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Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
96
world-class

326 Reviews
Reviews: 326
Visits: 466
Avg: 4.31
pDev: n/a
Taps: 43
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
[ Bar ]

547 Haight St
San Francisco, California, 94117-3406
United States
phone: (415) 863-2276 | map
www.toronado.com

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 326 | Visits: 466
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Torofuckinado, during San Francisco beer week. Oh, apparently there’s an event tonight...

You receive a ‘welcome ID’ing’ (yes, the 1960’s, and thank you) at the ½ open corral door (very Mr. Edesque), and then you go inside and drink beer. The place was packed but almost immediately, we snagged a table of which there are not many; a highly coveted piece of real estate to be sure. It was all Ben’s doing, truth be known. He scoped out potential departures, performed the set up and put the helpful departure suggestions ‘lean on’ where necessary, and then moved in to seize the table just when they showed the slightest inkling of heading out. It was most impressive. I have decided that ‘sizing up when people are going to leave and positioning oneself to be right on top of them when they do, thereby snagging their table’ is Ben’s super hero skill. I’m sure there’s a better name for it than ‘guy who makes people want to leave’, though.

Long narrow space with a tiny room around the bend to the rear. “L” shaped bar to the right disappearing under the overhang to the rear seating who knows how many in this crowd. 2 rows of 9 taps each on a wood box on the barback, and an alternating row of 24 below the bar. Glassware shelved a good length along the barback, and stemmed from the underside. Pics & photos, signage, tap handles, trophies, toys, cans, and figurines, lining the around & up over that. Good “In loving memory of Frank Zappa” page.

Green walls all around, and a grayish ceiling (impossible to tell in this or any light), with wood, what would be crown moldings. A couple of ceiling lamps, and light strung baby spots to the rear. 6 hightops adjacent to the bar, running front to back. The wood panel half wall along the hightops is done up with brewery placards; the length of its trim lined with Duvel magnums (with some Russian River play in there for laughs). Brewery placards, pub signage, neons, & mirrors above, and tap handles displayed atop. The opposite wall, forward the bar is just completely pasted with stickers of everything from everywhere.

Schneider flaggings from the ceiling up front, and neons in the logo windows to both sides of the door, with smaller horizontal windows running above. The taps listed on a big hop lined slat board over the rear hang, and a single TV in the corner. Rear space below the hang holds more magnums shelved, and tap handles above all the way around. A row of a good 20 Anchor OSA handles provides bad flashbacks of that OSA tasting we did back in the day. And I kind of thought I’d see old Grant’s handles up there, but no. Interesting shirts and schwag scene back there. And a small room off the rear to the left with a half dozen tables. People; they sit at them. TV’s and beer trays adorn.

Currently, all 42 taps are occupied. 1/3 of them (yes, that’s 14) are from Russian River for this event, by which I mean, “Fuck!” (Damnation, Damnation Batch 23, Supplication, Supplication 2010, Consecration, Defenestration, Temptation, Temptation 2008, Sanctification, Sanctification 2010, Framboise Cuvee 2010, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, CBC Symposium Sour Brown). The remaining 2/3 are craft (5 from Lagunitas, 3 each from Upright & Deschutes, a pair each from Moonlight, Ninkasi, & Widmer, and one offs Anchor Steam, Allagash White, High Water Aphotic Baltic Porter) and imports (Rodenbach Grand Cru, N’Ice Chouffe, Mort Subite Kriek, Radeberger Pils, Franziskaner Hefe, Schneider Aventinus & Edel-weisse), at a 3 to 1 ratio, and the Two Rivers Pomegranate Cider. And 3 handpumps on the far end of the bar back there (Moonlight Twist of Fate Bitter & Bombay By Boat IPA, Sierra Nevada Celebration). We shared the Consecration (duh!), Defenestration (Belgian Pale Ale, dry, hoppy, lovely. ‘A wild ale of good’, says Ben), Temptation, Sanctification (aged in Bretty not suck), CBC Sour Brown (yeah, uh huh), and I had a Deschutes Black Butte XXIII (because because).

