencantsail
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This is a bit of a strange spot, but what isn't on Haight? The place is pretty small with about as many tables and seats as they could possibly cram into it.

The tables and booths were all full and we weren't particularly hungry so we managed to find some seats at the small bar just across from the "real bar".

The woman behind the bar was helpful and prompt with her service and was nice as well. Can't really ask for much more than that.

I will say the prices are a bit high here, especially since a lot of the beers aren't all that good, but I guess for the City, it's not too terrible.

They've got a LOT of beers on-tap which is a cool thing. They had 6 or so "regular" beers as well as just about as many special Belgian style beers for this particular round of seasonals. Also have a few beers on cask.

A cool enough spot, especially if you're tired of being abused down the street a bit at Toronado, but not necessarily a destination.

Photo of FrankLloydMike
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This was the place I was most excited to visit in San Francisco on a trip to the West Coast this past spring, and it is was the first place I went after a hellish day in airports. What a long, strange trip, indeed. But, o! how the cask bitter soothed my ills, and how lovely it was complimented by a duck apricot sausage.

Maybe it was the long trip, the fact that it was a chilly Tuesday night and the streets were empty, or the long quiet walk up a hill under trees to this beautiful spot, but this place was magical. The space is small, cozy, warmly but dimly lit, and feels old and lived in though it may or may not be. Entering through the corner door, there is a long, high communal table--something I really like to see in bars--and a few booths to the left, and more booths and tables to the right. The bar is in the back, where a solid lineup of excellent beers brewed in the basement are dispensed. There were a handful of casks, which I especially enjoyed, as well as a couple great pale ale and IPAs, and nice kolsch for something lighter.

Overall, San Francisco was my least favorite stop on our West Coast tour that brought us to Portland and Seattle afterward, but I'd go back just for Magnolia.

Photo of tdawgydog
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Great little resto brewprub with an eclectic setting. We came for the beer, a lot of ales on the menu but the cask beers were a welcome addition. I had the Proving Ground IPA on draught and from the cask. The draught was a little better but if Cask ales are your thing you won't be disappointed with that either.

As for the food all three in our dining party went with the burger and really enjoyed it. The fries are cooked Belgian style and were really tasty. Maybe my only complaint about the food is that I asked for my Burger Well done and it was charred on the ouside. Live and learn... Anyway this is a great little brew pub, would def come here again.

Photo of LittleDon
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Summary: Excellent food, above average beer quality and selection, in a historic SF location.
Went there on a Monday night about 6 or 6:30. The place was full. Didn't have to wait for a four top, but would have if I got there any later. The interior is what I'd expect from modern Haight/Ashbury, lots of dark wood, big glass front windows, tile floors, but on the spartan side. Think early 20th century cafe that was left in disrepair then fixed up, like many of the places in the area.
The menu is fairly extensive, a lot to pick from. I was happy sticking with the appetizers and second course choices. Service was decent, but not great. Would have like it if the waitperson knew a bit more about what was brewed. Four beers on cask plus another six to eight. No guest taps. The food was the highlight. Not all dishes were a hit, the sweetbreads were boring and didn't need to be breaded and fried, but were well prepared and inventive in general.
What would bring me back. I was able to have a good sampling of both beer and food. With so many other places in SF, it's hard to want to come back to the same place twice. If there was substantial rotation of food and beer, perhaps Magnolia would be worth a second visit. The beer was good, but not good enough to bring me back again. That said, the place is worth a visit if you've never been.

Photo of WOTO97
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2

Not at all impressed with this spot. I was definitely looking forward to coming here but was let down for sure. The atmosphere and service were very solid. Patrons all enjoying themselves and the ambiance allows for a very social experience. The wait staff was prompt and eager to help and provide. The beers were very mediocre--had a bitter and IPA, both on cask. Definitely had a bunch of brews, and I will likely come back to give their beer another shot. The food, however, was not good at all. Came in with my gf for their lunch offerings. She ordered the fish sandwich and I had the grilled pork sandwich. Both were far too dry. Enjoyed the bread for each, but the proteins on each were well overcooked and neither had much going on. Fries were admittedly solid. But the lack of quality really made me question how much the ownership really cares about their food. Moreover, I have no idea how Magnolia's can serve these sub-par sandwiches at $13 each during the lunch hour! May return for beers; definitely will not try the food again.

Photo of portia99
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Been here on a couple of occasions...once for brunch and once for lunch.

A - Very relaxed atomosphere...fairly small in size with a mixture of booths, private 2-4 person tables and some shared "community" seating as well as space at the bar. Booths have high sides and backs so you feel somewhat secluded from others around you. Can be on the loud side when busy. Interesting bathroom sink location...outside of the bathrooms - can be confusing a bit at first especially since the sinks are old style trough-like industrial/restaurant kitchen style - makes you wonder if these are the sinks for the kitchen staff. If you are here during a brewing session, the smells here can be heavenly...

Q - Always been happy with the quality of the food and beer I've had here. Lots of locally grown and sourced foods. Smallish menu filled with many out of the ordinary dishes. Something for everyone.

S - Usually pretty good, but can be a touch slow when things get busy. Wait staff has been knowledgable about the food and beer menus and can generally answer any questions. Overall no complaints - and probably better than most smaller establishments.

S - Had about 10-12 beers on tap my last time there with 3 or 4 cask offerings and a couple of guest taps. Specialize in English style beers so had several varieties of bitter, ipa, brown ales and also a Belgian wit and a wheat beer. I tried the IPA and a bitter (both on cask) and found them quite enjoyable.

F - Large selection of unique and sometimes unusual foods with many sourced locally - excellent charcuterie selections and cheeses, house made sausages, excellent salads and sandwiches from the lunch menu. Some really great stuff on this menu - difficult to choose which to try on a single visit.

V - A bit pricey. For 2 people, we had 4 beers, a couple cheese plates (3-4 varieties) and a salad, which came out to ~$60 with tip. A bit much for lunch, but I do have to say that everything was excellent.

Magnolia Pub & Brewery in San Francisco, CA
90 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.