1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
95
world-class

423 Ratings
Ratings: 423
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: n/a
Taps: 43
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: 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

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 423 | Reviews: 311
Photo of yourefragile
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped by a few times while in San Francisco for a week. By some brilliant stroke of luck both Pliny the Younger and The Abyss were on tap while i was there. Yikes!

Basically a small dive bar, well lit, interesting mix of people, cruddy unisex bathrooms. Everyone seemed friendly, nice place to drink a beer. Like last review said, appropriate glassware is used. Unlike other reviews, I did not find service to be terrible, but it wasn't overly friendly. There was some confusion at first with the wrong price being listed on the board for The Abyss but he warmed me before pouring so not really an issue.

Selection. Well, it's amazing. 60 odd taps and like I said before great selection of Deschutes and Russian River beers (which I spent my time on), also 4 or 5 on handpump. Didn't look over bottle list.

Great place, atmosphere and selection. I don't really have anything new to say about the place. If you're in SF and have the time this is a must visit.

Photo of Lothore
5/5  rDev +16.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

A- This seems to me to be the perfect bar in my mind. Awesome, dive type atmosphere, cool dogs roaming around, just an all around awesome vibe.

Q- Correct glassware, nice serving temp perfect in my book.

S- Quick service, and the bartender was super nice and very friendly.

S- A phenomenal selection of beers on tap ( When you have beers like Pliny the Younger, Blind Pig, Reality Czeck, the Abyss etc. on tap simultaneously you mush be doing something right.) Big bottle list as well. My only complaint was that they had every size of long sleeve shirt except medium and they have a pretty awesome shirt I wanted to buy, oh well, next time.

Photo of korndog
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Truly a great find. My wife and i were in town for a night and the next morning craving a beer bar. Took a cab to the obvious choice and were immediately in love with this musty old dump with a vibe that is unparalleled. We got lucky to find two seats sandwiched between a guy cutting out figures for some movies shit and a second generation flower child chick. Man was she ever the coolest. Anyway, fucking Pliny The Elder for breakfast? Yeah. I was in pig f'n heaven. I told my wife she might like the Reality czeck since it's gotten sch favorable reviews. Dude, I never thought I would see that shit on a menu. It was unreal; she flipped over it asking me to get some llagering gear to try and brew it. The dude behind the bar was a little rude at first, but my porn star wife had him eating out of the palm of her hand in no time. People were great and really into beer. I was told the the Younger would be out in a few weeks too. The smell of the room phenomenal too. Oh baby!

Photo of jp11801
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5

overall great place, as I live in the Bay Area I make it here about 3-5 times a month. This is the best bas with possibly the WORST service in town.
The atmosphere is typical hipster SF not bad and a good drinking environment. Old beer signs abounds as well as funny cartoon and bumper stickers plastered all over the walls.
The beer is well maintained and most importantly fresh as they have alot of taps but even more turnover.
The service is absolutely horrible and comical at times. The gentleman that works most days and wears the same pair of camo pants each and every time I go seems to have failed to observe any of the traits of any good bartender. THere os a women there that tends bar and she at least has a personality and also knows her beer. Unfortunately most days she is not there and I get obnoxious dude instead.
On to better things the selection is best in class with the best tap selection in a 300 mile radius and a killer Belgian selection in bottles.
Food is available next store grab a sausage next door you will not regret it.
This place is an outstanding value at Happy hour and I recommend it even with the spotty service

Photo of Schultz
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Being in San Francisco twice in the last few months I had the good fortune to stop in Toronado both times. No trouble for this out of towner to get to and return via public transportation. Atmosphere was as advertised slightly dinghy, surronded by old beer taps and Duvel bottles, hanging chalkboard with draft beer choices. I arrived for both visits on Saturday evenings around 5:00 and had no trouble getting a seat at the bar. Both times was served by a lady bartender who could not of been more attentive. She was friendly, attentive and never had me waiting for a beer. I did not expirience any of the service issues that I read about in previous reviews. Seemed to be all regulars during my visits who were friendly and eager to include me in their conversation.