On return just a day later, seems they’ve moved onto a New Belgium event (Russian River was sooo yesterday, literally). We slummed it with such slouches as the Lips of Faith La Terrior, Eric’s Ale, Super Cru, Transatlantique Kriek, Tart Lychee, and the Love (Felix), and agreed that the Eric’s Ale, Tart Lychee, & Love (Felix) were the best of ‘em.

Gave them a day’s breather and returned on Sunday for the Barleywine fest. Some real nice offerings. Hey! Can you not read the sign? (Order by number, douchebag). Sampled a few and then had another Moonlight Twist of Fate Bitter (just goddamn stellar).

It’s a cool scene. I had zero problem with service and they’ve got a good crowd of kids drinking better beer. There is a tamale woman wheeling her wares through, hadn’t seen that one before. Wait. There’s a bottle list? Didn’t need to get at it, mind you we were in full beer week event flail. Ben described this place as being “fucking awesome”, and Bethy added, “The awesome is prominent”, as she knows what’s what. Who am I to disagree?

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More User Reviews:
Photo of domdomdomdom
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Tmwolfe
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of Rockjocknroll
3.43/5  rDev -20.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5

I was so stoked to finally visit this legendary location. Although I live close to SF it's just never been in the cards for me until last week. Walking in felt like visiting a holy place.

The selection is incredible (3 casks at once and not one bad beer), you'll probably contract hepatitis from the bathroom, and if they're at all busy don't bother asking any questions. They'll ignore you for 5 minutes and act like it's your fault you don't know everything about the beers they serve when you walk in the door. I understand being a busy server (10 years experience myself) and dealing with difficult people, but asking a question about a local brew and getting no service?

I love metal and dive bars as much as the next person but the staff are first rate (insert expletive here). One table of quiet folks near us moved a chair 6 inches around their table (not kidding...half a foot) and the bearded metal dwarf at the door walks over, grabs the chair and slams it as hard as he can against the floor to make a point none of us understood. I couldn't figure out why he was so angry at folks who were keeping to themselves. Oh, and the 'locals' might take offense and anything you do and possibly try to fight you.

I hear that it's much better if you're lucky to go when it's not busy. Too bad they're not doing their barleywine festival anymore.

 1,353 characters

Photo of frasergrove
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5

Super dive, super loud music, super DGAF bartenders, super killer beer selection. What else to say? If you go there you know why you do, but don't roll up as a tourist expecting some red carpet experience.

 205 characters

Photo of Howlader
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of amano_h
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

I totally forgot to write a review about one of the most epic dive bars in the City.

I actually used to live on Steiner and McAllister, so whenever I had friends visiting from outside of the City we'd walk down to the corner of Filmore/Haight and start our bar crawl from Knoc-Knoc and hit up every bar until we got to Hobson's Choice in Haight-Ashbury. As I wasn't a beer nerd back then I remember trying to avoid Toronado whenever we had our pub crawls because for one it was an overly-crowded dive bar, and back when I had no idea what good beer tasted like, this bar was just filled with beers I'd never even heard of and charging way too much for a pint.

Fast-forward a few years and a couple thousand beers later, I visited Toronado during the daytime around four after having drinks earlier that day at City Beer and Cellarmaker. Whereas they didn't have anything too impressive pouring on tap that day (they had a sign up that said "Pliny the Elder is not on tap today") I did see a myriad of rare bottles (including the previously mentioned Pliny) on the bottle list, and then it struck me that a week ago was Cable Car week. Whereas I had heard rumors that Toronado was cracking open verticals of Cable Car during their event, it didn't cross my mind until I was about two beers in, that they could probably still have some bottles left.

$40 and about 45 minutes later, I left happy having hogged a bottle of Lost Abbey's Cable Car Ale all to myself.

