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Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
95
world-class

389 Ratings
Ratings: 389
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 13.08%
Taps: 43
Bottles: 0
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)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 389 | Reviews: 302 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OldSock
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%

Great place. First and foremost Toranado has a terrific beer selection, particularly Belgian and Californian. Nothing beats a delicious sausage from the place next door and a fresh local beer. I went twice during my San Fran stay, and every beer I had there was fantastic, a couple of Russian Rivers and a couple of Moonlights. Service was sort of indifferent, it was fast, but not overly talkative which I don’t mind. It been said before, but if you are in San Fran and you can only go to one bar this is the place to go. Prices were reasonable, particularly if you go before 6 when all pours are a dollar off.

OldSock, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.86/5  rDev +13.6%

Freakin' frackin' awesome. Believe the hype.

Bear with me: I used to live about 4 blocks from this place in 1997. I wasn't into good beer then, which is good. Otherwise, I would have hurt myself for not knowing about this.

Atmosphere: locals were extremely friendly to me. They shared some bbq pork. Two older couples (70+?) came and went, which you don't see at too many beer bars.

Selection: 46 taps or so I read somewhere else. 4 cask beers. That alone should be highly praised.

Two Moonlight beers, Anchor, Russian River, etc., etc.

Server was gruff, but in a good way.

One of the best bars you'll go to. Prices were pretty cheap too, esp. for San Fran.

Pubcrawlers: short walk from Zeitgeist or Church station off of Market. You can take the N from Church or Van Ness to Gordan Biersch or 21st amendment brewpub as well.

GeoffFromSJ, Jul 26, 2005
Photo of brewandbbq
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%

After a 4 year absense, back at the Toronado at 1 A.M. on a Thursday nite.
The place was jamming and loud. Filled with filthy dreadlocks, walking zombies, incoherant stoners, and beer lovers.
Nothing has changed since the last visit, or previous for that matter.
Within all the visual overload of amusing stickers, tap handles of brews gone by, emptied Duvel Jeroboams, and that friggin' beer board... You'll get yelled at if you don't close that half door thing on the way in.
Too bad they weren't as attentive when you need a beer.
Ya, stood there for at least 10 minutes, cash in hand, trying to catch the eye of the girl milling around behind the bar.
What the hell is my hurry anyways? It's only 1 hour till closing, and this will probably be my only stop here..
I had forgotten how poor the service can be here. No, I don't need my ass kissed, but actually getting a beer can be *key* in a bar.
Regardless, we had a New Belgium Saison and Doggie Claws to start, then I moved on to the North Coast Old Stock.
I was a bit dissapointed in the selection.
They had 20 Belgians on tap, but I was here to drink some hop monsters, and not one in the house. -Thats right- no DIPA's.
Oh yea, no Russian River either.
Got some sandwiches from the Asian ladies 2 doors down and they were delicous with the beers.
The Toronado is a must stop classic, but I've never been impressed by the service.
Guess that's part of the charm??

brewandbbq, Jun 11, 2005
Photo of fizzyfred
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

This place is difficult to review for a few reasons. First off, it is the one of the best beer bars in the country. Its located in the lower Haight, which is dark, rowdy cousing of the Haight-Ashbury. The bar reflects the neighborhood in that it is loud, rowdy and it can be tough to get a drink. The bartenders may not be friendly and helpful, but they are knowledgable. The key is what time you visit. A weekend afternoon can be perfect for enjoying a few drinks. A weekend night or happy hour can be tough. The selection is top notch, with the only real drawback is midwest and east coast micros. Obviously, the west coast is well represented and the Belgian selection is unparrelled in this country. There are about 50 draught beers and the bottled list looks like a Brussels beer celler. I gave the food a 4 even though they have no food. Reason, next door is Rosemunde grill that serves the best sausages in town. On the other side is Mythic Pizza.

fizzyfred, Jun 02, 2005
Photo of Bierman9
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

