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Magnolia Pub & Brewery

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Based on:
53 Beers
696 Hads
Place Score: 91
Reviews: 129
Visits: 188
Avg: 4.05
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 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 129 | Visits: 188
Photo of quetzpalin
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

The best brewpub in San Francisco. There may be better individual beers at other places (the US-IPA at 21st Amendment comes to mind), but Magnolia can not be beat for the consistently high quality of the best selection. I am a regular (I live three blocks away), and have been dismayed at only having six beers to choose from, which should give you an idea of the normal selection. For my taste, their real strength is at the extremes; the richly complex stouts and the well balanced doubles and triples.

I go way more than usual whenever they have the Tweezer Triple or the Double IPA. When those aren't available, it is still a treat to have so many options. The Proving Ground IPA has a nice bite, or one of the dark beers to hit the spot when the fog rolls in.

As an added bonus, it's walking distance to Toronado. In fact, if you are coming from out of town, this is one of the stops on the N-Line tour, which is not for the faint of heart; a way to hit 5 beer meccas (and 1 non-mecca brewpub) within a few blocks of the N light rail line. Going from West to East(which can be reversed, of course), The Beach Chalet is a short walk north along the beach from the end of the line. Get back on the N, and get off at 9th Ave & Irving, where you will find Eldo's. Next, get off at Cole, and walk down the hill to Haight (3 blocks), take a right, and enjoy the sights until you hit Magnolia (about 5 blocks), at Haight & Masonic. After enjoying yourself here, continue walking east along Haight until you come to the Toronado (about 5 blocks). Then go east half a block, turn right at Fillmore, and go three blocks to get back on the N, which then goes underground through downtown. When you come back above ground, you will be at the Eastern edge of the city, looking at the Bay Bridge. You can get off at the second stop above ground, where you will find Gordon Beirsch, which I can't stand. Mostly German style beers done poorly for the yuppie office workers. They do have a great patio overlooking the bay, though. Back on the N to the Giant's ballpark. Walk two and a half blocks up second street to 21st Amendment.

I myself have never quite made it. Not enough discipline. You have to be committed to finishing. Otherwise, it is way to easy to get stuck at Magnolia or Toronado, which is not a terrible thing...

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Photo of Fletch
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I was at Magnolia with a few others making the rounds on the same weekend as the Toronado Barleywine Festival earlier this year. 21st Amendment, Thirsty Bear and Magnolia were having a Strong Beer Month: if you had all of the featured high gravity brews at the three pubs, as evidenced by getting a punch card completed, you got a commemorative silkscreened tulip glass.

Unfortunately, Drewbage and I had started at the 21st Amendment and Thirsty Bear before joining up with the others at Magnolia, so I don't recall many details from that first visit, except that I was favorably impressed with their beers. Those were a Tripel, a Barleywine and Imperial Stout, if my foggy grey cells serve. Of course, nobody said we HAD to do 9 of the 13 (?) beers in one night!

Fortunately, we returned a couple of days later for lunch. Our table was located on the street window, so that pretty much took care of entertainment. Also, I found that my chair was on a grate in the floor, and that I could look down and see the cellar, which was (appropriately, it seemed) populated with Golden Gate kegs.

I especially enjoyed the Mild, pumped from the beer engine, a welcome respite from the 9% and up libations from the previoous visit. The food was also quite good.

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Photo of drewbage
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

In the midst of the oddity zone that is the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, there is a zone of nirvana for beer lover's called the Magnolia Pub.

This old Victorian building has had many lifes (depending upon the stories you hear : a VD clinic, a house of ill repute and oh so much more.)

None of that matters now as what the owners and staff at the Magnolia have succeeding in making isa wonderful neighborhood pub in the middle of one the city's craziest places.

Top notch food makes it good to sit and enjoy an amazing assortment of beers, including one of the few regularly produced milds to be found (a mild inspired by the Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild, albiet weaker than the 6.0% oddity from the UK)

The mild is almost always on cask along with 5 or 6 of it's brothers. The other beers including a few guest beers are on tap.

Top notch.. go here. Don't let the freaks freak you or your squarish ways will force you away from a treat.

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Photo of boussh
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

What a fun place to be....The first time to Magnolia I remember being overwhelmed with thier selection. Three cask ales, and something like 10 beers total. This time I was there to drink stong ales, one of which they were out of. The most impresive was the Imperial stout. Lots of coco, burnt espresso, great full mouth feel, and lots of alcohol to warm me up on a horrible rainy day. Thunderpussy Barley wine was very good, but a little heavy on the malty sweetness, with very little hop bitterness to balance it out.
The food menu seemed kind of limited and I was hard pressed to find anything that was calling to me. The flank steak salad was a good accidental pairing with the Imperial Stout.
I had the opportunity to speak with Curtis the Asst Brewer who was very friendly and allowed us to sample a fresh beer still in fermentation. This double IPA was HOPPY, slightly astringent, and slightly malty. A good break from the Barely Wine.
This is a place I will concider going back

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Photo of Clembo1957
4.45/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Haight Ashbury's only brewpub goes the blurb. This place is a gem, great atmosphere, friendly staff, great beer. You can sit by the bar and chat or gaze out the window at the locals and tourists passing by outside.

