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Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
95
world-class

402 Ratings
Ratings: 402
Reviews: 307
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:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 402 | Reviews: 307 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of bosco7
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

First time visiting the Toronado on a Saturday night.

I walk through the door and am overwhelmed by the amount of people stuffed in the place. It took five minutes to get our first beer. After twenty or so minutes passed a couple of seats opened up near the bouncer (a female sporting a Hop Rod Rye t-shirt that was kicking some serious ass that night). The bar is a bit rough around the edges (the restrooms are down right third-world) but full of character.

The selection and quality of beers served on tap and in bottles are top notch. 40 or 50 taps with anything from Russian River's Pliny the Elder to St. Bernardus Abt 12. Upwards of a 100 bottles (a lot of vintage stuff too).

Got pretty good service that was certainly speedy. Wish I could ask one of the bartenders about a couple beers but it was way too loud to carry on a conversation about beer.

No food; but there are plenty of restaurants around. We had pizza by the slice next door (very tasty by the way).

Overall this pub is exceptional in quality and selection however it is very popular. I'll visit again but on a weekday.

Photo of Maerzen
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Toronado is a great place to sample a lot of difficult to find beer, especially from the west coast. After work on a weekday or all weekend expect to find a boisterous bar. Not somewhere to go if you want a quiet place to reflect or have an intimate conversation (unless you go in the early afternoon on a weekday). The staff can be a little gruff at times but for the most part they are very helpful and knowledgeable. This is the Lower Haight after all, which prides itself at being a little gruff at times. I've been there late at night and have never had any problems. As with any big city, be aware.

There isn't any food at Toronado but one of the best sausage counters I have ever been to is right next door - Rosamunde. Toronado will gladly let you bring any food in.

Finally, Toronado is known for being a great beer destination. Because of this many brewers have special nights and there are many festivals and tastings throughout the year. A must.

Photo of Poppypitbull
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I've read about this place, I've heard raves from people too.

But on a recent visit to San Fran I was fortunate enough to go here and as I was getting out of the cab, the driver seemed to question my judgment about going into the neighborhood this bar is located in. Make no mistake about it, this is a shady area and this bar fits right in. It's not someplace I would go at night again. My wife and I got in there, had a beer and got the heck out before the sun went down.

With that said, the beer selection is insane, the staff is very good (but swamped) and the vibe inside the 1/2 door you walk in to was great. the dusty Duvels on the wall are cool, the stickers are amusing and the people inside the bar were all social and cool to hang with. They don't have food but you can go next door and get stuff to bring over with you, which is cool.

Again I stress, it's what goes on outside... I'd go back in a heartbeat but next time I am going during the day time!

Photo of willjschmidt
4.28/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I visited the Toronado for the first time yesterday. I was a little worried after reading some of the reviews on here. I was expecting an absolute dump with rude bartenders and a phenomenal beer selection. I was very pleased to discover that it wasn't nearly as bad as some people made it out to be.

The atmosphere is that of a dive bar. The walls are covered with magnums, labels, coasters, beer signs, old tap handles, etc. It is dimly lit but not as bad as I expected. I went in on 6PM on a Sunday and the front room was full but the back was empty. We were able to go into the back room and have a conversation at normal voice levels. It's not the cleanest place you'll ever see but it's not bad. The clientele was just your regular 30-something year old lower Haight San Franciscans. Again, nothing bad about this at all. There was also a dog in the bar which was kind of cool.

I can only review the service from a sample size of one. When I went to the bar the bartender came right over and took my order. She wasn't exactly friendly but she was fine. No problems here at all.

The selection is simply amazing. Around 45 beers on tap, lots of local stuff and imported Belgians and Germans. This is why people come here. All in all I would say that it was a good experience. I will definitely be stopping in whenever I can.

