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Toronado

Not Rated.
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
95
world-class

392 Ratings
Ratings: 392
Reviews: 304
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: 392 | Reviews: 304 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mhksuccess
1.48/5  rDev -65.4%

i would give it a zero if i could would definitely never go back

THIS PLACE IS SO DIRTY
they dont ever clean anything for sure not the beer lines darn they barely even wash the glasses they told me they are too busy to steam them so they have a 3 sink system sanitizer wash rinse and i watched the process and was appaled they probably change the sanitizer once a night and wash in the same water all night it was beyond disgusting

PROBABLY the NASTIEST BAR EVER SMELLED LIKE PISS IN THE BACK

they had a cali standard pliny and blind pig and bunch of crappy belgiums

but it was just so crowded dirty and bad service
would never go back

mhksuccess, Oct 09, 2012
Photo of beeroverwithme
1.66/5  rDev -61.2%

I stopped by Toronado on August 25, 2008, just after a festival, so they were down to only half the normal selection of beers on tap. A bit sad for someone who had traveled half the world to visit the place, but this is just a minor case to my other complaints.

- It may have been the night (Monday) but the place seemed more like a club than a pub; noisy, busy and a bit hip (lots of youngsters drinking light beers). Not my cup of tea for tasting and talking about beer.

- Despite the crowd, only one bartender attended the bar for the duration of my stay. He was always busy and hardly had time to look at you when taking orders. No way I could ask about beers or for advices on what to try.

- Due to the noise level people had to shout the orders. At one point I tried three unsuccessful attempts, on the fourth the bartender finally looked at me but thought "I was taking the piss out of him" because I really did shout the order. At this point I decided I had had enough of Toronado and left.

I'll give them credit for Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head on tap. But that's all. Torronado is noisy and crowded causing the service and atmosphere to be poor for someone interested in beer exploration. The beer selection may not be that good either, depending on when you're there.

In my view Toronado does not belong in the US Top 50 Pubs, even in San Francisco they have nicer and better pubs - such as gastropub Magnolia and the cozy San Francisco Breweing Co. My advice: Stay away ... I felt cheated coming all the from Norway to visit Toronado.

beeroverwithme, Sep 29, 2008
Photo of chippo33
2/5  rDev -53.3%

chippo33, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of szekely
2.21/5  rDev -48.4%

A dumpy place with a large beer selection. First visit was for the 2012 Barleywine Festival. Bartender 1 seemed more anxious to prove he could pour fast and remember the selections for our first flight. He deliberately put the beers in front of me out of order. This was early Sunday, but they did not have a flight sheet (for a beer festival!), so it was difficult to remember which beer was which. For flight 2, the next bartender mouthed off about how I asked for the next flight. Completely unprovoked--perhaps his last customer set him off, but he walked away to serve someone else. Then bartender 3 started swearing at me. This place has a reputation for disrespecting customers. It is well deserved.

szekely, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of CraftedBlackout
2.41/5  rDev -43.7%

The service really is their gimmick in my opinion. Have some great beers and 3 hand pumps going. Little dicey of place to bring the mrs unless she is as gung ho for the beer as you are. Mine unfortunately had to try to use the rest room which pretty much sent our evening into a critical tailspin. There was a comment about a smell of bad fish... Had some great guze which I thought was ridiculously well priced. I'd go back if I were just going out for some beers solo or with a group prepared for the place.

I think this place will always be a must visit for beer nuts but what if they actually turned up the service?

Just so it's said enough - cash only - ATM is there though small room off the bar for overflow.

CraftedBlackout, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of westsideblaze
2.48/5  rDev -42.1%

This place is a complete high quality dive. Great location, but let's keep the place a little cleaner, yeah? The bartenders are rude and act as if you are lucky to even have a chance at ordering a drink - the hipster way of service. However, the selection was very good and they have a few great beers on cask. I am always curious to seee what they are offering from some of the local spots. Toronado is the "old" types of craft brew places. There are so many better places with great food now. The beer game has changed so much since then, even the dynamics of Haight-Ashebury.

westsideblaze, Jul 10, 2010
Photo of pixieskid
2.68/5  rDev -37.4%

I have no idea why this place gets the praise that it does. Been here on 3 separate occasions because it was convenient and the place you're "supposed to go to" when in SF for a beer.

