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Toronado

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class

326 Reviews
PLACE STATS
Place Score:
95
Reviews:
326
Ratings:
469
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
11.4%
 
 
Taps:
43
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
ToronadoToronado
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar

547 Haight St
San Francisco, California, 94117-3406
United States

(415) 863-2276 | map
www.toronado.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 469
Photo of Rockjocknroll
3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5

I was so stoked to finally visit this legendary location. Although I live close to SF it's just never been in the cards for me until last week. Walking in felt like visiting a holy place.

The selection is incredible (3 casks at once and not one bad beer), you'll probably contract hepatitis from the bathroom, and if they're at all busy don't bother asking any questions. They'll ignore you for 5 minutes and act like it's your fault you don't know everything about the beers they serve when you walk in the door. I understand being a busy server (10 years experience myself) and dealing with difficult people, but asking a question about a local brew and getting no service?

I love metal and dive bars as much as the next person but the staff are first rate (insert expletive here). One table of quiet folks near us moved a chair 6 inches around their table (not kidding...half a foot) and the bearded metal dwarf at the door walks over, grabs the chair and slams it as hard as he can against the floor to make a point none of us understood. I couldn't figure out why he was so angry at folks who were keeping to themselves. Oh, and the 'locals' might take offense and anything you do and possibly try to fight you.

I hear that it's much better if you're lucky to go when it's not busy. Too bad they're not doing their barleywine festival anymore.

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Photo of frasergrove
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5

Super dive, super loud music, super DGAF bartenders, super killer beer selection. What else to say? If you go there you know why you do, but don't roll up as a tourist expecting some red carpet experience.

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Photo of amano_h
4.66/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

I totally forgot to write a review about one of the most epic dive bars in the City.

I actually used to live on Steiner and McAllister, so whenever I had friends visiting from outside of the City we'd walk down to the corner of Filmore/Haight and start our bar crawl from Knoc-Knoc and hit up every bar until we got to Hobson's Choice in Haight-Ashbury. As I wasn't a beer nerd back then I remember trying to avoid Toronado whenever we had our pub crawls because for one it was an overly-crowded dive bar, and back when I had no idea what good beer tasted like, this bar was just filled with beers I'd never even heard of and charging way too much for a pint.

Fast-forward a few years and a couple thousand beers later, I visited Toronado during the daytime around four after having drinks earlier that day at City Beer and Cellarmaker. Whereas they didn't have anything too impressive pouring on tap that day (they had a sign up that said "Pliny the Elder is not on tap today") I did see a myriad of rare bottles (including the previously mentioned Pliny) on the bottle list, and then it struck me that a week ago was Cable Car week. Whereas I had heard rumors that Toronado was cracking open verticals of Cable Car during their event, it didn't cross my mind until I was about two beers in, that they could probably still have some bottles left.

$40 and about 45 minutes later, I left happy having hogged a bottle of Lost Abbey's Cable Car Ale all to myself.

Personal anecdotes and bragging aside, Toronado has a huge rotating tap selection and an even bigger bottle menu; whereas they don't serve food you can always bring in food from either Rosamunde next door or Ali Baba's. The service is what you expect from a dive bar, but the bartender was nice enough to humor me and my questions about the place while I was drinking. Cash only isn't all that bad as they do have an ATM machine on premises.

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Photo of Coldstorage
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Honestly, I love the vibe at Toronado. No pretentious reclaimed wood and Edison lightbulbs. Its like you are in a regular SF bar except with an amazing selection. I don't have to feel like an asshole just for going here. Great!

Quality is good. Clean enough lines, clean enough glass. Bathrooms could use more attention but then again see above comment about "regular SF bar"... gotta take the good with the bad.

Service... ok... its surly but whats the problem? Bring cash, know what you want, don't expect them to hold your hand. I've never had a huge problem here. Even been thrown out once for having my dog after 8pm but it didn't surprise me. It's Toronado. Whatever.

Selection RULES. Great taplist, great bottle list, great prices.

I don't care, this is the best Beer Spot in SF. Always has been, always will be. The #menswear "hopheads" can keep their 10$ pours at the place with a rustic vibe and a square card reader, ill be at Toronado!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.25

Cool vibe, but the smell of urine and attitude kind of dulls it. Quality of beers varies, but is usually on the awesome side. Service is laughable.

Selection is usually around 30-40 taps, if they feel like it, they'll get you a bottle list or even something off of it. Depends on what kind of day they're having. Located in a cool ass neighborhood. Inside is punk rock and so is the smell.