Photo of weeare138
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

How lucky was I to actually end up here during happy hour? Drinks were a buck off! Score!
We caught a cab from our hotel to this place. I told the Russian cabby to take me to the Toronado and he didn't know what the hell I was talking.about. I gave him the address and we were on our way through a few rough neighborhoods to our destination.
Upon entereing the waist-high stable door to the bar, the mixed crowd of local business men, punk rockers, biker dudes carries on their own conversations. There's no snobbery going on in this place. Plenty of dusty Duvel magnums covered in dust line the railing along the wall. Retired taphandles and stickers are all over the place. Grime lines the faux, dark tiled floors that look like they were made for industrial use. The bar, itself, is cool. Stainless steel with seams showing, making it seem very industrial.
The people sitting next to us were friendly. One guy was a Boston transplant who now lives locally. The other guy took his dog in with him and nobody seemed to mind.
The quality of the beers were all in top shape. Nothing out of line and despite the grunginess of the overall establishment, things were clean behind the bar.
The service was helpful. He even made a recommendation when I asked for one. Good stuff too.
The selectioin... I counted 48 on tap and 87 in the bottle...all quality stuff.
The bathroom says a lot about some of the clientele with the rantings scribbled on the walls and the way it's left. I normally don't read the stuff but it seems that people are very angry at certain things and the sheer disregard of the mess left behind(it's a unisex restroom) makes me want to use a different restroom altogether. Ouch. This is a hardcore bathroom that reminds me of a roadside stop frequented by truck drivers.
Other than that, this place kicks ass and serves up San Fran's finest brew selection.

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

Took the BART from Walnut Creek to the city to try out Toronado with my brother and a few friends. The place is awesome. Had a big Chimay sign hanging out onto the street that caught my attention from a block away. When I went inside I was floored by the amount of memorabilia on the walls. Taps, bottles, taps, and taps. The draft selection was excellent, although my brother, a local who frequents often said that it was a bit weaker than usual. I started with a pint of Drakes IPA on the beer engine before I noticed the big red circle tap handle. Pliny the Elder! I quickly grabbed a pint, then another. And for $3.50 during happy hour! I can't wait for the next time I am in the Haight district. Oh, and the sausage shop next door is incredible and the T lets you bring food in. Awesome.

Photo of xychromosome
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I was at Toronados last week (4/20/07) and loved it. What more do you want in a beer bar? Some of the best beer anywhere, located in a neighbourhood full of characters, next to a place that specializes in sausages, and beer at only $3.75?! I remember having drakes IPA of the hand pump, pliny the elder, Death and taxes, Blind Pig, Spud Boy and a lambic from New Belgium. That and a smoked lamb sausage from next door, talk about Beer-Vana!

The only drawback I could see is if you wanted someplace to go for a quiet pint in a relaxed surroundings. This place was packed the Friday night I was there and it's a little rough around the edges. Like others have said, the servers aren't that friendly but they are quick and they know their stuff.
I'm definitely looking forward to going back!

Photo of jreitman
4.58/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Toronado is one of the few gems in the beer wasteland that is downtown San Francisco. The beer selection is among the best I have seen. Rosamunde sausage grill, next door, provides very good sausage sandwiches that they will let you bring into the bar which is a nice touch. The only negative thing I have to say about the place is the clientele at times. Being in the lower haight, it gets locals coming in and some of these locals are only there to get plastered and be asses (like you would find in any neighboorhood pub). If you want to drink your beer in a quieter environment, go during the afternoon on the weeked or on one of the slower weeknights.

Photo of commie
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I try to get to the Toronado everytime I go to SF. They don't have food. A bummer for some, but I don't mind. They let you bring pizza in. They do have the most excellent selection of Northern CA beer, and as an outsider, it was nice to try a tasty double IPA that I cannot get "back east." There beer is fresh too. It's the only bar that I have seen Pliny in. Sometimes there is a dog at the bar that drinks beer, but I didn't see it the last time I went there. It's not the friendliest bar, and the patrons seem to be a touch depressed in this place. The prices are fantastic. I am used to being charged rather high prices by the Boston beer bars, and the prices are a nice surprice. San Francisco weather is perfect for drinking California IPAs, and this place won't disapoint the Cali IPA fans. They have a few Belgians, but it isn't their strong suit.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Toronado has always been on my list of places to hit. I was lucky enough to find my way here on the Sunday of Barleywine fest. Walking in, the bar spreads out on the right with tap and cask lists posted above the bar. There were some seats on the left and in the back room but I stayed up front. I have heard this described as a dive bar, but that is not accurate. I would call it a bar that pulls a diverrse crowd. I saw everything from pierced and tattooed folks to preppy kids enjoying good beer togrther. The bartenders were all pretty much the tattooed and pierced crowd. They were all prompt and never let my glass go empty even with a massive crowd on hand. I was solo but managed to chat up some folks, even finding some people that knew someone in my field that I knew. Being there for barleywine fest, I know that the selection was not typical, but even the non-barleywine beers available were superb. I never had to wait more than a minute to get a beer. I have to say that I have been to some good bars in my time but this one really stands out to me in all aspects. I only wish I had looked at their bottle list.