Now on to the beer. What a selection! Over half the taps are devoted to local California breweries: Russian River, Anderson Valley,Moonlight,and Speakeasy to name a few. Rest of the taps were mostly belgiums. Impressive bottled beer list which i never tried as i concentrated on drafts that you can not get back east. I have found my new favorite microbrewerey, sorry Dogfish, in Russian River. Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, and Damnation were all excellant and I wish they were available back home. All beers were fresh and served in proper glassware. Can't beat the happy hour prices either. No food but right next door is a place with excellant cheap sausages which you can bring in to the bar. Only negative I found with Toronado is that they are cash only.

By far this was the best bar that I have found in San Francisco and in my top five nationally, almost as good as my hometown Max's. I will make it a point to return here every time i visit the bay area.

Photo of trumpetego
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Last night was my second visit to Toronado, and I felt moved enough by the experience to write a review here. My first visit to Toronado was about six months ago, during my last visit to San Francisco. This time I went on a Wednesday night with a friend from high school.
Toronado is a smallish establishment, with a bar taking up most of the right wall, tables on the left, and a few more tables in a room at the back. Last night the places wasn't crowded, but I could see it getting very cozy on a busy Friday or Saturday night.
Taps are listed on a board above the bar. The selection is excellent. A good selection of Northern California microbrews (Anchor, Russian River, Anderson Valley, Speakeasy, etc). This is rounded out by several Belgian brews (Lindemann's lambics, Chimay tripel, St. Feuillien Noel, Delirium, among others) and a few representative German beers, namely Schneider Weise, Aventius, and a few offerings by Franziskaner. My only complaint about the selection is that it lacked East Coast brews (Allagash? Victory? Dogfish Head?) and Southern California brews. At least on this night, Stone and Alesmith beers were notably absent from the taplist.
Prices were reasonable. The Belgian ales tended to be rather pricy, some approaching $10, but the California beers were all under $5. The German beers were probably the best value, averaging around $6. I'm used to seeing these for much more at East Coast bars.
Service was okay. The bartender was attentive and knowledgeable, but very busy. For some reason he was the only one working on this night. I will say that the bottle menu was a bit difficult to get a hold of. Toronado boasts one of the best bottle cellars in California, and I would think they would try to advertise that a little better.
There is no kitchen at Toronado, which is inconvenient. However there are several good restaurants in the immediate area, including Nann 'n' Curry, one of my favorite Indian places in San Francisco.

I highly recommend Toronado to anyone visiting or living in San Francisco. Just make sure you eat before going there. I will be in town for a few more weeks, and I intend to go back for another visit at least once before I venture back into the snowy East.

Photo of kleffman
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Finally got to enjoy some beers at this wonderful spot. After a lunch and a couple beers up at Magnolia Pub I headed down here to see what was on tap. I had no idea what to get because the selection was so extensive. Especially when you consider the bottle list, it's hard to decide. Ended up with a Pliny (can't go wrong) and an Affligem Noel. The bar tender was quick and did a great job. Pretty crowded for an off time, but it was Friday and it's the holidays so SF is in general a clusterf*ck. Plan to do some ruthless driving in order to get a spot. We basically had to bust a U right in front of the place and block traffic to pull into a just vacated spot.

Photo of Normrdz
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Visited on a tues around 1:00 pm, I will say it didn't look very appealing from the outside but I knew the rep it had so I walked in. About 35 people there at the time so finding a seat wasn't easy. After about 10 mins someone left and I found myself sitting at the corner of the bar, felt like home NORMMM! lol. Great selection of brews including 3 or 4 hand pumped brews.

I sat down and ordered a Pliny and the bartender said great choice!
I found out real quick that the Ca natives love their beer. While enjoying my Pliny I noticed some guy came up to the entrance and hollered a name and walked away so I asked the guy on the side of me, what the hell was that? He explained to me about the sausage rest. next door and suggested I order a "tuesday Hamburger" and I did.