This was the first place I hit up on a brief stay in San Fran recently. The whole Haight area is quite colorful and still quite 60's-ish. And I loved it! Unimposing front with an open half-door is your first look. Dark inside, with both low-lighting and lots of dark colors/wood contributing... It's a long room, front to back, with some stools along the wall at the front right near the window before the bar takes hold and goes to the back. On the left are a half-dozen small tables and chairs.... and there's a further room in the back/left of the place. Lots of typical bier-related bric-a-brac all over (tap handles, brewery banners, etc), plus the left wall has a shelf with dozens of big-ass Duvel bottles. Oh, and the bathroom is a real work of art! Music was a combo of classic rock, grunge, whatever... Had about 25-30 drafts, with some top-shelf CA stuff plus plenty of Belgians left over from Belgian Month. Extensive bottle list, too, with some rare finds (though the bottles get pricey). Drafts were typically $3.50, but happy hour knocked off a buck. Super! Bartender was quietly efficient, with no surliness to be found. Amusingly, I found him to look like the Mexican/Alien at the start of Men in Black that Tommy Lee Jones uncovers. Only had 2 biers here, in the company of axisjones, and found them yummy. As per earlier suggestions, I scored a tasty sausage sub next door and downed it with my bier at the Toro. Would love to return some day....

Prosit!!

overall: 4.50
atmosphere: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: n/a | $

111

Bierman9, May 31, 2005
Photo of francisweizen
5/5  rDev +16.8%

This place is probably my favorite beer bar in the US, if not the world. Atmosphere is awesome. Lower haight all the way. Grungy and funky, and all things cool. Tons of breweriana and stickers of all sorts. Quality of the beers here is perfect. They really take care of their brews, and bartenders at other bars in the city, like Zeitgeist, even mentioned that this is the place to go. Service for me has been perfect. I've gone on three ocassions already and I have had three very unique, interesting bartenders, who were quick to chat and fill up my pint. Selection is incredible. tons of Belgians still, as last month was Belgian beer month, and they also have tons of local brews as well. 2 moonlights, 2 russian rivers, 2 pizza ports, 4 casks. Yowza. No food, but there are tons of kick ass options locally, and you can bring your viddles in and chow down all the way. Prices are dirt cheap for this area, or anywhere in the world. $10 for three pints and a nice tip. Sold. Truly awesome, and wonderful. Only in San Francisco.

francisweizen, May 03, 2005
Photo of Troyone
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%

The atmosphere is different kind of laid back... At least one TV with a couple of dining areas.

The bar looks like it's aluminum with wood siding. There are wooden chairs and tables. They have stainless steel tap nozzles all around. Tremendous amount of beer paraphenalia, some probably historic, everywhere.

The service can be questionable however other times quite exceptional.

The selection is broad with everything imaginable even four cask (handpump).

I thought they served food there at one time however this last time they said they did not, maybe it's bring your own food.

Reasonable

After reading through my reviews years later I decided to edit some of my comments that may have been the bartenders reflection of my unknowingly rude or blaten persona due to issues I had going on at that time.

Troyone, Apr 30, 2005
Photo of HogHill
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Visted the Toronado just as the Barleywine fest was coming to an end. We arrived one overcast Saturday just as it opened. The bartender was a real nice guy (young guy with chops), who let us sample a bunch of different offerings and filled us in on the other good beer related stops in SF, great service and very personable.

Talking to my friend who recently went to Toronado and reading the other reviews here, it seems like the service we had was contrary to what most others had experienced.

They had a ton of great beers on tap and their bottle list was phenomenal as well. I got to try many of the beers that aren't disto'd out here in Mass like Russian River's Pliny the Elder & Damnation. They had a nice Belgian offering with all the official glassware which is always nice. I started with a Hoegaarden and moved to Dupont's Avec les Bons Voeux which was on tap, and then finally a Westy 12 (had to finally try this). Just an awesome selection of beer and the fact that it was a $1 off drafts untill 6pm was super too.
They let you bring in food from the pizzaria and burrito shops near by, which was cool.

We came back a few days later, the atmosphere was a bit different since it was on a Monday evening where people were getting out of work and it was a bit busier but still a comfortable environment.

In San Fran visiting? This place is not to be missed! If you're a local, then you're a very fortunate BA.

HogHill, Apr 08, 2005
Photo of ChappyCubsFan
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%

Twice now I've visited Toronado. It's time to share my thoughts.

