Magnolia Pub & Brewery
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Ratings: 159 | Reviews: 126 | Display Reviews Only:
4.78/5 rDev +18.3%
I've been to Magnolia 8 times now, which is almost the number of days I've spent on business trips in San Francisco. When I fly into SF from NYC, the first thing I do is check into my hotel. The second thing I do is jump in a cab (or on a bus) to Magnolia for fresh, delicious eats (late night, too), and a couple of pints of cask-conditioned Bluebell Bitter.
Oh, there are other beers on, too. And they're all really good. They usually have around eight or 10 house beers at any given time, usually including two or three casks. If you must make me choose, the aforementioned bitter, the Kolsch, the Proving Ground IPA, and Old Thunderpussy barleywine are my absolute favorites. The Smokestack lightning imperial stout that I had at the recent Strong Beer Month kick off was also killer.
The food is also excellent -- lots of local, organic, fresh ingredients -- Nieman ranch meats, etc. A very contemporary California cuisine menu, some of the best and most eclectic food you'll find at a straight-up brew pub. Ingredients can change with the season. The plain old burger is fab, too, though.
You would expect the atmosphere to be 100% Haight (which would be a bad thing), but it's not, really. Yeah, they got the Grateful Dead-themed walls, and they do play alot of Dead (though fairly low, in the background). I see alot of USF students, as well as students from other universities. I see alot of ageing hippies. I see alot of young professionals. I see alot of everybody. I like that. One big melting pot. Oh, and just try to sit here alone for more than 10 minutes without striking up a conversation with someone.
Lastly, the service is really, really good, at least to the single business traveler. I always get greeted with a smile, friendly conversation, prompt service, and an occaisonal buy-back.
They fill growlers, and sell all kinds of Haight-y schwag, tho the little Kolsch glasses are really cool and must-haves, in my opinion.
I usually go here for dinner and a few brews, then stagger on down to Toronado to finish myself off. Almost impossible. There isn't a better one-two beer punch in the US that I've come across.
Oh Magnolia -- my favorite brewpub in the US so far. Granted, I haven't been to THAT many brewpubs, but this place just stole my heart (or, perhaps because it's in San Francisco, I just left it there)
02-24-2006 20:11:46 | More by bultrey
4.75/5 rDev +17.6%
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.
03-05-2012 20:02:37 | More by LeeMarvin
4.6/5 rDev +13.9%
Easy to find little pub by way of public transport system. Place was quite crowded and packed full on a Saturday afternoon, but able to get a table for two quickly.
Huge selection of brews including 5 beer engines and 12 standard taps. If you are one for cask beers this is the place to go. All the offerings were consistantly fantastic with perfect temperature and carbonation. No off flavors from long-standing casks despite the large selection.
Nice ability to compare cask and pushed beers. Eccentric mix of traditional English, American and Belgian style brews available. I would definitely make this a stop on any tour of san fran.
Large, diverse offering of food also nicely done and tasty.
03-30-2006 12:35:58 | More by beernut7
4.6/5 rDev +13.9%
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.
10-20-2012 00:55:17 | More by Offa
4.59/5 rDev +13.6%
Magnolia Pub and Brewery was recommended to me by some friends so I thought it'd be pretty good. I feel that I was right and a little bit more. I was truly impressed by this place for several reason:
The aesthetic was perfect. I thought everything was just different enough from every other brewery. There was an authentic feel about the place which paired with the beer rather well. I liked all the beers because of their quality and unique flavor.
The service was impressive especially considering the busy Saturday that I was there.
The food was incredible. I was able to grab the tail end of brunch and I highly recommend that.
08-28-2013 16:06:52 | More by GraduatedCashew
4.58/5 rDev +13.4%
This was a unique establishment in a unique atmosphere and location. Very Cali in nature and a trippy walk just getting there. This is a textbook Gastropub in terms of the food and beer offered: first that I can recall being one that also brewed their own.
The atmosphere was 'different' indeed. It was a scene outside and the place itself was mad laid back. About 12 tables and a sleek little bar that looked right into the kitchen. The biggest negative for the whole experience was that the beer list was only on the chalkboard so I had to get up each time to look at it and hesitated because for the people eating under it, they probably didn't want my dopey mug standing over and looking over them repeatedly.
The quality of the beer was pretty good, did not have each but the quality of the food was also good. The best beer was the spud IPA and they offered casked versions of each as well. The food was a bit greasy but well rounded. Very well rounded. Partially my fault in what I ordered (greasy potatoes/vegs) but the salad with blue cheese was tremendous as was the spicy sausage. Not for the faint of heart, this one was spicy.
I started my selection with a tasting sampler which was a great deal and let me experiment the styles that they had to offer. They did a good job of matching the glasswear and the food offered choices among choices and all were professionally and chowhoundedly done. Good stuff.
It is worth the trip there for the cask options alone as well as solely for the mustard. Might be the best ground homemade mustard Ive ever had. Id put it on a doorknob and eat it, kudos to the cook that puts that one together.
Worth a visit, get your butt out there. Bartender/waitress also friendly and attentive. Good crowd too. One other note is that they had Russian River guest beer flowing as well.
12-15-2008 21:11:09 | More by marcpal
4.55/5 rDev +12.6%
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.
09-21-2002 11:21:09 | More by mzwolinski
4.53/5 rDev +12.1%
On a corner of Upper Haight... lots of light enters the establishment. Classic and rugged interior. The tap selection included numerous beers brewed by them including a brown, kolsch, ipa, pale ale, etc. Most were lower alcohol offerings, not that it was a bad thing. They had a decent amount of beers on cask as well. The service was pretty good and the waitress seemed pretty experienced and had a good sense of humor. The food was decent, but extremely pricey. Overall, I throughly enjoyed myself and was impressed by the atmosphere. This would be a good place to visit just for some beers and dinner occasionally. They had a guest draft selection from a diverse selection of surrounding breweries. Also, it was $3 Tuesday so all of their brews were $3 all day. My burger was $14.50. Cheaper beers, expensive food.
06-02-2010 04:36:24 | More by david131
Magnolia Pub & Brewery in San Francisco, CA
90 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.