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Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
95
world-class

424 Ratings
Ratings: 424
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: n/a
Taps: 43
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
[ Bar ]

547 Haight St
San Francisco, California, 94117-3406
United States
phone: (415) 863-2276

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Ratings: 424 | Reviews: 311
Reviews by ojclark:
Photo of ojclark
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

About 50 taps: 4 are cask beers. Great selection representing California (and other US) craft beers, with some very nice Belgian and European selections as well. Not the biggest selection I've seen, but certainly one of the best. No BS place serving great beers in an unpretentious atmosphere. Hundreds of tap handles, beer glasses, stickers, etc. decorate the walls. Dozens of empty 3L Duvel bottles lined up along back wall. Seems like CBGBs would have been like this had it been a beer bar. Service is not warm, but is generally very good.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JamLand
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

A must stop when in SF. Small, dark, dive bar feel to the place. In my only visit, the regular selection wasn't anything special. However, when you crack open a secret keg of Pliny the Younger and I can buy Cable Car there, then you get a 5 for selection in my book. As for the infamous bartenders...they're fine. I'd say a lot of people are babies. Yes, if you ask them a dumb question, they will treat you like you asked a dumb question. Personally, I enjoyed watching their various interactions.

Photo of M_chav
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Any place that has PtY on tap is great, fast paced and fun place to visit - don't get offended!

Photo of erha2
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I personally had no problems with the bartenders but could see trouble for clueless customers. Love the speed metal vibe while drinking some of the best beers in the world. They had Cable Car for $60 or $80/bottle depending on vintage.

Photo of Dodgerrigo77
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

The original, come correct or get to steppin.

Photo of jimh67
4.81/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I've been wanting to visit this place for a long time. It was everything I was looking for and more....
Patrons and staff were awesome! Sat with one of the staff (steeler fan) and watched MNF-Falcons/Packers. Very knowledagble on beer and suggested some bay area breweries that I might like-Faction in Alameda-I was staying in east bay. It is def. worth the trip across the bay bridge.
Forgot how good the Pliny was when fresh like that. Reaffirmed to me that it is the best.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Great selection. Cool, low key vibe. A little divey, but that is fine with me. Patrons were friendly as could be and the service was fine. Definitely a place worth checking out.

Photo of raynmoon
3/5  rDev -29.9%

Been many times and always had really good beer on tap. Most recently I asked for a beer menu and saw PNC on there, asked if I could get one and the bartender went to go look... I think... Waited about ten minutes... He just started serving other people, passing me by, never said anything. Another bar tender asked what beer I want, I said "do you guys still carry PNC?" He looked pissed exclaiming "what the fuck, why would you ask that if he already told you we don't have it. God!" And walked away.


I was stunned. I tired to say "he didn't say anything to me" and nobody next to me noticed the rudeness or even cared.

Not sure I'll ever come back.

All in all, they get the best of everything as they are the first on every breweries list to get rare kegs: Younger, Cable Car, BCBS, but do not expect to be treated well.

Photo of smakawhat
4.75/5  rDev +11%

What more needs to be said about this iconic place?

A beer bar mecca. One that maintains old school classic dive bar roots, but serves up amazing brews for next to nothing.

Top notch ambiance. Stickered walls, grafitti bathrooms, no bullshit here folks. And that tap list to boot. Where else are you going to go to get amazing beers from Russian River, Alpine, Moonlight Brewing, Deschutes, and many more for 5 or 6 bucks a pint?

Not fancy dancy. Doesn't need to be, so don't come here out holding your pinky talking about the latest whale you just slayed either. Bottle list does have some interesting ones, but it's a bit small surprisingly, and the coveted stuff goes fast. Was hoping for maybe some crazy Speedway variants, or Lost Abbey gems, or Bruery, but no worries.

Great people also work here as well who enjoy talking and shagging and serving pints. Much thanks to Steve. And Bill Gould lives down the street and has popped in from time to time. How cool is that.

Nothing more needs to be said, take it in proper how you like it, either early when no one is there to have to yourself, or packed like a mad house its up to you. Either way you'll never forget the beers you have here.