My second trip was just a few days ago, during the annual Barleywine Festival. They had a great selection; some 30 barleywines to choose from. I just wish the service was a little friendlier. Both times I've visited the Toronado, the bartender(s) had an attitude. I guess I can understand why the bartender (Paul) had an attitude the other night. The patrons were just not reading the carefully placed signs that explained how to order a barleywine: simply give him a size (small, medium, large) and the number assigned to each barleywine on the "Big Board". Paul finally warmed up to me as I warmed up to the barleywines. I even bought a few tee-shirts, which in itself was an interesting purchase. Paul told me to feel free to browse the t-shirt rack, which I did. Suddenly, another patron (a local, I'm sure) left his seat at the other end of the bar to scold me saying, "Sir. Please step back and let the staff assist you with the tee-shirts". I told him I was given the OK by the bartender, and everything was cool.

However, my favorite moment of the evening was when a young couple sat down next to me and could not decide what to order. I explained the Barleywine Festival was in progress, and then offered to buy them both a small "starter" sample of North Coast's "Old Stock 2002". She (the young blonde) tasted it and said, "I can see why they call this "barely" wine. It barely tastes like wine." That was a great moment.

But last summer when we visited the Toronado for the first time, the lady (owner?) also had an attitude when we ordered our first drink. Maybe that's it. You ain't crap in Toronado until you've ordered a few drinks. But hey, this is San Francisco. So chill out, Toronado!

The beer selection at the Toronado is excellent. IPA lovers, like myself, will find everything to their liking. They have Pliny the Elder, Racer 5, and normally you can find several others. The Belgian selection is great also.

They don't serve food, but I like the fact that you can order food elsewhere and bring it into the pub.

Toronado gets high marks from me. Despite the rudeness of the bartenders, that seems to wane as you keep ordering, this is a great bar. I will definitely visit Toronado whenever I'm in the Bay Area.

ChappyCubsFan, Feb 27, 2005
Photo of studentofbeer
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%

i recently moved to SF, and always wanted to visit the Toronado. It wasn't until I actually steeled myself to do it that I realized it's only a 15 minute walk from my apartment. Dangerous.

So everything people say is true. It's dark, the service can be so-so (took a long time to get my first beer, but after that the bartender was cool) but the beer... 40something offerings on tap at any time. favorites include aventinus and anchor foghorn on tap. beer is reasonably priced, served in proper glassware, and if you show up before 6pm it's a dollar off, which means many great beers will cost you only $2.50.

I haven't been when it is super busy, so i don't know if it gets crazy. you've got good food options on either side, with mythic pizza and rosamunde's sausages to keep you going.

Toronado is a local dive with an amazing beer selection. If you can get your head around that, everything will be fine. If only every joint had half as good of beer as the Toronado, you could pick your atmosphere and style to suit your personality. However, the pluses outweigh any negatives with the toronado. go drink and be merry.

studentofbeer, Dec 16, 2004
Photo of koolk
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

After reading reviews and knowing I was going to be around the San Fran area for several months, I knew Toro's was going to be on the 'must visit' list.

Looks more like a dirty rock pub covered with beer junk like handles and posters. Looks can be one thing, but it was a very friendly amosphere that was well informed and nice and loud.

Service was a little slow, but that was more due to understaffing than laziness. Some of the bar tenders are real characters as well which helps add to the whole vibe. Music was great in my mind, but hey, I dig hearing the ramones whilst sucking back some of the worlds greatest beers.

Selection, for my money was perfect. Now, being Australia I am more easily impressed by beer selection, as finding a bar in melbourne with anything micro on it is a win in itself. To have so many (40+ was my guess) on tap in one place was brilliant, and because i was a first time drinker on many of the beers, I could happily always choose something I had never had before. One my last visit I tried seasonals like Sam Adams Choc, Rogue Santa Reserve and Full Sail Wassail, not to mention St. Feuillien Cuvée De Noël which was delicious off tap.

Overall, a great place to get a buzz in San Fran.

koolk, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of donnebaby
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

I am another who read and felt the hype before venturing out to the Toronado, and now I can only say "Rock me like a Toronado". Although I guess "toronado" would be tornado, a word that is difficult to spell, like potatoe.