People were very friendly and the hamburger was awesome. I ordered a hand pumped IPA and then a Death& taxes black. I enjoyed the visit would have loved to have stayed longer but couldn't miss TOOL! service was good, beers were excellent. I will visit again soon!

Photo of aforbes10
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Walked here from about 5 miles away and got there right at 11:30. The door wasn't open, and neither was the door for the apparantly awesome sausage place next door, so i went to a deli place two doors down. Had a Vegiie-duck sandwich whicn was great. At noon, i went to Toronado. Just 4 people in there, including the bartender. Didn;t see the tap list over the bar and so i took maybe too long looking over the taps for the bartender's liking. Ordered a RR Blind Pig, then a Damnation, then a Pliny the Elder....russian river day for me!...over the 2 hours i was there, the place filled up considerably. People with their dogs, lots of regulars who knew the bartender and each other. Friendly place, although in a community kind of way....i think you have to go in regularly to get the royal treatment. Still, an undeniably atmospheric place with fantastic taps. in addition to what i had, there were taps from Ommegang, Rochefort, Chimay, Anchor, Moonlight, Eggenberg (Samichlaus), more. Bathroom was memorable too, with many wise and profane writings adorning the wall. Left happy, and i think with a happy bartender, since i was apparantly the only person leaving tips for my beers.

Photo of Talisker
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5

What's to say about Toronado? I go to this place every chance I get - several times a month. If a beer lover can make only one stop in San Francisco, then the Toronado should be it.

But the place is far from perfect. It's dirty. Ventilation is poor. It's often hard to get a seat. The bartenders are efficient but not exactly friendly in the conventional sense. The music is annoyingly loud.

BUT the selection is absolutely sublime. 40+ taps of magic, and many dozens of otherwise unknown Belgian bottles on the often-overlooked menu. Clean lines for the tap beers, always the exactly correct glassware. Nothern CA standbys always available - Russian River Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig, Bear Republic Racer 5 and Hop Rod Rye, North Coast Old Rasputin, at least one from Moonlight (Reality Czech is your starting point, then Death & Taxes). Otherwise you're in the hands of a genuine beer master - hard to go wrong with anything on the wall.

You can get gourmet sausages next door and bring them over. Beer prices are not cheap (though $1 off pints during Happy Hour gets them close), but not extreme, either.

It's almost unnecessary to review. If you love beer, you must go to the Toronado. An important pilgrimage to an imperfect place.

Photo of Murchmac
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

What else do you say about a legend. For ten years i've had the pleasure of gracing this beer bar. The bartenders are surly, the beer amazing, and the atmosphere very male and punk rocky. Seeing as how i'm a beer drinking male this works out.

Things you may not know, they have meade, and it's not all that bad. Buy the hamburgers at rosamunde, (only on tuesdays do they serve them, you'll wait for 45 minutes but the burgers are good!) and bring it in to the toronado.

This is a cant miss if you visit san francisco, bring cash because they dont accept visa.

Photo of t0rin0
3.31/5  rDev -22.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5

During my last trip to SF my brother and I walked here on account of nothing going our way. Speakeasy, 21st ammendment, and city beer were closed and healthy spirits was sold out of what I wanted. This is of course after I had dislocated my shoulder the day before and we had just spent 2 hours driving around SF on account of bad directions supplied by yahoo, not to mention the car broke down in front of healthy spirits. So anyway, during our 3 hour wait for AAA we hiked to the toronado and tried a few beers. A few beers turned into 10 half pints each.

This place has quite a selection on tap. It wasn't necesarily the quantity that impressed me but the beers they had. Got to try Pliny The Elder as well as Blind Pig and Marin's White Knuckle. All good stuff. The place was decorated nicely with tap handles all over the walls. They had a football game on tv and they played a number of Metallica songs, my kind of place. I didn't notice if they even served food there but what I did notice was the bartenders. They ignored us and when I had to yell to get some service after waiting for 15 minutes to get a beer, they gave me crap. Not sure what it was but I really think these guys were a bunch of A-holes. Everything else about the place was good though, good beer, good prices, good people, and good atmosphere.