Photo of ChanChan
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

I stopped by on 9/13/2014. I had been looking forward to coming for a long time. Here is what I thought of this place.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere is not bad, a guy stands at the front and asks for an ID to come in. Once inside the bar is dimly light. It was a Saturday afternoon so the bar was packed. A couple were gracious enough to share their table so that was nice.

Selection: The selection was pretty excellent!! I did not see anything that blew my mind but when you have Nelson, Blind Pig, and Pliny all on-tap you know they don't mess around!!

Service: Eh, wasn't there for the service. The bartenders look like they are not there to make friends. I have read from several reviews that say that their service made for a terrible experience but I drove +300 miles to have a pint at this bar so a rude bartender is not gonna ruin my experience!!

Value: The value was excellent. $5.00 Pints of Pliny, Nelson, etc, hell yeah!! Please remember to bring cash, I believe that is all they take. Luckily that was what I had at the time.

Food: This bar does not serve food but I have heard they let you take food inside. As this is a very popular street, there are several restaurants around the area. It actually smells of food when you walk out. I decided to stop by Memphis Minnies across the street and had a delicious tri-tip sandwich!!

Overall: I recommend this place!! This is a cool and historic beer pub. The Cons include the fact that The atmosphere and service is not for everyone. Also, the parking is a complete nightmare!! Nevertheless, next time I am in SF I will try and stop by, have a pint or four, and make my way to some of those really great restaurants!!

Photo of craft_shannie
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

visited the afternoon of 9/10. had alpine's nelson, moonlight's death & taxes, and faction's summer ipa on draft. great tap variety (allagash, russian river, moonlight, etc) to choose from, but not the most exhaustive list, by any means. bottled beer list seemed a bit slim when i visited. brewery stickers & other memorabilia decorate every inch of the place. very comfortable, relaxed. jukebox is filled w. a lot of metal and its played loud. fortunately, i was able to sneak in some elvis. this place is legendary & did not disappoint.

Photo of mike312
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Typical dive bar, okay service, but their second-to-none beer selection (Russian River, Alpine, etc.) speaks for itself.

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

We stopped in starting at 3pm on a Friday and it was a great time to be there. We were able to get a seat in the bar area, rather than the back room (which is dark and quiet). It was 3/4 full and we stayed for a few hours. We left around 7pm and it was just starting to fill up.

The day-time bartender is good, but a bit of curmudgeon. Maybe that's his charm? When they changed over at about 5pm, it was like night and day, super friendly and engaging.

I thought the bottle list was a little weak when we visited, but I must admit, I had previously decided I was pulling the trigger on anything super rare they may have.

The tap list is great as expected. Toronado has a good reputation, lots of reviews, and I can promise that it is as advertised still to this day. If you haven't been, go and enjoy.

Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

I live down in San Diego and Toronado SD has long been my favorite bar, period. So when we decided to take a trip up to SF, the one thing I knew we had to do was check out the original Toronado there. The place didn't really disappoint. As I expected, it was pretty dive-y, but had a great tap list and the bottle list that day was more than adequate. I had been warned going in, but the service was pretty ridiculous. The bartender refused to say anything to me. Or pretty much anyone else in the bar, now that I think of it. I missed the sign saying "Cash Only" and tried paying with a card, to which he just looked at me and shook his head without saying a word. And don't even bother asking for a recommendation. You won't get one. This place was definitely worth the trip, but don't expect to be treated like a human being there.

Photo of spark3148857
1/5  rDev -76.6%

After numerous visits, the last of which involved calling sfpd on the staff, I will never visit Toronado again. Sadly the exceptional beer menu doesn't make it worth being disrespected and harassed by the staff of Toronado. If you wish to be treated with respect in a welcoming environment then there are numerous bars and breweries in the city such as city beer store, cellarmaker, speakeasy, 21st amendment....the list could go on and on in a city like San Francisco. No beer is worth subjecting oneself to the treatment of Toronado. A lesson I learned the hard way.

