Ratings: 377 | Reviews: 300 | Display Reviews Only:
4.18/5 rDev -2.3%
What an interesting and eclectic place. The cab driver asked me twice if I really wanted to be taken there from my "nice" hotel downtown. When he slowed if front of the place I saw why! Not much to look like on the outside, and parts of the neighborhood would probably keep some from exiting the taxi. But, there we were, and we had to see the Toronado!
The inside is dark and dingy. Not just loud, but noisy. Single row of table and stools down one side, and countless taps along and behind the bar on the other. Off to the left in back were a couple booths and a few tables. On the back wall hung the classic Oldsmobile Toronado logo.
Marvelous selection on tap the nights I was there, and they had each of the selections I asked for. The staff was generously pierced, tattooed, frazzled, gruff, but polite. They had little time for conversation because of the standing-room-only crowd, but answered my questions about brews. Each beer was served in the appropriate glassware, and temps seemed right.
Food is not available, go next door for the great sausages.
Only downside on the busy nights I was there was the raucous noise. I would have preferred the opportunity to more quietly savor some of the rare treats I sampled those nights. I'll certainly go back when I get the opportunity because of their selection.
08-06-2006 20:00:29 | More by babydoc
4.66/5 rDev +8.9%
One of the greatest beer bars. Period.
The staff can be a bit surly, but I guess it's just a part of the experience and atmosphere, plus the place can be jammed packed, so they usually do the best they can.
It's a somewhat dumpy and dark little place, and not in the greatest neighborhood, but it's not that bad. Plus the sausage place next door is great, and the very nice Magnolia Brewery is only a few blocks up the road. It just kind of feels "right", with the worn in feel, and all the beer stuff all over the walls.
They have an excellent beer selection, always tons of local stuff like Russian River, Moonlight, and Bear Republic, not to mention lots of great Belgians.
A must visit for everyone visiting San Francisco. Just remember it's a little rough around the edges, and also... bring cash!
07-29-2006 19:51:15 | More by flexabull
4.47/5 rDev +4.4%
First off, I just wanted to say that this place is awsome.
It is located ab out a mile from Golden Gate park. It is sort of small. Inside, there is one row of tables along one wall. The bar is on the other wall. In the back, there is a small side room with a few tables. Beer and music stickers are littered all over the walls. There is a jukebox with some good music in it.
The service was great. Each time I was there, the bartenders were very cool. They were talkative when they were not too busy. They were definately knowledgable about beer. They never kept us waiting. Also, they gave us many free or underpriced beers. I think I paid for less than half of the beers I had.
The beer selection was great. They had many locals, and a few imports. They had beers from just about every local place. They had a beer to suit every palate. They probably had more IPA's that any other style. I had a bunch of beers that I have never tried before, and I always like to try something new.
I dont know how this place got any ratings for food though. Maybe they used to serve some, but when I was there, they didnt have any food. There was a sausage place next door that they let you bring in, so most people were eating those. They were great, but not from the Toronado.
This place was very nicely priced. Some of the beers were listed at a slightly high price, but every one I ordered was cheaper. They were hooking me up, but even the first round I ordered was only $3 a pint. Not too bad. I will definately go back the next time I am in San Francisco.
07-10-2006 19:29:46 | More by OStrungT
4.05/5 rDev -5.4%
Toronado has one of the most amazing beer selections of any beerpub I've been to. The owner clearly has a penchant for exotic beers, both local and foreign. As a small independent business, the owner sypathetically makes a point to keep on tap many local microbrews such as Moonlight, El Toro, and Russian River.
I was a little bummed out that their online beer list is several years out of date and the highly coveted Westvleteren 12 is no longer stocked there.
The atmosphere is cozy and bustling with hip converstation. San Francisco is a world-class city and the patrons of Toronado are wonderfully representative of the city's culture, politics, and vibe. The bathrooms are pretty nasty though. Guys, be thankful you can pee standing up. Women, make sure to master the zen art of the "hover-squat" before "breaking the seal."
Unfortunately, my group and I did have a serious problem with the service. When we settled down into a table in the back, there were still baskets (from the sandwich shop next door) and junk strewn across the table. Finally after we'd been there for 2 hours, someone came by and started clearing our empty glasses. My brother thanked her and politely asked if she would be so kind as to clear the baskets from the table. She snapped and said that she didn't work there and was only clearing the glasses as a favor to one of her bartender friends. She raised her voice and said that if we had a problem that we should clean up the mess ourselves. She then stomed off in a huff. We were all taken aback wondering just what set her off.