Photo of Delerium
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Walked in yesterday, back to the old haunt, first time as a BA. meet Stewart who was tending bar, along with Tim and his lady friend who were a couple of beer savy patrons.
the beer selection was great, as always, and the bartender bought all my beers (I bought about $350.00 in tshirts and hoodies). Me and the wife took turns going inside whilst the other one stood outside entertaining our daughter.
We drank:
delerium tremens
Lindemans Framboise
Russian FRivers Triple IPA
All were served appropriately, and perfectly. I'm sendind down a big box of goodies as soon as I get back home.

Photo of jim102864
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Visited this place twice this week while in San Francisco on business. If you're a beer geek, it simply shouldn't matter that it's not a neighborhood of classic Victorian homes. It's working class, not a ghetto like other reviewers seem to imply. Smaller even than I read about, but the beer selection is simply the best in the City. Yeah, it's a dive bar, but precisely the atmosphere that blares San Francisco. It's a "fuck you" atmosphere, both literally and figuratively (see the "fuck off" and "tip, you bastards" bumper stickers on the wall behind the bar) but in a tongue in cheek kind of way. If you're intimidated by the blue collar feel, you're missing the point. The bartenders are experts about their craft. If you're polite and treat them with courtesy, they'll keep 'em coming. Now granted, I visited early afternoon on both days, but there was no blaring punk, only Rush played at a level that still afforded good conversation. When I asked the bartender, a 50-ish London transplant why Rush?, he replied it was his favorite band as a kid. Mine too which prompted him to give me a freebe glass of Urthel Hop It, which I have never been able to get on tap anywhere in the Northeast. The German owners of Urthel were there too handing out free samples on Monday. Love the hot blonde wife, but I digress. I focused exclusively on Cal micros and whatever Belgians they had on tap. Lagunita's Brown Shugga, Speak Easy's Big Daddy IPA, Moonlight's Toast, Russian River's Pliny the Elder. Also St Bernardus' Grottenbier. Did the beer sausage from next door too, just to round out the experience. I will definitely be back.

Photo of mjc410
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

I visited here on 12/4/06. The walk back to downtown was a doozy...

I wandered in hoping to use credit, but found that the place was cash-only. Oh well, I had enough cash for two beers, and they were excellent. I had both Anchor OSA and AK Smoked Porter, served in shaker pints. The service was a bit slow, despite not much of a crowd.

I liked the atmosphere the most: the left wall was covered with dozens of 5L Duvel bottles. And from chest level to the ceiling are hundreds of old tap handles. The place was incredibly dusty, but that adds charm for some reason.

I didn't try any food, but there is a place selling sausage sandwiches next door, which the bar staff doesn't mind if you bring in. They smelled incredible.

Highly recommended if ever in SF - it was the highlight of my trip.

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

I dropped in for the first time around Thanks Giving for a few beers after dealing with the airlines and the family. It's a dive bar ... no "ands", "ifs", or "butts" about it, but I loved it. Pretentious beer snobs beware, for this is the house that Joe Beer built! The attitude of the bar and customers is very laid back with some very interestingly dressed/illustrated bartenders ... my kind of crowd! Unlike some of the reviews I have read, both of the bartenders who waited on me were very welcoming and helpful (though a bit slow and the place was empty) once we had some beers in mind. There are quite a few great beers on tap, though it’s dominated by local brews (and that’s not a bad thing … esp. for Hop Heads). One rare tapping is from Magnolia's. Not sure if they always have a keg available, but it's one of the very few places in SF that carries their beer.
The bar itself is dark and dingy ... gives one the feel of a true neighborhood bar in the Haight. Hundreds of tap handles previously featured at Toronado line the walls, bar, door frames, ceiling, etc. with hundreds more laying in boxes out back (according to our bartender). It's a courier / punk / metal / yuppie crowd that is all pretty friendly, but like most of SF’s folks, they keep to themselves.
I didn't try any food and I'm not really sure if they serve any. Doesn’t look like a place I’d actually eat, but who knows?! Though I must say, the 5 second rule should definitely not apply here with these floors!
All in all, a great beer tasting experience for me and my buddy. We were able to try some great locals that we haven’t had the opportunity to taste on the East Coast and I was able to get a nice thick pint of Lagunitas' Cappuccino Stout on tap! Good times!! A definite go to bar for all beer lovers ... even the ascot / cardigan sporting ones!

