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Magnolia Pub & Brewery

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Based on:
50 Beers
649 Ratings
Place Score: 90
Ratings: 182
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 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 129
Photo of Hopsman
1/5  rDev -75.2%

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 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 Guden
3/5  rDev -25.6%

Photo of SpongeKA
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Why say its optional, and then make me type something?

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 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 brewandbbq
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Original review 6/11/05

Took a cab to Magnolia's, skirting the Tenderloin district, passing hookers and pot smokers. Our cabbie treated us to a little "Duke's of Hazzard" driving technique. Ya, front 2 wheels off the ground crossing a street going down a hill, yee haw!
Magnolia's had a better than average amount on tap, with a couple on cask.
Bartender was quick at first, then she became immersed in a conversation a few seats down and never came back.
She was friendly and nice though when we saw her.
Tweezer Triple was delicious, albeit off the mark for a Triple, and the Batch 900 rocked. A big ass beer that belongs in my cellar.
Unusual motif in this place, tiles and chrome with a hand painted mural from wall to wall behind the bar. Couldn't determine if there was any meaning to the mural, other than a big Greatful Dead influence.
The food looked great going by, but we didn't eat.
Stayed till 1:45 AM, wishing there was more hours in the day.

Re-review 5/16/2013

Beer selection is heavy on lighter styles and English beers. One IPA on tap and one pale. The rest a mix of session beers. We ate this time and I felt like vomiting after seeing a 4% health-care tax at the bottom of our bill, on top of the regular meals tax. Apparently a $14.00 hamburger (not cooked to order properly) with a small portion of fries is not expensive enough for the owners. Or a $10 wedge salad for that matter. I pay a lot for my own damn health insurance, why should I cover the owners nut (or line his pockets) as well? This place is scamming their customers with an unconstitutional tax. Avoid.

Photo of xhcadamx
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A - Newly renovated this place is pretty nice. Very interesting decorating unlike any other brewpub I had been to before. The bathrooms were awesome. I am assuming they had been remodeled to look the way the looked when the building was built (probably a little bit after 1906).

Q - I was expecting great beers from this place. This was not the case, all the beers that were ordered at my table had a very young quality about them. My IPA was choked with a green apple flavor - couldnt even finish it.

S - Our server was often short with us. Maybe I look like a low tipper?

S - The varieties of beer was nice. I think I saw 3 cask beers. They have some beers that usually don't find at other brewpubs. Hopefully these beers are better than the 3 I had tried.

F - Very tasty! I had the burger and was very impressed. I think everything here is Organic / bought locally.

V - The beers and some food items are overpriced in my opinion.

Photo of Spaceman_Jer
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of mtnbiknma
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Hit this place twice in three days in San Francisco, more so for convenience and the desire to be truly wowed by a brewpub that had come highly recommended.

The place was smaller than i thought it would be, and besides the psychedelic mural and concert posters, the interior was fairly unremarkable. The place was clean and furnished with pub-like booths and some small tables. I would be surprised if there were 20 seats in the no-standing-room bar area. This does actually make the place feel cozy during the chilly San Fran nights.

The food was average pub fair with some flat bread pizza's, burgers, and veggie options. Like the pub itself, the menu was pretty small, perhaps in keeping with their expressed desire to support local sources of food. I had a very tasty pizza that was priced like you think it would be for the big city. My wife had a pretty boring chicken sandwich. The service was prompt, but our table server and bartender didn't appear ready to discuss the beer at length, they seemed to leave that to the literature on the table. This said, the beer list includes highly specified info on malt bills, gravities, and hop choices. The glassware choices were also spot on.

The beers, while tasty, were not exceptional whether they were served on cask or on tap. A friend of mine had remarked about the unique malt-bill (maris-otter) the brewer frequently employs at Magnolia. I'm not sure that I share his excitement over this choice after tasting several of the beers. During our visits, they had something like 10 beers including the several that were on cask. We tried the Proving Ground IPA on cask and tap. The differences were not extreme, the tap version proved to have more a a finishing hop presence than the cask. Like some of the other IPA's i tried on our vacation, this IPA leaned heavily on the English tradition while being described as "bold". "modern" and "west coast". The spud boy IPA tasted every bit the English IPA with slightly more fresh hop flavor than it's counterparts overseas. We also had the cole porter which seemed very good until we tried the stout of circumstance. These beers were remarkably similar in regards to their roasted malt taste, mouthfeel, and color. I hadn't been to a place where the distinction between these two styles had been so muddled. They were very tasty, but i wondered which beer was which? I think i would go ahead and label them both porters were it not for hop choices and some oats in the stout recipe.