Photo of bboven
5/5  rDev +16.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Wow. This place is what I hope heaven is like. Dark but not dreary with a collage of decor covering every inch of open wall. It seemed like there were at least a hundred very local beers available. There were ridiculously rare beers available; I had a cask conditioned Anchor Porter for crying out loud! I think it cost all of $3. It's small and cozy, they only take cash, and did I mention that they have tons of unique beers available? There were multiple cask ales and a staff that was busy but friendly and immersed in the beer they served. You have to come here if you only get to one place in San Fransisco. And get a DD or cab, because you'll be there for a while.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I visited this place three days in a row recently, in both daylight and nighttime hours. It does get crowded, the place is definitely a dive, and the bartenders take some getting used to. That being said, I never had a problem squeezing up to the bar and eventually grabbing a stool. It is one of the biggest dives you've evr seen, but in a good way. Graffiti all over the walls, mostly of the punk, metal, and beer variety; lots of great beer knicknacks, bottles, and tap handles, and comfortable. Although the bartanders come off a little gruff, they are not surly- in fact they are pretty nice people who are willing to serve you promptly (assuming you know what you want) and answer intelligent questions about beer. They admittedly don't have patience with a question like "What's an ipa?"- they are simply too busy to bother. I like all of them that I met, and one even bought me a beer simply because he recognized me from the day before. What's not to like? The real reason to come here is the taps- outstanding selection of brews, mot of which are simply not available in other beer bars in the city. It is the special relationship that bars like this craft with breweries and the extra efffort that they make to bring in brews not usually distributed in the area that cause a bar to be ranked among my favorites. The week I was in I had several of the anniversary brews, Allagash Interlude, something from Alpine, several Moonlights, Russian Rivers, and La Folie- all on tap. It's true that there is no food, but both the sausage place (especially) and the pizza joint are excellent and will plate your food for the bar. In my opinion, the place to visit in San Francisco, and one of my favorite beer bars anywhere.

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

came during the day, so i wouldn't be overwelmed by the crowds that come here at night.

nice and dark, a bit dingy, say dive ish, how i like it.

service seems to fluctuate, they have alot of regulars, so you might become lost in the mix. i had a lady who i believe is married to the owner? she was a sweet person, and made my time there that much better. very motherly yet could smash a bottle on your face at a moments notice. nice. she bought me a beer when she made me "wait too long" which i insisted was not too long, but hey, who i am to argue.

selection is great if you are looking for west coast beers. which you probably are here. they have some good non native stuff, but its mostly cali-centric. i tried a lot of beers i had never seen before, being from new england. i didn't look at their bottle list but i know its great from previous glimpses. i saw a michael jackson beer for sale, which was a huge bummer because that was the first i heard about his passing, since he died the day after i left for vacation.

food doesn't exists from them, but the sausages next door, as everyone knows, are amazing. the pizza to the right however, was barely edible. maybe i had a bad pie. who knows.

overall, again if you get here during the afternoon, you can take advantage of happy hour, which is ridiculously cheap.

do it already.

Photo of drseamus
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Don't judge a book by it's cover. If you do, you'd think that the Toronado was a shithole. Check the beer list and you'll be singing a different tune. The bottle list is great, but pales in comparison to Mahar's. The draft list is pretty amazing though. They had a bunch of Russian River and Laguintas and some other local breweries including Pizza Port. They also have a pretty decent Belgian beers draft list. I had great conversations with the people sitting on both sides of me and had a great time all around.

Photo of trevorwideman
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

It's all true, everything everybody said. This is a dive to be sure, but I'm not sure that I really cared with that many beers on tap that I could never see near my hometown. The beer that there was was of good quality and much of it was local. The Moonlight offerings were high on my list of drinking priorities. For a busy bar I did get served fast, but know what you want before you order, there's no patience for hemming and hawing. The tap selection is exceptional, as expected. Anybody visiting SF on a beer excursion will not be disappointed.