Photo of CRJMellor
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

What a long, strange trip it's been . . .
Been trying to hit this place for about 4 years but in the numerous visit to SF just has not worked. This visit with a little free time so we make it down at about 8:00 on a Sunday night. Pretty small crowd as you enter what looks like a converted barn door. Getting in the place is very strange indeed as the neighborhood seems to be some-sort of cross between hippie-cool, preppy pretentious and downright drity-biker scary. Some really strang folks walking the streets, but I digress . . .
Adjust to the farily dark room and the pounding thrash metal that is blaring from a hidden sound system and boom find myself staring at a huge tap list high on the wall ablve my head. Let's see Russian River, yes, Moonlight, yes, host of others domestics and foreing alike which would make any BA happy.
Long story short, savored my way throuhg 4 pints,had a conversation with a Hell's Angel and a guy I'm pretty convinced was either the next Unabomber and a nobel laureate and I was off for home for the night.
Phenomenal beer bar, make the pilgrimage, best beer bar I've been to in the USA.
Only one complaint, please turn down the music. It's OK if you want to play loudy, shite music just please don't make all of us paying customers listen to it.

Photo of Goldorak
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

You know what we’ve noticed? Not a lot of fat people in San Fran. Pretty easy to figure out why, those damn steep hills will keep the weight off anyone who has to walk up and down this roller coaster of a town. We walked from the farmer’s market in the Embarcadero to the Anchor Brewery where we had a tour booked, and even though the mission and lower haight were not too far away, we took a bus to Toronado. We ended up getting off at the wrong stop, and walked another hour uphill anyways in the sort of crusty neighborhood it happens to be in. So my energy and alcohol levels were getting pretty low. I almost tripped over the off-white wooden half-door as I walked in.

If ever they wanted to give an illustrated example of a dive bar in the dictionary, a picture of this place would be perfect. Old and warn, dusty and dirty, with a few salty dogs sitting at the bar, and an actual dog begging to have a piece of those sausages cooked next door. Lots of knick-knacks and memorabilia were scattered all over the bar area, each one probably with an interesting story to go with it. And my girlfriend didn’t like the place at all, a genuine endorsement of dive bar authenticity if there ever was one.

We sat down in the booth section in the back and to the left, which is a little more intimate compared to the clamor and music on the other side. No service at the tables, so I took a look at the impressive list on the board and went for a Moonlight Twist of fate on cask. Service was fine, I didn’t get any attitude, dirty looks or any sign of patronizing from the bartender. Not that I tried to extract a conversation from the guy, I just ordered my pints, paid and took them to my seat. I did however later asked for a T-shirt, he said kind of dryly “no”. I asked why not, there seems to be a large one right there, and he showed it to me and smiled, it was a girlie T. Oups…

After a short while Francisweizen showed up after work as well as Hey_Kevin, a RB guy who I met at the airport (he spotted my Dieu du Ciel T-shirt). Francis made me try a Russian River Beatification, holy crap was it good. In fact every pint and bottle we had was top notch. In a dive bar, the only things that should be clean are the Beer lines and fridges, and it seems to be the case here. And the selection is great, and I’ve been told that turnover is pretty fast, so there’s always something new and interesting on.

Don’t be intimidated, go there and have a good time. One of my top-5 beer experiences of my 2006 California tour. As hard as it is to be fat in this town, I’d still manage to sport a respectable Beer gut if I lived close enough to this bar. But I’d have to reside close enough not to go up any sharp inclines, so that would narrow it down to the same block. Maybe those sausage guys will let me crash next to the grill after they close up…

Photo of anchored
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

this is the best place i have ever drank beer in my life, i came in for 1 beer and didnt end up leaving for 6 hours. happy hour is the time to come and pick up a wild boar sausage next door. great place and one that i will visit again! the bartenders personalities are questionable but they serve the beer up with minimal complaints and are fast considering the sizeable amount of people they serve . a great place to drink and expand your beer horizions. also its worth noting the memphis minnies down the street and the rosemeade sausages are the best grub to eat when in at a bar session and they encourage you to bring them in.

Photo of instrumentality
4/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon (labor day weekend), and the place quickly became mobbed after we arrived. The decor was worn out and plastered with stickers, the music was loud (mostly punk and metal as far as I could tell), the bathroom was filthy (to the point where contributing graffiti seemed to be a tradition), and the service, while attentive, wasn't exactly delivered with a smile. However, after reading about the "beer nazi" mentality, the service was as I expected, and the environment got the message across very well - this place was all about hanging out and drinking good beer.