Personal anecdotes and bragging aside, Toronado has a huge rotating tap selection and an even bigger bottle menu; whereas they don't serve food you can always bring in food from either Rosamunde next door or Ali Baba's. The service is what you expect from a dive bar, but the bartender was nice enough to humor me and my questions about the place while I was drinking. Cash only isn't all that bad as they do have an ATM machine on premises.

 1,907 characters

Photo of Coldstorage
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Honestly, I love the vibe at Toronado. No pretentious reclaimed wood and Edison lightbulbs. Its like you are in a regular SF bar except with an amazing selection. I don't have to feel like an asshole just for going here. Great!

Quality is good. Clean enough lines, clean enough glass. Bathrooms could use more attention but then again see above comment about "regular SF bar"... gotta take the good with the bad.

Service... ok... its surly but whats the problem? Bring cash, know what you want, don't expect them to hold your hand. I've never had a huge problem here. Even been thrown out once for having my dog after 8pm but it didn't surprise me. It's Toronado. Whatever.

Selection RULES. Great taplist, great bottle list, great prices.

I don't care, this is the best Beer Spot in SF. Always has been, always will be. The #menswear "hopheads" can keep their 10$ pours at the place with a rustic vibe and a square card reader, ill be at Toronado!

 953 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.82/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.25

Cool vibe, but the smell of urine and attitude kind of dulls it. Quality of beers varies, but is usually on the awesome side. Service is laughable.

Selection is usually around 30-40 taps, if they feel like it, they'll get you a bottle list or even something off of it. Depends on what kind of day they're having. Located in a cool ass neighborhood. Inside is punk rock and so is the smell.

 395 characters

Photo of pmangold
4.57/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

iconic craft beer bar. took my wife (not huge into craft beer) and we both had a great time. I had ready several reviews about bad service but that wasn't the case with us. The guy behind the bar was awesome. Enjoyed Blind Pig and some born yesterday (day old to be exact) on tap. Good time.

 296 characters

Photo of costanzo_mike
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of rfgetz
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Magnum40s
3.77/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

It's still a good bar. They have great beer on tap. I am always happy to see what they have to drink. Rare and cask poured beers weekly updated tap list.

The bartenders are somewhat elitist, I get it you drank some beers. It smells like the day after the fair in there. it's like the mop the floor with the beer from the bottom of the pints at the end of the night.

It was great when this was the only game in town, now there is so much more, they should step their game up if they want to compete. Seattle and San Diego have this location beat on every metric.

 565 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great little bar, much smaller than I thought it would be. Plain bar, walls are standard but loaded with beer paraphernalia and brewery stickers everywhere. Tons of old tap handles and bottles too. Something like 50 taps, no idea on bottles, no good either.

Selection is amazing, all the greats from Cali, and a few imports and a couple from out of state like Allagash and Deschutes.

Bartender is friendly and knowledgeable, the place in general seems a bit pretentious, but not more than any other super famous bar.

 518 characters

Photo of tshanahan
4.74/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

My go-to favorite dive in San Francisco, maybe the bay. From Dave on down the line these people know beer. Selection is always rotating, bottle list is stacked (cable car), and they regularly host the best beer events. This place is "in-the-know," as you wont find any advertisements about what's going on. Sit down, order, pay in cash, and enjoy a classic beer spot.

 367 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Daniellobo
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of barleywin
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of n2pux
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Beautiful selection. Great dive atmosphere in a funky old neighborhood. Service gets criticized but I found it to be fine. It was busy, so the bartender wasn't terribly chatty but still attentive enough & prompt. Helps to have an idea what you want. Instant addition to my top 5 favorite beer bars.

 298 characters

Photo of Resuin
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Drewfer
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 5

Kinda over the shitty bar tender attitude some places feel like they have to have, but honestly who cares. Selection is killer. Sausages next door yes sir

 154 characters

Photo of N1Nkasi
4.97/5  rDev +15.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Persdawg
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stayed right down the street from this place, so I got to enjoy it a couple of times. Passed on the $60 Cable Car, because the draft selection was ridiculous.

 159 characters

Photo of bostonbeans
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
96 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.