Regardless, I wanted to clear things up. I went up to the bar and again thanked her for clearing our empty glasses. Before I said anything else, she asked if that was my "fucking asshole friend" who "ordered" her to clear the baskets and junk from the table. It was my brother she was talking about and that was unacceptable. For no reason she'd now insulted me. I don't ask much, but I thought an apology was in order. I politely asked her to go back to the table and apologize to my friends and family. She did, but in the most perfunctory way. I thought things had been resolved until I heard her talking shit to one of the bartenders and he was way to eager to indulge her nasty words and attitude. Contempt for your customers is never good for business. Misunderstandings happen, but when ego becomes number one, things never get resolved.
07-07-2006 13:58:00 | More by SacoDeToro
4.88/5 rDev +14%
Lower Haight, while having more than a few beautiful row houses, seems to be pretty quiet. I ended up walking here from the Hilton Towers San Francisco, (looong walk). But, just saying that I've been here and have talked politics with the staff here is one of the highlights of my BA life. Beware... I didn't expect to see San Francisco's (and one of the US's) best beer bar to be smack dab in the middle of a quiet neighborhood.
NO imports here. Mainly California brews. And NONE of the ones I tried were less than stellar. None were ice cold - i.e., they were at proper temps. The staff was beyond knowledgeable about their wares, but they really did seem to appear tough. One random group walked in and asked a few questions about the beer, ordered something else (NO IMPORTS AND NO MAINSTREAM US BEERS, I SAY) and then proceeded to ridicule the establishment's "NO PLASTIC" policy (even though an ATM lies across the street). They were immediately told where to go by the gruff, seemingly Scottish, bartender. He literally followed them out of the establishment... BUT. They did deserve it.
Toronado is about as unique a beer experience as I believe you can expect in this country. Don't bother asking for a Guiness or a Stella or even one of the Belgian brews that so many BA's salivate over. And bring cash.
06-19-2006 05:28:50 | More by millhouse
2.7/5 rDev -36.9%
Maybe it had been built up too much by the BA Top 50 Places to have a pint and all of the good things that my friends had to say about the beer selection, but Toronado, the Haight's famous beer bar, was not my cup of tea, or rather, pint of beer per se.
A few things I liked about this place: they've got a beautiful selection of glassware, hundreds of pint glasses, pilsener glasses, weizen glasses, flutes, and chalices. Their selection of California brews is impressive, and they seem to have a good eye for keeping a variety of styles available (I had a saison, a double IPA, and a kriek lambic).
And then there is Rosamunde, the sausage shop next door, with a selection of sausages to make one's head spin--wild boar, duck, lamb, vegan, merguez, andoullie and so much more. The Toronado folks recommend bringing in the sausages; at only $4 a pop, the sausages almost redeemed the Toronado experience for me. Almost.
Because then there are some things that are hard to enjoy about this place. The atmosphere is dark. Not dark as in dimly lit and kind of oddly endearing, but just dark, sparse and dirty. Even with a packed bar (on a Monday afternoon!), this place never had the feel of a fun bar. Then the service. My friends assure me that had the owner been behind the bar, things would have been different, so take these comments with a grain of salt, but I was served by a rude, slothlike bartender who seemed more interested in drinking his own beer and talking about his guns than serving the customers. This alone was more than enough to color the experience negative for me.
I also had a mediocre beer experience here that I think reflects more poorly on the bar than on the brewery in question. I ordered a bottle of New Belgium's Transatlantique Kriek, a beer that's been out of production now for over a year. Excited, I figured that if they had it on the menu (which had been updated only a week earlier) the beer must still be of decent quality. Given the style, the listing, and the price $5.25 for a 12 oz. bottle, I was happy to give it a shot. The bottle had a 'Best Before' date on it of 3/23/04. Before I go any further, I want to own completely the fact that this should have been my red flag. Nonetheless, I assumed that the folks at Toronado knew what they were doing and wouldn't sell a beer that they knew might be had (how long had it been sitting in their cellar?). It was bad. Not horrible, but certainly not fresh and certainly not something that a self-respecting beer bar ought to be serving or charging big bucks for. Again, I know that part of this was my fault, but Toronado shares some of the responsability as well. Caveat emptor and caveat me.
Next time I'm in the Haight, it will be Rosamunde, not Toronado, that I will patronize a second time. For beer in SF, I'll look elsewhere.