Photo of dedrinker
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

This place is a total dive. Dimly lit, stained and greasy - if it weren't for the vast tap selection I would have immediately assumed this place was exclusively for washed up, seedy men in their fifties and deluded tourists and naive beer pilgrims. Actually - it is all that, and it has a vast tap selection. At least the bar is in the lower Haight, as the upper Haight is where the most egregious tourism and phoney-baloney hippie nonsense is happening. I finally made it to Toronado after visiting a lot of other bars and brewpubs, so by the time I arrived, most of the beers were either ones I have available in my hometown, or ones I had already had at other bars/ brewpubs in the area/ region. I will repeat: The tap selection was very good. If you are only visiting a few bars, I guess this is a good one. If you're going to be in the Bay Area for three weeks (like I was) then you can find plenty of better things to do.

Photo of chelovek
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Set in the Lower Haight district of SF one will find the Toronado. The place is relatively small, a simple hall like building with a bend at the end for a little more additional seating. The bathrooms provide for some entertainment with some witty banter scribbled on the walls (I guess that would count towards the atmosphere?) Upon entering the joint one looks above the main over hang to find out what is currently on tap. A nice touch I wish more bars would do as opposed to me craning my neck every which way to find out what the hell is on tap in a busy place. It is especially useful at the Toronado considering some of the tap handles are located behind a door in the bottle storage area.

Visited the place twice, Sunday afternoon and later on a Tuesday night. Was surprised to find the place packed with people on both occasions considering the weekday action. Despite the dense crowd though, service was prompt and friendly as long as one knew what one was getting. It appeared that if you hesitated on your order the guy would move on which was another touch I personally enjoyed. The selection was pretty great, well great if you love Moonlight and Russian River as I most certainly do. Selection represented all the major tastes and one could easily find something that is to their supreme liking on the tap list. Tap prices were very reasonable; the bottle selection seemed a bit steep for the Belgian ales. Point being; stick with the cheep amazing pints dummy.

I really enjoy these semi divy/great beer selection places. This is a must if in the SF area. Hats off to the Toronado

Photo of Damian
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

I visited Toronado on a bright, sunny, weekday afternoon but the atmosphere inside would have been no different had it been a rainy winter evening. Toronado is dark, gloomy, dive-y and it reeks of stale beer (I was able to make the "reeking of stale beer" assessment even before entering the establishment). Once inside, I grabbed a seat at the bar. I had heard various accolades about Toronado, but thus far was skeptical. When I assessed the tap list overhead, my skepticism relinquished. In addition to the heralded Pliny the Elder, they also were pouring Alpine Pure Hoppiness, Russian River Blind Pig IPA and Moonlight Brewing Reality Czech, along with fifteen or so other "better than average" beers. The bartender was not exactly friendly (what else would you expect from a place like this?), but he was attentive and helpful with my questions. I decided to try the Pliny and it was terrific. What was possibly even more terrific was the price - $3! (They run weekday happy hour specials. All beers on tap are $1 off the original price.) Before I left, I purchased a bottle of Russian River Temptation to go (I wish bars in New England allowed you to "buy and carry" as well). The bottle was stickered with an "02" denoting the batch number. Nice touch. Speaking of the bottle list, it was relatively small but stacked with high quality (mostly regional) beers. In addition to the Temptation, they also had Russian River Supplication and some other limited release brews. Simply put, if you consider yourself a beer geek, you MUST make at least one pilgrimage to this West Coast gem. Just be sure to hold your nose on the way in.