The Beer selection is served either via tap or English style from the cask via handpumps on the bar. I sampled several pints of cask Blue Belle Bitter (4.7%). The Magnolia always seems busy but the atmosphere is laid back. I've never eaten here but the food looks excellent too.

A popular place particularly on the sunday Lunchtime i visited, it may be quieter at other times of day.

Highly recommended!

Revisited Feb 2005 - still a great bar!

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Photo of jrancan
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

What a great place. Most brewpubs have what, 5 or 6 beers on tap? Magnolia had, on the day I was there, 10 house taps going, 4 house casks, and a handfull of guest beers that I actually didn't even checkout. Let me see...2 different IPAs, a Brown, Bitter, Pale, Stout, Porter, Mild, Wheat, and Alt. The casks were repeats of what they had on tap, but hey, what a great option to have. I can't think of any other bar that I've been to, that has 4 beer engines. Great work on their part. My only minor complaint is that there were no Belgian style ales on at the time. Oh well.
The bar itself with all the taps coming out of the back wall, is quite small, I could see it becoming a problem if more than 10 people were in there at the same time.
The beautiful mural encompassing the entire room is a perfect fit that adds to the whole Haight-Ashbury experience.
One fine establishment that anyone going to SF should check out.

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Photo of Mark
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've always wanted to try this pub due to it's buildings storied past. I grew up in the 60's and this place is located in what was the heart of the Haight Ashbury hippie area. My Dad used to get his racing form in what was then a drugstore, he would often take us along for the ride. The "sights" were shocking. The Magnolia Pub and Brewery has been around about 6 years. The room is smallish and has a cafe like feel to it, until you belly up to the bar. There you see a whole line of taps along the back wall and five handpumps serving up cask conditioned ale! To add to the pleasure, the casks are in the cellar. The beer from said casks is dispensed in to real British Imperial pint glasses. A few were even the extra "bulgy" kind that I had only previously seen in some Young's pubs in London.
Employee's were all young and yes a bit "hip". One guy in particular picked up on my enthusiasm and started talking to me. I told him of my love for the U.K. and cask ale. He bought me a pint of IPA from a cask he just tapped! A wonderful place and one I will for sure go back to. Parking is a problem but we got lucky. Food looked good and wholesome, though a bit on the pricey side. The pours were 4 bucks but I think they have a happy hour from time to time. A total winner! A slight bit disappointed on our second visit. Annoying rap music on the sound system. Food was plentiful and good. I didn't care for the foccacia bread they used for a hamburger bun. Way too thick and not very fresh, Burger itself was great. Still a great pub.

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Photo of barleypop
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The best and only beermaker in the Haight.

Their selection of fresh beer choices is amazing. They typically carry 8-10 of their house beers on draught with up to 4 of those on cask. You can find a selection of cask ales any day of the week. Most microbrewers I have visited only put out 1 cask a week and if you don't come in on Tuesday you miss out. They also occasionally feature a guest micro-brew.

The atmosphere is rather laid back. Sip a pint by the window and watch the characters on Haight Street glide by. You can enjoy the vivid murals that cover the walls or pick up a book from their library. They have a nice selection of beer books and historic pub literature.

If you are in San Francisco I suggest checking it out.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I stopped by this place on a recent trip to San Francisco, and was quite impressed. It's located in the Haight, and fairly near Golden Gate Park, so there's alot of fun shopping, sight-seeing to do fairly nearby.

The Haight atmosphere doesn't stop on the outside, either. Check their website for a hint of the sort of decor you get inside. May not be everyone's thing, but I found it pleasant. The staff was very laid back but knowledgable enough about the beers.

The food was good hearty fare for what will likely be a cold San Francisco day when you visit. I had their magnolia beef chili -- good stuff served with some delicious buttermilk cornbread.

The beer selection is fairly impressive, for such a small place. When I visited, they had eight of their own beers on regular draught, and three of those were also available in cask-conditioned form. They also had two taps devoted to beer brewed by other local micros. All part of that friendly, hippy gestalt I guess. Who's compaining.

Beer was of very good quality. Tried their IPA and their Porter and was impressed with both. All in all, a very nice place to stop for lunch in the city.

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Magnolia Pub & Brewery in San Francisco, CA
91 out of 100 based on 129 ratings.