Rolled in well into the evening, and the scene was definitely already seeming to tail down. Lots of hipsters, but also some normal folk, and I like both hipsters and normal people, so it's good. Pretty crowded. I wasn't wowed by the atmosphere, but the haphazard arrangement of the excellently chosen beer memorabilia signs, magnums of Duvel, and the motley of appropriate glassware worked, if not too well.

The two bartenders were gruff, but service was quick, and my hand-pulled Moonlight Twist of Fate was done well.

Hard to comment on selection besides that it's excellent. About 30 brews on-tap, and lots of Belgians, which is rare. Probably about 10 winter seasonals going. I had a Deschutes Jubilale. I only saw a few bottles listed on the chalkboard, and I didn't see a menu. 3 Handpullers, including one running Drake's IPA.

Regular pints are $3.50, which is a deal.

I'll hope to go back many times to this bar, and hopefully add some more to this.

donnebaby, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of GClarkage
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

Where to start...this is my first ever review on BA, so I decided to do it on my favorite pub in SF. After reading all the reviews I have decided that I pretty much agree with everything except for the service. Depending on where you grew up, the atmosphere will either be a plus or a minus. I grew up in the Bay Area, but not on SF, but felt prefectly fine sitting, chatting and drinking at the Toronado. It's not in the best of area's, but not in the worst either. Since discovering this place about 6 months ago, I have never been acosted by anyone trying to panhandle or sell me drugs. The parking isn't exactly fun, but my friend and I have always been lucky enough to get a spot close by. Even if we do have to run out and put another 4 quarters in the meter. Admittedly, the place is kinda dark and a bit gloomy, but I have never had a problem with the cleanliness. It's a very different place. You will find all sorts of people there. From businessmen, to jocks, to foreign visitors...or anyone. Even dogs! One of the bartenders has two cute dogs that will even sit next to you on a bar stool and share a drink with you if you call him up. I guess that's fine since there is not food served there and they are very friendly dogs. They have a jukebox for entertainment which has a VERY ecclectic assortment of music. From Johnny Cash, to random local punk bands to modern popular music. As for the beer (the main reason you are reading this), the selection is incredible. Only one other bar I have been to has more taps (The Englander in San Leandro), but they don't even come close when it comes to Belgium beers. The prices are pretty decent, especially if you come during happy hour during the week. They are $1 off all draft beers except for a select few. So, you can get a Belguim beer that you may have not heard of from anywhere from $3.25-7.25 poured in a authentic brewery glass. The majority of the beers are in the $3.25 to $5.50 range, plus a dollar off during happy hour equates to very good prices. Where else can you get a Radenberger pils served in a 1/2 liter glass for $2.50!! The food next door is very good (Mystic Pizza to the right and a great sausage place to the left) and you can bring them in the bar to eat. They will just bang on the wall when they are ready for you to pick them up. Lastly, the service is fine. As long as you aren't a drunk idiot or an jerk, you won't have a problem. Sometimes they can be a bit of a smartass, but hey, are you there to have a few beers and fun, or to be bothered by a few smart remarks. If you have a decent sense of humor, are down to earth and want a great selection of beer, this is the place to come. Just bring cash and enjoy a few hours here. That's what I try to do once every week or so.

GClarkage, Sep 10, 2004
Photo of axisjones
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%

This bar is a beer lovers paradise. While alot of people has knocked the service, the bartenders respect beer more than any other bar i have ever been to. Every beer is served in its proper glass with the right head (the aventinus is a sight to behold). I ordered a Westy 12 off the bottled list, and the bartender apologized that he had to pour a little in the chalice to keep it from overflowing. He was also good for recommending followup beers. The selection is unbeatable, especially for belgium and northwest junkies. The prices are generally cheaper than other bars comparatively, but hardly any of the list can be found in other bars.

axisjones, Jul 13, 2004
Photo of drewbage
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%

I recently made another pilgrimage to the rightly infamous Toronado bar during their annual Barleywine Festival.

My first impression of the place when I walked in was : "Oh my god, what have I gotten myself into?" The Toronado feels like a cross between a bad biker bar and a hippie hang.