This place was a worthy stop for the neighborhood. I think i would return regularly if i lived in the area to see what the brewer could do with some of the other seasonals that are described in their literature.

Photo of BenHesk12
3.49/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

I live in the neighborhood and often visit magnolia on weeknights for a beer and a bite after work. The beer is consistently decent, with somewhere like 10-20 taps, and the food albeit a touch expensive is good. The downfall of this place is that it gets very crowded and doesn't have the space or service to handle the crowd. It's always tough to order a beer from the bar here, and there's always a wait for a table. Not to mention the inside is consistently hot and sweaty--don't bother bringing a jacket. Overall, magnolia beer is decent, the food is good, but be prepared for a typical crowded/hip san francisco spot.

Photo of dcloeren
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Russkiy
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of DerekCarruth
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

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 bobbyhands
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of clickpush
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5

I have the pleasure of living directly above this brewpub. Everyday there's a lingering scent of beer production throughout my apartment and although some find it unpleasant, I have to admit it makes me drool.

The restaurant itself is pretty average. It's located at the excellent location of Haight and Masonic in San Francisco's Haight/Ashbury neighborhood, and because of the high volume of tourists coming through the prices for food are a bit inflated. Their one saving grace, however, is their enormous plate of french fries, available with 3 unique dipping sauces and beer-mustard for only $4. It's the perfect dish to order to get something in your stomach while throwing back a few pints.

Magnolia's beer is excellent. They almost always have over 10 beers to choose from daily, and these rotate depending on season and the brewer's discretion. A daily happy hour from 4-7 for $3.5 pints and an all-day Tuesday special at the same price make this a great spot to get an after-work relaxer or to spend all night trying one of everything.

I highly recommend the fries and a Proving Ground IPA.

Photo of francisweizen
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I heard great things about this brewpub, and I wanted to like it more than 21st amendment, but it didn't quite make the cut. I came here with Axisjones yesterday, for a return visit, having had an oyster stout, and some good but expensive mussels here on my first day in the city. I wondered why I only saw one or two cask beers listed, and like 8 on tap, since most of the reviews mentioned like 20 brews on tap and 5 on cask. Well axisjones answered my question as we were walking here. There is a chalkboard menu *and* a paper menu. The paper menu seems to house the year round brews, and cask stuff. The chalkboard also lists the cask brews, and the seasonals. Unfortunately the high gravity treats that others gorged on during the barleywine fest were not here a this time of year. No imperial stout, no barleywine, and not even the highly touted Kalifornia Kolsch. They did however, have a nice selection of about 10+ tap brews, and sure enough 5 beers on the handpump. I ended up getting a hand-pulled IPA that was killer, but axisjones' sampler was pretty scary. Of the 6 beers, at least 3 were diacetyl city. Diacetyl in a wheat? What's wrong here! One of the sampler glasses had some blue ink in the bottom of it too, wtf? The triple seemed decent, but the other ipa, and the mild were pretty lame. Overall some of the beers are damn good, but it's hit or miss. Service is good, as is selection, but it's not mind-blowing on either front. Also, this is pricer than other SF area bars, with pints at almost $4.75, I think when not at happy hour? Food here is amazing, but the portions are small and you pay for what you get. Still, this is a damn nice place. It just didn't quite meet up with all of my preconcieved expectations. It seems that SF is more of a beer bar city than a brewpub town. A big thanks to axisjones for some fine company yesterday. I can't believe the lack of BAs in the bay area, considering the fine number of great beer establishments. C'mon people, let's get active. Yeah, that's all.

Photo of bboven
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Couldn't resist stopping in here as I'm a reformed Deadhead. All the beers brewed by this place are named after or inspired by lyrics of Grateful Dead songs, which is a very cool theme. I did not eat the food, but the beer was wonderful. They have a huge variety of it for such a small space, and all of it (even the English bitter) is so true to style it made me smile on the inside. There were about fifteen varities to choose from as well as two cask-conditioned beers. I had the Blue-Bell from the cask and it was without a doubt one of the best beers I have ever had.

The walls are painted with bright murals and kitschy posters, making it a very festive and hippy-friendly brewpub. The best beers I had in San Fransisco were found here.

Photo of jdense
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Visited afternoon 4.1.10 during Haight pubcrawl.

