Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
95
world-class

433 Ratings
Ratings: 433
Reviews: 314
rAvg: 4.29
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 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 433 | Reviews: 314
Photo of smakawhat
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%

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 -0.9%

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 -0.9%

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 +16.6%

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 -0.9%

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 -6.8%
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 -76.7%

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 +12.4%
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 +4.9%
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 -9.8%
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 +4.4%
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 +0.5%
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 -14.2%
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 +0.2%
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 +0.9%
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 +1.6%
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 -15.4%
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"!

Photo of jgasparine
4.09/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Atmosphere- This is a bit subjective. The Toronado is loud, dark, and packed with all walks of life- from white collars to blue collars to tattooed skinheads! The music is blaring with heavy rock... and for me, I just loved it. CLEARLY this place is beer-centric. While I loved it, I can see how some others could be turned-off by the atmosphere.

Quality- The place is a little dark and dirty. But that is just the facility. The glassware and draught lines seemed to all be impeccably clean.

Service- There was a low ratio of bartenders to patrons, making it hard to get quick service. Fortunately, my wife and I got seats at the bar, which helped. I read that the bartenders get annoyed if you don't know what you want, but I found them to be perfectly friendly. Despite the fact that I know my beer, I was in a land where I wasn't familiar with a number of brands, and the bartender was quick to make some great suggestions.

Selection- I am very tempted to give them a perfect score here. Their draught and bottle selections were huge in numbers, and more importantly, EVERYTHING was a gem here. I have been to bars with a larger tap list, but Toronado still earns a place in my heart for having one of the best selections overall!

Food- While they don't serve food here, they allow you to bring in food from one of the establishments next door. I found a small vegan place that was actually amazing a few doors down. Truth be told, I am not a vegan... definitely don't seek-out vegan food... I really walked into this restaurant by accident, but went with it, and the food was just excellent.

Value- It's hard to remember, but I paid something rediculous like $5.00 for a tall pint of Pliny. Enough said.

Photo of EnronCFO
4.76/5  rDev +11%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Tuesday afternoon. Burger from sausage kitchen next door as amazing at $6.50. Beer selection was top notch, including Pliny the Elder at $5 per pint. Servers were very friendly, particularly for a Boston guy that is user to surly service and arrogant/indifferent bartenders. Recommend without hesitation, you'd be an idiot to visit SF without stopping in. Didn't even mention how nice the patrons were. Think Three Penny in VT with Russian River rather than HF and a more eclectic crowd.

Photo of heymikew
4.16/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75

At one time, if you wanted to drink some great beer in the City, Toronado was the only option that offered a lot of choices. Fortunately, that is no longer the case as scores of purveyors have wised up to the beer renaissance and offer us serious beer drinkers the quality we demand.

For me, more, quality beer venues caused a reduction in my visits to this original dive, beer mecca. Does this mean Tornado is any less valuable as a beer destination? Fortunately, a recent visit reawakened my fondness for the place. The beer selection is still plentiful, but it's the vibe of the place that gives it such character. It continues to be the same unique, divey, high energy place where youcan have a great conversation with nearly anyone.

Be warned though: There is a FRIENDLY lady bartender here. This may be off putting to those traditionalists who enjoy the gruff service, but I found it refreshing.

Photo of mikefuski17
3.79/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5

Toronado is essentially I dive bar with an amazing selection. They have so many awesome beers, there was no way I could have sampled them all. The decor was cool. The walls are covered with brewery stickers and old tap handles are displayed like trophies. Service was ok. Since they were busy, it took a while to place an order. The one thing that annoyed myself and the group I was with is the guy checking id's was kind of a jerk. Definitely was on a power trip an May have been drunk. Either way it is a cool place. A "tamale lady" comes in occasionally with coolers full of hot tamales for $5. Check it out if viziting

Photo of Charliechu
2.76/5  rDev -35.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4

I have nothing bad to say about the beer on tap here. Also a great selections at reasonable prices. Every time I am in the City I try to make it out here to grab a pint but recently its been more and more unattractive simply because of that service. I know they get good and rare beers on tap but shoot, can't they treat their costumers a bit better ,given that we're the one paying their damn rent.

If your new to the SF, definitely worth checking out but there are so many other better pub house with awesome taps with MUCH better services.

Photo of jerrytodd
3.77/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.75

WTF is up with the notion that a craft beer pub in SF has to be seedy, divey, and semi disgusting with servers that are obnoxious? Really not enjoying that very much.

Atmosphere here is all of the above. Not a place I really want to spend much time in.

Beer selection however is top notch and prices quite reasonable.

I don't think they serve food and if they did I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

For a totally opposite experience (but with great beer) go to The Monk's Kettle.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75

Toronado is all about the beer. The ambiance is dreary and the service is gruff. You can get away with that though when you've got a bunch of good beer on tap.

As others have noted, there are a lot of Belgians on tap, like twenty or so. This didn't particularly interest me, as I wanted to try Cali beers, but I still ordered a sour and found it damn good. I was glad I tried it and glad they had it on Tap.

I also tried a beer from Moonlight Brewing that was damn good and got to learn the backstory about how the brewer used to work for Schlitz. There were a number of other good beers on tap, Big Bear and others from Cali, but I didn't stay long.

They have a good selection of bottled beers as well and you can buy them to go. As I sat at the bar, some guy came in and bought up all the Pliny the Elder they had.

I must say, I wish there were as many German beers on tap as Belgians and as many American beers as both. Not sure why the favoritism towards Belgium, but this isn't the end of the world.

Photo of joshklein069
2.73/5  rDev -36.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3

The reputation of this bar is good, however its dated. Draft list is just OK . The tables were dirty and when I asked a bartender to clean it off they gave me a bar towel. When I took the dirty glasses and stuff and moved them to a spot near where the bouncer was standing he told me to take them to the back. Nasty bathrooms. Very disappointing. but hey some people thrive on dive bars like this but not me.

Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 433 ratings.