But oh the difference looking up and seeing that beer list makes. When last our hero was there, it was the Barleywine festival. So right off the bat there were 51 barleywines on tap/cask. This is almost all of Toronado's taps and handpumps. (Others were saved for varioushouse beers like Cantillion Vingeronne, etc) Now when the Barleywine festival first starts there isn't room to spit in the joint as everyone is packed in.You better be quick to order too. Get your three-four samples and get out of the way. Oh and if you want a chance to try them all, get there on one of the first two days.. by Sunday evening there were already out of 15+ barleywines.

Service is questionable here. The bartenders definately rule the roost and have been trained in the New York school of rude. But if you're quick with your orders or smart with their questions, they don't mind.

Food doesn't exist, but Mythic Pizza rocks as does the Sausage joint and the Toronado allows you to bring their stuff in. (High advisable during the BW fest)

Don't forget to bring cash here to the bar as they'll laugh at you if you try and pay credit. There's an ATM right outside Mythic Pizza for the purpose of rescuing lost Toronado souls!

Remember, this is one of the place that I tell people they must go to if they're looking for beer in San Francisco. Yeah.. service can be mean.. yeah the place is 3 screws away from collapsing.. but that beer list and the quality of the beer wash away a lot of sins.

drewbage, Feb 28, 2004
Photo of SeanChouffe
3.56/5  rDev -16.8%

I spent a few hours in Tornado with some family and friends. The atmosphere is pleasant, but the music was too loud for talking over. The clientele were relatively young and (working class) trendy. The selection of beer was quite good, but the service was chez pretence. Once my brother-in-law irritated one of the "servers" -- that ended up being the kiss of death. We had to wait extra long to get the next round.
There are numerous beers on tap and in the bottle. Many European beers, craft beers and a fair selection of Belgians. Parking is a world class nightmare.

SeanChouffe, Feb 26, 2004
Photo of boussh
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%

My first trip to Toronado will most likely be my last. The selection of beers was great, but when asking questions about some rare Belguim beers, the bartender was rude and arrogant. So I tried on of thier cask ales, which I will say was pour properly and was great ( Moonligh Brewing Twisted Feet). They don't have food, so if you are hungery the pizza palce next door is a good place to get a slice. I think you can bring it in to Toronado, but I wasn't going to ask the bartender another question.
Two drunks away from dive bar status this palce is dark and gloomy with a decent jukebox. The beer selction runs the gammut and so does the price range. To help the pocket book hit happyhour where I think it's a buck off draft beers, but again that question thing with the man behind the bar.

boussh, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of quetzpalin
3.65/5  rDev -14.7%

Where to start? The Toronado is sui generous, the one and only, in all it's tattered glory. It is by turns sublime and vile, but never pedestrian. I have had the best beer experience of my life, and the most atrocious service of my life within those confines. Let’s start with the sublime; We were there on our regular roving Wednesday happy hour, happily testing the wide selection of superb Belgians (as I recall, I had a Duchesse, Walt went with the Maredsous, Natasha, as usual, the Hoegaarden, Karen had the Chimay, and Chops bucked the trend with a Moonlight, either Death & Taxes or Twist of Fate) on tap. Much laughter and frivolity ensued as the next round included a Rojo (Bass with a bit of Lindeman’s Lambic), a Delerium Noel, and a few Cuvee Noels (yes, it was December). I don’t remember the list of the next round, but you get the idea of the quality of selection. All on tap in the right glasses. A buddy of a buddy happened to have drifted over at some point to our table, and in our highly discerning state he was able to talk us into trying a $35 bottle, sight unseen. We were promised not to be disappointed, and I have probably never been less disappointed in my life. We were suddenly drinking an effervescent ambrosia the likes of which I had never imagined. It was, of course, Deus Brut Des Flandres. I was floored to still be able to be astonished by the Toronado after all these years. I should have known that to frequent this bar is to always be ready to be floored by something astounding.