While this is the primary outpost for Magnolia, it certainly fits the gastropub label. All the food I saw come out of the kitchen was very pretty, nice serving sizes. I had a burger on brioche, quite tasty, quality ingredients. There were a lot of couples in here having meals and beers, this appears to be a really nice date place if you are looking for that scene. The beers, about 12 taps, while not extraordinary, are very solid. I had the Proving Ground IPA which was pretty good, and they did have a couple of interesting guest taps, re Marin, etc. Fairly loud and boisterous, though the bartender wasn't on top of his game, told me he'd be right back and the cool dude next to me had to flag him down ten minutes later after he walked by me 5 times. In retrospect, the best most efficient bartender I ran into during the crawl was the tattooed dude at Toronado, the bane of many BA reviews.I imagine the service would have been better at the tables, the waitresses were working hard for the money. If you are looking for some high quality grub and solid brews this is a must stop when in the city. Recommended.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Great Cafe in the Haight just moments from Golden Gate Park. I stopped in for lunch and had an average burger with great fries and some wonderfully flavorful garlic mayo. Beers were all above average accept for a rather bad wheat. The oyster stout was the stand out for me with their Kolsch coming in 2nd. Selection featured just over a dozen house brews and one special English stout on cask. The waitress told me that for the month of May they would be rotating 6 different English stouts on one of their casks. Very cool! Service was friendly and knew the beer very well, much better than at most brew pubs. Atmosphere is artsy and charming. I was quite pleased with Magnolia.

Photo of ubermick
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Another stop on my recent evening out in the Haight, I'd heard very good things about their beers.

First opinion was that it was very different from any brewpub I'd been in before, feeling more like an organic cafe than anything else. It was quite busy when we got there, with the bar packed with folks who were there for the food, and not interested in the beers, so we left and came back after the dinner crowd died down.

The brews on offer were okay. Our group ordered a casked Prescription Pale, a brown, and the Cole Porter, and passed them around. But okay is rough going in the craft brewing business - as we sat there and sipped, we found ourselves missing the Toronado a couple of blocks away. They just weren't that memorable, although the Cole Porter was the standout.

Our server was courteous, but a tad aloof. She recommended that we try a cheese plate with our beer, which we did, and then she left us alone for the rest of our stay - one of our group was keen to order a Cole Porter, but she didn't seem to interested in taking her order. Took several more minutes to get our tab, and we filed out, heading back to Toronado.

It's worth a visit to check out, and from scanning the food menu, and remembering the crowds, their meals looked very good, but with everything else on offer in the Haight, this spot is down my list in recommendations.

Photo of Murchmac
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Been going to this place on the haight for years but decided to review it finally.

When you walk in it will probably be packed, there might be open tables, sometimes you can just sit down at them but asking the waitstaff is advisable. Sit at the bar if there's room. The place is very trippy and some sort of hippie music is usually playing. It's a great looking mix between a pharmacy and brewpub.

The beer selection is good, they have a lot of beers on tap and usually interesting ones. You can order imperial pints, tastings, and other assorted shapes and sizes. I ordered the oysterhead stout, and you could taste the oysters they put in the mash.

They serve food, the menu makes it sound good, but when you order it, it's not as good as it reads. I ordered the clam chowder and was not impressed by it.

All in all if youre up on the haight and want to go to a brewpub, this is the one. The toronado usually has there beers on tap, so do other bars like alembic. Its an alright place, make up your mind for yourself, I like 21st amendment better.

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Went here for my first time on my last San Fran trip. Don't know why I didn't continue up the street from the Toronado the last couple times I have been because it's a quick bus ride right up the street.

Maybe I went when they didn't have an "awesome" beer on tap because I checked the reviews of all the ones I saw that they had and I tried the pale ale on cask which was the hightest rated one on at the time and it was just ok. Better than average but really nothing to get excited about. My local pub that no one really knows about has better beers IMO.

When I do the beer by Bart trip I try to eat something small everywhere I go so I don't get wasted and can still function the rest of the day drinking 2 or 3 beers at 4-5 beer bars. So I tried the cheese plate. It was pretty good. Not anything to write home about but looking at the menu everything seemed a little pricy and hipster organic local grown sort of food.

The atmosphere was not really that great either. Bunch of hipster art-music type people (that's the haight-ashbury for ya). And the vibe from the staff is the same. The decor isn't very welcoming either. Very plain. Service was good though. No complaints.

Overall I probably won't go out of my way to go up there again. Nothin special that I haven't seen in a million other places. If your really into cask or real ale it is worth the trip. I always enjoy me a pint of real ale but I'm not purposefully seeking it out all the time. Unless it's a super awesome beer on cask : ).

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Magnolia Pub & Brewery in San Francisco, CA
90 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.