Awesome tap selection - in the neighborhood of 40-50 quality brews on tap (no crap), including a number of IPA's and a few Belgians. I could have spent my entire 4-day trip there, but given that I was seeing San Francisco with my girlfriend, I had to be selective in my consumption. Since I decided to nix the 5-hour round-trip bus journey to Santa Rosa/Russian River, I devoted my visit to RRBC brews. The Blind Pig IPA lived up to the hype. The Damnation wasn't as good as I remembered it from the bottle, but still drinkable. My girlfriend had a Lindeman's Framboise and her first draught New Belgium 1554. Overall, we were both happy with our selections. We cut ourselves off after a couple of brews so we could hop over to the Magnolia brewery down the street and try some more.

We must have been there during happy hour or something, because while the Blind Pig and Framboise were $9 and change together, the 1554 and Damnation were only $6 together, although the latter two were clearly posted as being $4 apiece on the menu.

The food menu we saw consisted of several different kinds of sausage made with meats ranging from pork to beef to duck, and even one vegetarian option. We weren't hungry, so we passed, but I'm curious about the duck sausage.

Someday I'll have to go back and prepare my liver for much more extensive consumption. This place is a beer advocate's dream, and I sense that no trip to SFO is complete without a visit to Toronado.

Photo of rayjay
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5

PROS:
-Lots of taps (40+-), constantly rotating, "no crap on tap"
-Loud punk rock music (old people may rate this a con)
-Lots of awesome Bay Area breweries represented: El Toro, RR, Speakeasy, Drake's, Anchor, Trumer, etc
-Always several IPA's and 2xIPA's (Pliny, Deuce, Double Daddy...), served in pints (I was once served a Pliny the Younger in a pint!!??!!!)
-Always several Belgians on tap (Duchesse, Cantillon, Chimay White, Saison Dupont, etc)
-Proper glassware, no frosted mugs
-Great bottle selection
-No food, but you can bring your own (best sausage and best fallafels in the city are on the same block)
-Clean tap lines with freshly tapped kegs
-A few hand pumps with real cask ale

CONS:
-Excellent example of a dive bar
-Commonly smells of vomit
-Bartenders, although usually tolorable, can be total assholes. Especially the short guy with the sideburns. Tone down the anger, guys, that effects your tip in case you didn't notice.
-Dark and dingy
-Can be crowded and hard to find a seat
-Shady neighborhood after dark
-It can take an hour to park around here
-Shit happens there, like the time I kicked a keg of Cantillon. Tons of foam, what little beer there was was practically white with sediment. Bartender still charged me $8 and insisted that was what the beer was supposed to be like (funny, 30 minutes earlier I had a glass from the same keg and it poured fine). F that guy.

Well, it looks like the pros win so I'll be back!!!!

Photo of clickpush
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Just a couple blocks from my home, Toronado appears to be THE beer destination in San Francisco... at least according to BA. Personally, unless I'm going in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week, I'd rather get my beer to go. This place is a bit too loud for my taste, a bit too grungy, and a bit too crowded on Fridays and Saturdays. I love dirty dive bars, don't get me wrong, but I don't like shouting over death metal when I'm talking to my friends, and I don't like fighting for the attention of stoned (or burned out) bar tenders.

That being said, their draft list is sweet and their bottle list is sweeter still. My only complaint is the lack of east coast micros. I mean, Toronado seems to be able to get everything else, we can't we get some Bell's, or 3Fs, or Victory? Their pints, on almost everything, range from $3.50-4.50 and a dollar off during happy hour. That's pretty good. Their bottle list, while I looove it, is really expensive. That being said, they do not charge more for their older vintages than they do for the same label of a newer year.

I like to go there to scout for new beers, because Toronado often gets them before any place else... but if I can't make it there directly after work I won't go at all.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

What can I say but wow! This bar has the biggest selection of foreign and micro brewed beers I have ever seen. The bar was fun and had a very eclectic crowd – reminded me of some bars in New Orleans.. The bartender was knowledgeable and offered suggestions when asked. I had a Black Prince Porter from the cask. It was the first time I had ever had a cask beer so that impressed me (I’m sure several of you have before).

The only drawback for the bar that I can tell, is that when I was there they didn't serve any type of bar food - but they were happy to let you bring your own in.

Anyway, I won’t go to S.F. again without visiting Toronado!

Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 402 ratings.