Photo of koolchas
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

visited toronado a few times during my business trip to san francisco the week of july 8th.

i don't know why but, it seems like the top beer bars in california are equated with a good amount of "filth" .... lol!

but, all decor and atmosphere aside, when it comes to good beer, toronado delivers. about 40 taps were available and not one bmc!

this was actually my first stop when i arrived on a sunday. i enjoyed a few glasses of russian river damnation. then, i saw a brew i never heard of before; casey jones dipa (from iron springs brewery). i asked the guy who was the only pourer about it and he had no clue about the brew but, a guy sitting at the bar was cool enough to tell me all about it (although he would 'hic-up' between his sentences - yeah, dude was drunk and that's probably why a conversation started as the cliente was pretty much oozing with attitude that i just shrugged off). was really impressed with casey jones - a nice brew and if dipa is your style you want to try this if at toronado. a made second visit tuesday after having dinner/drinks with co-workers at magnolia about two miles up the haight. the russian river damnation was calling for me!

toronado pours brews in proper glassware which is a great plus. on my visits i actually had really good service. my sunday visit my brew was a $1-$2 cheaper than what was on the board so, i guess i may have caught a sunday happy hour or the drinks on sunday are just cheaper. tuesday was normal price.

as many have said, this place is full of dust of grime. but hey, it's the lower haight right?

food ... no food but, many were walking in/out going next door and bringing food in (as already mentioned).

atmosphere is nothing to rave about. the bar caters to mostly a local crowd and "huppies" - yuppies trying hard to be like hippies instead of being themselves. on walking i felt like a bit of an "outsider" despite the fact i am an ex-resident of san francisco before moving to so-cal 3 years ago. but, i expected this (neighborhood sf establishments can be very territorial) and had no problem drinking good beer sitting off to the side viewing the wall of dusty bottles and taps.

toronado ... a sure spot indeed. in my case, i'd go back for the beer despite the attitude of most of the crowd since i can ignore it and shrug it off. come of sf folks (i used to be one!), smile sometimes and be a bit more friendly and welcoming!

Photo of msubulldog25
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Paid Toronado a visit on July 3, 2007.

I spied the crowd from a block away, milling about on the sidewalk. I knew this place is popular but I'm not prepared for this. 1:30pm? on a Tuesday??? Granted it's the 4th of July holiday, so lots of people taking an early day off, I'm thinking. Then it hits me, a cloud of smoky grilled goodness, coming not from Toronado (where no food is served), but from Rosamunde, the sausage shop next door. I stopped in there first for a Tuesday cheeseburger, but I'd missed the last one by just minutes. Ordered a wild boar sausage, received it in under 5 minutes (versus the wait of up to an hour for a burger) and headed next door to my true destination...

All the tables lining the left half of the bar were full, as the bar appeared to be also. I found one lone stool vacant at the furthest end of the bar by the restrooms and walk-in cooler so I took it and started to unwrap my lunch. No sooner had I settled in I got a genuinely nice reception from the bartender and ordered a pint of the Moonlight Reality Czeck without missing a beat. Beer in one hand, sausage in the other, all good.

Yeah, this place has character alright, tons of it. It's dark towards the back, smells of stale beer and cleaning supplies. The bathroom was my first stop after claiming a spot at the bar, and words do not do them justice. Borderline 'Health Department Shutdown'-level unsanitary and covered with the scrawlings of countless drunks, it's best to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Back in the bar, there's beer stuff everywhere. Dusty taps hang above by the hundreds, some newer ones, some old but familiar ones and some long-forgotten. Signs and stickers and photos of all sorts fill every square inch of space on the walls, including banners dangling from the ceiling. One wall is lined with Duvel magnums and the shelves behind the bar are filled with all sorts of glassware, arranged somewhat randomly by shape and style. The eclectic mix of music ranged from 60's rock to blues to metal to punk, just loud enough to be in control when the crowd noise threatened it. In a cave-like den off the main room near where I sat, amidst the stacks of spent kegs, rested a tired, lonely-looking dog sprawled on the bare floor. Too grimy and dark to rate 'exceptional', but certainly layered with character(s)...