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Photo of pmangold
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

iconic craft beer bar. took my wife (not huge into craft beer) and we both had a great time. I had ready several reviews about bad service but that wasn't the case with us. The guy behind the bar was awesome. Enjoyed Blind Pig and some born yesterday (day old to be exact) on tap. Good time.

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Photo of Magnum40s
3.77/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

It's still a good bar. They have great beer on tap. I am always happy to see what they have to drink. Rare and cask poured beers weekly updated tap list.

The bartenders are somewhat elitist, I get it you drank some beers. It smells like the day after the fair in there. it's like the mop the floor with the beer from the bottom of the pints at the end of the night.

It was great when this was the only game in town, now there is so much more, they should step their game up if they want to compete. Seattle and San Diego have this location beat on every metric.

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Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great little bar, much smaller than I thought it would be. Plain bar, walls are standard but loaded with beer paraphernalia and brewery stickers everywhere. Tons of old tap handles and bottles too. Something like 50 taps, no idea on bottles, no good either.

Selection is amazing, all the greats from Cali, and a few imports and a couple from out of state like Allagash and Deschutes.

Bartender is friendly and knowledgeable, the place in general seems a bit pretentious, but not more than any other super famous bar.

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Photo of tshanahan
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

My go-to favorite dive in San Francisco, maybe the bay. From Dave on down the line these people know beer. Selection is always rotating, bottle list is stacked (cable car), and they regularly host the best beer events. This place is "in-the-know," as you wont find any advertisements about what's going on. Sit down, order, pay in cash, and enjoy a classic beer spot.

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Photo of n2pux
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Beautiful selection. Great dive atmosphere in a funky old neighborhood. Service gets criticized but I found it to be fine. It was busy, so the bartender wasn't terribly chatty but still attentive enough & prompt. Helps to have an idea what you want. Instant addition to my top 5 favorite beer bars.

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Photo of Drewfer
3.96/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 2.75 | selection: 5

Kinda over the shitty bar tender attitude some places feel like they have to have, but honestly who cares. Selection is killer. Sausages next door yes sir

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Photo of Persdawg
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stayed right down the street from this place, so I got to enjoy it a couple of times. Passed on the $60 Cable Car, because the draft selection was ridiculous.

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Photo of mothman
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Not sure how this place gets a bad rep for their bartenders. Owners wife was working and she was wonderful, funny, and very pleasant. She handed me multiples samples and was very knowledgeable. Great draft selection. Bought a bottle of cable car. Had a great time and would easily come back!

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Photo of tsing
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This is a must stop everything I visit San Francisco. They always have Pliny the Elder on top. They are the only bar in town that consistently has it. They have a lot of great choices on tap, and lots more in bottle.
They are CASH only. They have no food, but you can bring in food from the places next door. The sausage place is awesome.
It is a dive that has been there for years, but if you love beer it is a must visit.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Have not been in here since 1990. Even then it's bartenders had a bad rep. Oh well still a great place and seemingly unchanged. First server was decent enough to recommend a beer for my non beer drinking cousin. 2nd could not have been any nicer and when I discovered he was from Scotland and a Dead Head and told him my wife was nearby well we were old lost friends at that point! Thought I would be more blown away by the selection but with Pliny on tap the rest paled in comparison. Sausage place next door rocked it hard!!! A beer lover's must!!!

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25

I didn't even know these bartenders had a rep for a long time. I've never had any trouble. Just obey the unspoken rules of Toronado-- Do Not Step to the Bar Unless : 1) you know what you want, 2) you have cash (and only cash!) in hand. I don't mind brusque; it's a busy bar, and you will get your beer incredibly fast.

Good keg management, expensive bottles, and good (if not great) selections.

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Photo of tazzman
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5

Good selection of drafts. Server must have been hungover very grumpy. Sausage next door with their selection of beers was excellent. Would go back hopefully another beer tender would be working.

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Photo of JamLand
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

A must stop when in SF. Small, dark, dive bar feel to the place. In my only visit, the regular selection wasn't anything special. However, when you crack open a secret keg of Pliny the Younger and I can buy Cable Car there, then you get a 5 for selection in my book. As for the infamous bartenders...they're fine. I'd say a lot of people are babies. Yes, if you ask them a dumb question, they will treat you like you asked a dumb question. Personally, I enjoyed watching their various interactions.

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Photo of erha2
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I personally had no problems with the bartenders but could see trouble for clueless customers. Love the speed metal vibe while drinking some of the best beers in the world. They had Cable Car for $60 or $80/bottle depending on vintage.