Photo of indianabeerman
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

loved this place. decor was cool. great tap list and also a aged beer list. the bartender could not have been nicer. the crowd was laid back . just a cool place. started out with a pliny the elder and finished off with death and taxes. lots of russian river beers on tap here

Photo of Clembo1957
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

My annual visit to San Francisco wouldn't be complete without a trip to Toronado. With Russian River - Pliny The Elder on tap what more do you need in a bar! In an ever changing world it's nice to find a constant, long May Toronado serve beer! Happy hour prices are great value and the 71 bus passes by.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25

Well I ventured in knowing the reputation and it seems a bit exaggerated. Service wasn't friendly but it wasn't rude or disrespectful like some people say. I went twice and had a different bartender each night, I ordered quickly, paid my cash and had no problem getting beers. If anything the place reminded me a lot of the Falling Rock in both decor and service. They have a very nice tap selection and you can find lots of good beers for only $5. I think the San Diego location is a touch better because they are actually friendly and its bigger.

Photo of sholland119
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Lives up to the legend in most every way. Walked here from our lunch stop at Magnolia Pub. We were going to hang out in a nearby park to read for a while after lunch, until we saw the denizens of the park. Too many people living out of their shopping carts for us to be comfortable so we pressed on.

A very cool low key vibe when we arrived in mid-afternoon. Timing being everything since the annual Lost Abbey Cable Car release was scheduled for 6pm that day. We decided not to wait that one out and chose to enjoy the rest of the amazing tap list instead. Wonderfully diverse and reasonably priced, we enjoyed a couple of locals as well as our first draft taste of Andechs Doppelbock.

Service was actually pleasant in our experience. Though the bartender seemed to have a contentious relationship with some of the other patrons (mostly related to the CC tapping), she could not have been nicer to us.

Dug it! Would go back anytime.

Photo of Hibernator
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

As we walked down to the Lower Haight this afternoon, the sun decided to make a cameo appearance and I made a quick detour stop at Groove Records. After finishing up there, we finally arrived at Toronado. The entrance was a half door with an old school western saloon thing going on. The type of half door that you hope doesn’t hit your balls on the back swing.

The long bar is located to the right and tables to the left. This place was vibrant and unexpectedly crowded at 3PM on Tuesday. Other than a bar in New York City, I’m not sure that I would expect to see a congregation of people enjoying great beers at such an unconventional time. Nevertheless, I completely embraced it and was pumped to have the opportunity to order a fresh Pliny on tap.

It was dimly lit inside with loud metal music thumping through the speakers. A gigantic beer list menu greets your eyes as you tilt your head upwards toward the sign. Beer options are nicely organized and well defined, as it offers all of the 50 or so options available (with about 3 hand pump beers). Selections included Pliny the Elder (oh mommy!), Damnation, Blind Pig IPA, Class of ‘88, Merle Saison, Sculpin IPA, Moonlight Death & Taxes and many more. The beer list appears to favor IPA’s with some interesting European offerings mixed in. All beers are served in appropriate glassware.

Worth noting is that there are some really good deals to be found at this beer bar destination. For example, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Anchor Steam are only $4 and the real mind-blower is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot for $4! Maybe it’s the East Coast in me, but that gets me really excited.

The atmosphere at Toronado is raw and filled with true character. This place is the antithesis of a place like Yard House. If you are looking for a sterile place to go to, you should look elsewhere. You belly up to the bar, pay in cash and are rewarded with a quality craft beer and you repeat as needed. One of the greatest attractions is that feeling of trying something new that you’ve either never had before or read about and are eager to have for the first time.

I felt an immense amount of appreciation for the décor of this place. It’s packed with breweriana such as stickers, tin signs, neon signs, flags, tap handles, etc. I spotted a spectacular collection of Anchor Our Special Ale tap handles. I was also psyched to see the Tennessee George ‘No Show’ Jones plate and ‘Zappa for Ever’ sign. Such appreciation to these musical greats truly resonates with me.

Toronado is an establishment with legendary status in the beer bar scene in this country. A ‘must stop’ on my list for many years and I'm so glad I made the visit.

Photo of jaydoc
3.68/5  rDev -14%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

Overall a great beer bar. Visited during SF beer week. At the time they had over 50 barleywines on tap from a excellent selection of breweries. The atmosphere was loud and bustling. Frequently shoulder to shoulder throughout the bar. The bar was fairly dirty and there was a lot of toilet paper on the floor throughout the bar. The service was poor, but the knowledge was great.

Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here twice during SF beer week, once for an event and another when nothing was going on. I have wanted to check this place out ever since I stopped at the one in SD, glad I could finally visit it. Atmosphere was exactly how I expected it to be, jam packed and loud. Tons of people all over the place enjoying themselves, some a little too much. I like these kinds of beer bars so if you don't I could see why some wouldn't like it. Service was good even when they were getting slammed with orders. I had a bit of trouble getting their attention but once they saw me it was smooth sailing. Quality was high on the beer end, correct glasses and such, the bar itself could use a hose down every once in a while but it wasn't that bad. Selection was excellent as expected. I was able to try a bunch of the Moonlight beers which was awesome as well as Anchor OBA which has been on my wants for years, all of which was after the -tion night beers which were incredible. Since they are connected to the sausage house next door I am just going to include it, the merguez sausage was awesome. Prices were quite good, even during the event. Overall it was exactly what I was expecting, and even a little more. I would be a regular here if I lived in the bay area.

Photo of GABrew
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

A fellow BA introduced me to Toronado San Diego a few months ago, so when I had a business trip that brought me to San Francisco this week, I knew I would have to check out this location. The draft beer selection was very good, although it was very heavy toward Belgians, which aren't usually my favorite style. It's hard to complain about the selection when they have Blind Pig and Pliny on tap. Plus they had quite a few sours to choose from. The bottle list was also heavy toward Belgians, but I was able to pick up a Velvet Merkin, which I hadn't tried before, and unlike the SD location, they let me bag it up and take it to go. Had I known that before I ordered, I might have gone with the PNC. I love that beer!

This location is much dingier/dirtier looking than the SD location and seemed to be in a fairly rough neighborhood, but I don't mind the dive bar feel. It was very crowded for a Wednesday night and I wasn't able to get a seat at the bar for the entire time I was there, so that was kind of annoying to have to stand the whole time and come up behind people at the bar to order.

I've seen a lot of the reviews that mention terrible service, but my experience couldn't have been better. I gave the bartender a $2 tip when I paid for my first beer. When I came back up 10-15 minutes later, she remembered me and gave me my 2nd beer for free. She didn't mind at all when I asked for the bottle list and brought it right over. I'm sure it helped that I knew what I was looking for and ordered beers quickly without fumbling over the list or asking a lot of questions, holding her up from taking care of other customers.

I don't know many other beer bars in SF to compare this to, but I would definitely stop by again if I were in this area of town.

Photo of mattt317
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

22 years ago the tor0nado was a known as a biker bar, but it was the only place in the city with bunches of taps of local and rotating beers (anderson valley, marin, mendocino, anchor, etc)... 11 years ago, the chalk board was the same with a few European beers thrown in (tall glasses of wheat beer) plus the board behind the register always had something new.... it was still mostly local (haight street residents) ... now-a-days - it's mostly tourists and shrill yelpers during the day (happy hours is my time) .. and the board is mostly static with too many overpriced european brews .... but mostly; the prices are good, the pints are filled to the rim... and on one thursday night in december, as i headed to bart, the place was empty and I stopped in for a peaceful glass of xmas ale...

Photo of Outlandishbrew
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

A - The Toronado is just one of those places you have to love for what it is. Its dark, loud and dingy. Some might even say filthy. But its definitely my kind of filth! This place is legendary in the Bay Area because they have been all about belgian and craft beer way before all us beer geeks were around. And it definitely shows the minute you enter the place.

Q - If your talkin quality of beer, Its awesome! If your talkin quality of the service, not so much. I say just dont be a little sensitive girlyman (or girlygirl) or perform any douche-baggery and you'll be fine. My very first visit there, the bartender gave me a free glass of Pliny for being a newb, and the couple next to me bought my next beer and we chat chitted for a couple hours. but they definitely take care of their tap systems and cellar temps because the beers always taste great.

S - It definitely has a reputation of crappy service. I have seen it... many times, but its never happened to me personally. I always have a great time when I'm there. If you want an example of their service, just follow them on twitter. Its always good for a laugh.

S - Honestly, it doesn't get much better than this. I travel for a living and when I get the opportunity, I'm always searching out as many breweries and craft beer bars as I can. The selection in this place is up to par with Monks Cafe in Philly or Falling Rock in Denver.

F - No food, but you can bring anything you want in there.

V - The beer is definitely not over priced here. Like the previous review stated, "$5 Pliny's, nuff said"!

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 424 ratings.