06-13-2006 16:36:46 | More by benito
4.39/5 rDev +2.6%
Toronado is the Map Room of San Francisco only I was there during Belgian Beer Month so their tap selection was actually much better than the Map Rooms!!! How good was the tap selection Well I started with an Alaskan Smoked Porter, moved onto a Tripel Imperial, then a La Folie, a Plinny the Elder, and finally a bottle of 2001 Cantillon Lou Pepe. I returned to Toronado again and again to try more of their fantastic beers and often at pretty low prices (they have a great happy hour). Service was a bit strange. The first night I was in there it was packed and yet service was pretty good, albeit surly. The second time I was there the place was quite but there was no bartender. Seriously, the bartender was gone for more than ten minutes while four or five of us just sat waiting. Normally I would have left but not when I was anxiously awaiting some really killer beers. Quality is as high as it gets. The proper, usually brewery issued glassware is used for even the most obscure of beers. The atmosphere is tops. The place itself is punk rockish but the stuff on the walls is all beer related and the real deal, no kitsch. Hundreds of rare tap handles are proudly displayed as are dozens empty 3 liters from Duvel and other considerably more prized bottles. No food is served but they encourage bringing sausages in from next door. Toronado is an international beer drinkers destination and should be first on every BAs list of places to go in the Bay Area.
05-12-2006 19:59:15 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.88/5 rDev +14%
One of my favorite bars. More on the punk side of things and located in a somewhat crappy part of Haight, Toronado is one of the best beer bars in the country.
I walked in, raving and drooling and sat at the bar. I immediately asked if they had any Moonlight on-tap and the bartender pointed to the board. I felt like a child, mad with excitement over the coming experience. I snapped out of it to see so many great West Coast beers, ready for consumption.
The service was outstanding and the bartenders were not only friendly, but willing to give an out-of-towner like me a chance to sample practically everything! Of course, I rewarded their hospitality by dropping a load of cash on beer plus a great tip. They deserved it.
The crowd was a great mix of friendly people. Not much more to say.
Toronado isn't a beautiful bar and the neighborhood isn't great. But it's not dangerous either. Just use some common sense and you should be just fine. Enjoy!
05-10-2006 16:55:25 | More by TheLoneGunman
4.8/5 rDev +12.1%
On a recent trip to San Francisco, I met a cycling buddy and two BAs at Toronado. We got there a bit before 6:00 and I was amazed to find that our first order of four amazing beers, including a Blind Pig IPA and an Alaskan Smoked Porter, was $12 and change. We luckily caught the end of happy hour, but even after happy hour drink prices were very reasonable. The place is dark and loud, with beer memorobilia everywhere. The selection is absolutely incredible. Coming from a beer-deprived county, I was overjoyed to see Russian River, New Belgium brews other than Fat Tire, and a great selection of Belgians. I'll admit my beer travels are not extensive, but the only place I've seen that even comes close to this selection is Lucky Baldwin's. The service was prompt. In the middle of our session, we ran two doors down for some fantastic Indian food and then came back to finish the evening with a couple more beers. All in all, an experience that lived up to high expectations. Thanks to brewbacca and DaPeculiarDane for sharing some pints with us.
05-07-2006 23:27:05 | More by mickeymac
4.36/5 rDev +1.9%
Went to the Toronado after it was recommended to me by the owner of Naja's and the brewmaster at Hoptown. I took it that those were pretty damn good recommendations, so this must be a place I had to hit up.
Walked in the pub at around 10pm on a Saturday night. It was quite hoppin', but we still found a place to sit and sidled up to the bar to order a few pints.
I tried a few of the local beers and settled on a Moonlight Bombay by the Boat IPA and the Speakeasy Old Godfather. I also ended up trying the New Belgium 2 Below and the Full Sail Wreck the Halls. The place was rather crowded, so I didn't ask for too many tastes before deciding on what I wanted. They had a ton of Craft Brews on tap and most of them were pretty big beers. It was like heaven for beer drinkers.
The environment was full of men and seemed rather punky, but it was very comfortable. It didn't have that pick-up bar feel which is very nice. Nothing like going to a place with a bunch of meat heads bothering the hell out of you.
I don't know if there was food in the place, but I do know that you can order full on German sausage from the place next door. I don't eat meat, or else I would have tried it...it smelled rather good.
I would hit this place up anytime. Too bad I don't currently live in San Fran. If I did, the bar would know me by name.
04-20-2006 21:56:43 | More by PuckLSHS
Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 377 ratings.