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Photo of jimh67
4.81/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I've been wanting to visit this place for a long time. It was everything I was looking for and more....
Patrons and staff were awesome! Sat with one of the staff (steeler fan) and watched MNF-Falcons/Packers. Very knowledagble on beer and suggested some bay area breweries that I might like-Faction in Alameda-I was staying in east bay. It is def. worth the trip across the bay bridge.
Forgot how good the Pliny was when fresh like that. Reaffirmed to me that it is the best.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Great selection. Cool, low key vibe. A little divey, but that is fine with me. Patrons were friendly as could be and the service was fine. Definitely a place worth checking out.

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Photo of raynmoon
3/5  rDev -30.2%

Been many times and always had really good beer on tap. Most recently I asked for a beer menu and saw PNC on there, asked if I could get one and the bartender went to go look... I think... Waited about ten minutes... He just started serving other people, passing me by, never said anything. Another bar tender asked what beer I want, I said "do you guys still carry PNC?" He looked pissed exclaiming "what the fuck, why would you ask that if he already told you we don't have it. God!" And walked away.


I was stunned. I tired to say "he didn't say anything to me" and nobody next to me noticed the rudeness or even cared.

Not sure I'll ever come back.

All in all, they get the best of everything as they are the first on every breweries list to get rare kegs: Younger, Cable Car, BCBS, but do not expect to be treated well.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

What more needs to be said about this iconic place?

A beer bar mecca. One that maintains old school classic dive bar roots, but serves up amazing brews for next to nothing.

Top notch ambiance. Stickered walls, grafitti bathrooms, no bullshit here folks. And that tap list to boot. Where else are you going to go to get amazing beers from Russian River, Alpine, Moonlight Brewing, Deschutes, and many more for 5 or 6 bucks a pint?

Not fancy dancy. Doesn't need to be, so don't come here out holding your pinky talking about the latest whale you just slayed either. Bottle list does have some interesting ones, but it's a bit small surprisingly, and the coveted stuff goes fast. Was hoping for maybe some crazy Speedway variants, or Lost Abbey gems, or Bruery, but no worries.

Great people also work here as well who enjoy talking and shagging and serving pints. Much thanks to Steve. And Bill Gould lives down the street and has popped in from time to time. How cool is that.

Nothing more needs to be said, take it in proper how you like it, either early when no one is there to have to yourself, or packed like a mad house its up to you. Either way you'll never forget the beers you have here.

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Photo of ChanChan
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

I stopped by on 9/13/2014. I had been looking forward to coming for a long time. Here is what I thought of this place.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere is not bad, a guy stands at the front and asks for an ID to come in. Once inside the bar is dimly light. It was a Saturday afternoon so the bar was packed. A couple were gracious enough to share their table so that was nice.

Selection: The selection was pretty excellent!! I did not see anything that blew my mind but when you have Nelson, Blind Pig, and Pliny all on-tap you know they don't mess around!!

Service: Eh, wasn't there for the service. The bartenders look like they are not there to make friends. I have read from several reviews that say that their service made for a terrible experience but I drove +300 miles to have a pint at this bar so a rude bartender is not gonna ruin my experience!!

Value: The value was excellent. $5.00 Pints of Pliny, Nelson, etc, hell yeah!! Please remember to bring cash, I believe that is all they take. Luckily that was what I had at the time.

Food: This bar does not serve food but I have heard they let you take food inside. As this is a very popular street, there are several restaurants around the area. It actually smells of food when you walk out. I decided to stop by Memphis Minnies across the street and had a delicious tri-tip sandwich!!

Overall: I recommend this place!! This is a cool and historic beer pub. The Cons include the fact that The atmosphere and service is not for everyone. Also, the parking is a complete nightmare!! Nevertheless, next time I am in SF I will try and stop by, have a pint or four, and make my way to some of those really great restaurants!!

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Photo of craft_shannie
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

visited the afternoon of 9/10. had alpine's nelson, moonlight's death & taxes, and faction's summer ipa on draft. great tap variety (allagash, russian river, moonlight, etc) to choose from, but not the most exhaustive list, by any means. bottled beer list seemed a bit slim when i visited. brewery stickers & other memorabilia decorate every inch of the place. very comfortable, relaxed. jukebox is filled w. a lot of metal and its played loud. fortunately, i was able to sneak in some elvis. this place is legendary & did not disappoint.

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.