On the other hand, as has been mentioned, the service can be a bit, well, less than exemplary. The best example is the time we went in with some friends in part to catch a ball game on TV. The front room was full so we went into the back, where the TV was on, but tuned to the wrong channel. We asked for it to be changed as we ordered the first round (it has a piece of plexiglass preventing unauthorized channel changing). We asked politely, since it was actually busy, when we ordered the second round, tipping generously as an incentive. When Natasha finally got too tired of waiting, she went to ask a third time. After another 10 minutes, he came over with remote in hand, looked at us, looked up at the TV, and began clicking through the channels. When he got to the game, he paused, gave us another look, and…changed it back to the channel it was on when we walked in. He walked away as we all sat there slack-jawed.

This, as well, was an astounding experience. I am actually enough of a regular now to get free beers from the bartenders every once in a while, but I still don’t like the attitude, even if it’s not aimed at me anymore. It’s probably just as well, because that attitude keeps me from being too much of a regular, and has probably saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars over the years. I still haven’t tipped that waiter (the one who frequently wears a baseball cap). He must think I am the cheapest bastard on earth. Or maybe he remembers. Who knows. That is what you get with the Toronado. Walt actually got a quarter thrown back at him by one of nicer bartenders, yet we will both be there this Wednesday, anxiously trying the new arrivals…

quetzpalin, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%

The Torando is in a lousy location. If you only get asked a handfull of times about alcohol and drugs on the way there you are doing pretty good.

The inside is wooden and dark. The half door keeps the transient population at bay.

The day of my visit there were a couple of dogs running around sniffing crotches inside which detracted from the whole experience. The selection is very good as was the quality and service when I visited, but the place was not busy.

They do not serve food, but the sausage place around the corner is excellent and they let you bring it in. You can park on the curb at a meter, I parked a few blocks away and will not make that mistake again.

GCBrewingCo, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of WetCoaster
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%

The Toronado gets mixed reviews, and it’s easy to understand why. Depending on when you go, where you sit and who serves you, the place can run the gamut from sublime to unbearable. The only constant is beer: Unmatched in SF for variety and quality.

Located in the funky, gutter-punk infested Haight area of town, the Toronado sees its share of characters on both sides of the bar. This can be good or bad, and yes, sometimes the bartenders do run a tad on the surly side. Even at their worst, though, they are generally quite efficient and knowledgeable.

Staff and patrons aside, the atmosphere is generally tolerable, though far from cozy. The main room features a traditional wooden bar, with a few tables on the opposite wall. It has a decent jukebox and, as mentioned before, it contains a great variety of beer paraphernalia, including dozens of old taps on its flat gray walls. The barroom is somewhat open, which keeps the place fresh most of the time, but on cold, rainy nights it can be a bit drafty. The bar also has back room which, unless you’re a junkie, you should forget about: dark, dank, cold, packed with uncomfortable metal chairs and ripe with the fumes of the bar’s filthy, graffiti-covered restroom.

Ah, but it’s the beer you came for, and beer you shall have. Listed on a ceiling-mounted menu (possibly salvaged from a ‘60s McDonalds?) are the evening’s 40 tap selections, all top-notch. You’ll always find a few local craft brewers’ collections, some Belgians, some Germans, some seasonals and one or two hand-pulled real ales. There is usually at least one example of almost every genre (lager, ale, wheat, IPA, porter, stout, etc.) available on tap, with many, many more available in the bottle. And all are served in the correct glassware. It’s hard to beat.

If you find you simply can’t stand the atmosphere, or if your date is a real shrinking violet, you might want to check out the slick, upscale Thirsty Bear in SoMa. Otherwise, this is THE place for beer in SF.

WetCoaster, Nov 26, 2003
Photo of oggg
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%

Walked in, lotsa regulars, long bar, lotsa tables, one tv. A TON of beer paraphenalia -- mostly old beer taps and some posters and such. The wall is lined with magnums of Duvel.

The bartender was this long haired guy who was really impatient. Not really very helpful. But the beer is served in true beer glasses: we ordered Aventinus in tall Aventinus glasses that were widened at the top. Other people were drinking belgian ales from special glasses too. I think I saw 3 beers on hand pump. and like 40 beers on tap. Aventinus, Schneider Weisse Hefeweizen... Several Belgian ales which I can't remember... Maudite, De Konnick, Unibroue, Chimay triple... just a lot of Belgian ales... other good beers -- Anderson Valley, Speakeasy, Moonlight, Full Sail, Deschutes, Hoegarden, Franziskaner, etc.