A large sign above the room lists the 40-odd taps available. The draught choices are split about 75/25% between CA/West Coast craft brewers and Europeans. Of the US ones, some were familiar to me (Lagunitas, Anchor, Stone, Anderson Valley, Deschutes...) and a few that I knew by name/reputation (Russian River, Moonlight, Drake's...). The Euro beers were a nice collection of Belgians, Germans, and UK for the most part. Somewhere there was a list of bottles, but I never saw it; honestly I was too intrigued by what was on tap. Prices were very reasonable, with all day 'Happy Hour' pints at just $2.75. After 6pm when the discounts conclude, rates jump to $3.75 for the cheapest taps to $7.50 for the priciest stuff like de Ranke Guldenberg and Silly La Divine.

In previous reviews, I'd read service could be, at times, horrible. I'll say I was pleasantly surprised in this category. Knowing what I wanted for that first pour helped, because at the time the place was packed. As the lunch crowd thinned, the place took on a more neighborhood vibe. The bartender, Johnny, was definitely a skilled veteran of his trade, coolly greeting many patrons by name, making small talk while still constantly filling glasses up and down the bar. Every glass was presented with a "cheers", lots of "thanks", "appreciate it" and "have a good one". He was a one-man show and was great at his job.

Stayed for a total of three beers, adding another Moonlight (Death & Taxes) and Russian River's Damnation. With tips, it was only about $10 to spend a great 90 minutes at Toronado, easily one of the best bars I've ever visited. Highly recommended when in San Francisco/Lower Haight!

Photo of largadeer
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Toronado is one of the most well-known and oft-mentioned craft beer bars in San Francisco, and for good reason. The selection of beers on tap is probably the best in the city - 50 or so in total, with a great mix of Belgians, American micros (mostly Californian) and other quality imports. You'll frequently find top-notch stuff here, namely a good variety of brews from Russian River, Firestone Walker, Moonlight and the like.

The atmosphere is characterful. It's dark, dark, smelly dive that's loaded with old breweriana. It's got a certain charm to it, I'll give it that. While not a huge place, the bar itself is fairly large and there are quite a few tables, so it's usually not terribly difficult to find a seat unless you go on a really busy night.

Prices are excellent, cheapest in the city hands down for the quality. $3 pints during happy hour simply can't be beat. Food isn't available at the bar itself, but it's sandwiched in between a pizza place and a sausage place (both of which are great). You're welcome to bring your food into the bar as long as you clean up after yourself.

Service is a mixed bag; usually it's excellent, occasionally slow and inattentive, it really depends on the bartender.

Photo of adowney523
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped by the Toronado a couple times on my visit to San Francisco. I sat at the long bar, which extends into the back of the bar. There is also another room with tables. I enjoyed the atmosphere very much. I was surrounded by people who seemed very knowledgable about beer.

The beer selection is a mix of Belgians and other imports, lots of California beers, and a few others mixed in there. I loved the good selection of locals. Service was fast and very friendly, and the bartenders seemed very knowledgable about what they were serving. Prices were reasonable, especially during happy hour, which I think is all afternoon. I will have to come back the next time I am in the area.

Photo of 0tt0
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

When visiting SF, this was the hands-down most recommended beer joint in town. The Haight Street dive is dingy in an oh-so-welcoming sort of way. Dark, but with big windows that allow the happy hour light in. A couple of dogs roam the building, which sits well with me.

The big board lists their available drafts, which features West Coast locals, world favorites, and the usual suspects. Selection was solid, if not spectacular. However, as a guy who can't regularly get Russian River, being able to sample both Pliny and Damnation was a treat...


I love the bar overall, but the service is shit. Bartender was a stoic, silent automaton who took his artificial poser attitude too seriously. Questions about where a beer comes from will be greeted with responses like "a brewery." Not my kind of guy. Beer people generally like to talk about the stuff, so why employ a silent prick to serve it?

The sausage place next door was really good. I would reccomend it a bit more than the bar. If it weren't for Pliny, I would suggest Zeitgeist over Toronado any day.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 423 ratings.