97% men. two dogs. Bartender kept picking crappy music -- country music or loud/annoying rock.

I gave the place a 3.0 for food because there's lots of cheap restaurants nearby, like Rosamunde and the shawerma place.

Summary: good for wheat beer and belgian ales, not the greatest for hanging out.

oggg, Nov 17, 2003
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.45/5  rDev +4%

I love this place, this is one of the bars that cut my teeth on Belgian beers. I love the atmosphere in this place, it is a bit dive like, as others have noted, but that is exactly how I like my bars. The beer selection and quality has never been lacking, and with the yearly Barleywine festival thrown into the mix it even gets better. Well known for it's selection of bottled Belgian beers.

My only real complaint here is that if you go at the wrong time you can get some real asses behind the bar. Other times the service is great though. I almost wonder if there is a surley relative of the owner who can't be gotten rid of.

While they do not have food they allow you to bring in food from the surrounding shops, I usually go for a sausage from the place on the left.

Gueuzedude, Oct 07, 2003
Photo of insomnboy
4.58/5  rDev +7%

I visited the Toronado 3 times last month. Marvelous selection of beers, many things that I've never had a chance to try on tap before. Hop Rod, Racer 5, Black Butte Porter, Ruination, AVENTINUS!!! (so good on tap...), St. Bernadus 12....

As far as food goes, a few have mentioned the sausage place to the left, but Mystic Pizza to the right of the T is pretty righteous as well.

Toronado is a MUST visit when in San Francisco.

insomnboy, Sep 24, 2003
Photo of jrancan
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%

Toronado...where should I start? How about the fact that they don't serve any alcohol other than beer. No wine, liquor, and definitely no macros anywhere to be found. How about $3:50 for most pints which is a great deal in SF. They have at least 40 on tap with 3 on beer engines focused entirely on NW and Belgian beers. This is a good thing coming from the East. I got to try at least 9 or 10 beers that are not available anywhere near NJ. And that's the thing, these guys will give you multiple samples of anything before you buy it.
The place is a dive, which I love! Beer memorabilia everywhere, and punk in the jukebox...one of my all time favorite places. They don't serve any food, but there is a take out place next door that only sells sausage(vegetarian and meat), Rosamunde's. You can order up a nice sandwich and bring it back to the bar to eat while sipping your brew. My wife loved the food so much I convinced her to go back to Toronado so she could have another sandwich.

Bartenders are knowledgable.
Anyway, straight foward, hard drinkin, dive bar that is a must stop.

jrancan, Sep 23, 2003
Photo of WaywardSeaman
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%

It's hard to knock this place, seeing as those in the know often have it on their shortlists as one of the best beer bars in the country. The Toronado does offer an impressive taplist, with most of the 50 or so offerings coming from West Coast breweries (which isn't a disappointment if you're in town for a visit, but not so exciting if you're a regular and have expansive tastes). One of my favorite things about the T is that North Coast's Red Seal Ale is often on handpump, and all beers are $1 off before 6pm.

As touched upon in other reviews, the Haight atmosphere isn't for everyone. Since I'm young, I tend to look past that and try to enjoy the place for the beer shrine that it is. But the music from the jukebox can get a bit loud, the patrons can seem a bit off-kilter, and the staff can be a bit indifferent at times. I've never had an opportunity to speak to Dave Keene (the proprietor), but he's often hanging around and obviously takes a lot of pride in his place.

There are a number of places to eat nearby, so you'll have no problem bringing food in from the adjacent Rosamunde Sausage Grill or any other local eatery to enjoy with your beer. The T is rather small, so it can get crowded, especially when special events like the annual Barleywine Festival are taking place.

All in all, I like this place a lot. I've been stopping in for the past 3 years or so, and I find that the positives far outweigh the negatives. As far as I'm concerned, this is a must-stop if you're ever in the Bay Area.

WaywardSeaman, Aug 24, 2003
Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 389 ratings.