I've read so many mixed reviews and while I've never had a particularly bad experience, I certainly have been underwhelmed each time I've been here. Just a dive bar with a staff that pours pints of cali standards and lame belgians.

The first two times were in the evening, so of course super busy, but that was to be expected. I always just order a pliny and that's that. Was hoping that this most recent visit there might be something else of interest, but there really wasn't.

Had my pliny, was decent, have a suspicion that they don't bother to clean their lines often...

pixieskid, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of benito
2.7/5  rDev -36.9%

Maybe it had been built up too much by the BA Top 50 Places to have a pint and all of the good things that my friends had to say about the beer selection, but Toronado, the Haight's famous beer bar, was not my cup of tea, or rather, pint of beer per se.

A few things I liked about this place: they've got a beautiful selection of glassware, hundreds of pint glasses, pilsener glasses, weizen glasses, flutes, and chalices. Their selection of California brews is impressive, and they seem to have a good eye for keeping a variety of styles available (I had a saison, a double IPA, and a kriek lambic).

And then there is Rosamunde, the sausage shop next door, with a selection of sausages to make one's head spin--wild boar, duck, lamb, vegan, merguez, andoullie and so much more. The Toronado folks recommend bringing in the sausages; at only $4 a pop, the sausages almost redeemed the Toronado experience for me. Almost.

Because then there are some things that are hard to enjoy about this place. The atmosphere is dark. Not dark as in dimly lit and kind of oddly endearing, but just dark, sparse and dirty. Even with a packed bar (on a Monday afternoon!), this place never had the feel of a fun bar. Then the service. My friends assure me that had the owner been behind the bar, things would have been different, so take these comments with a grain of salt, but I was served by a rude, slothlike bartender who seemed more interested in drinking his own beer and talking about his guns than serving the customers. This alone was more than enough to color the experience negative for me.

I also had a mediocre beer experience here that I think reflects more poorly on the bar than on the brewery in question. I ordered a bottle of New Belgium's Transatlantique Kriek, a beer that's been out of production now for over a year. Excited, I figured that if they had it on the menu (which had been updated only a week earlier) the beer must still be of decent quality. Given the style, the listing, and the price $5.25 for a 12 oz. bottle, I was happy to give it a shot. The bottle had a 'Best Before' date on it of 3/23/04. Before I go any further, I want to own completely the fact that this should have been my red flag. Nonetheless, I assumed that the folks at Toronado knew what they were doing and wouldn't sell a beer that they knew might be had (how long had it been sitting in their cellar?). It was bad. Not horrible, but certainly not fresh and certainly not something that a self-respecting beer bar ought to be serving or charging big bucks for. Again, I know that part of this was my fault, but Toronado shares some of the responsability as well. Caveat emptor and caveat me.

Next time I'm in the Haight, it will be Rosamunde, not Toronado, that I will patronize a second time. For beer in SF, I'll look elsewhere.

benito, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of joshklein069
2.73/5  rDev -36.2%

The reputation of this bar is good, however its dated. Draft list is just OK . The tables were dirty and when I asked a bartender to clean it off they gave me a bar towel. When I took the dirty glasses and stuff and moved them to a spot near where the bouncer was standing he told me to take them to the back. Nasty bathrooms. Very disappointing. but hey some people thrive on dive bars like this but not me.

joshklein069, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of MatthewPlus
2.73/5  rDev -36.2%

Ok. I hit this place up for the 25th anniversary. We knew it would be nuts, and it was. But it had a cool vibe, they were roasting a pig, had t20 and t25 on tap, and we got our 3 bottle T25 allotment. cool. Since we were spending another few days in the city, we figured we'd come back when it was less crowded, like the following Monday.
Ha! Yeah right, less crowded.
Im certainly not going to hate on a place for being busy. Thats what theyre there for. But christ, staff appropriately. I think there were two bartenders, but i only saw one, and she was absolutely rude. I knew prior to coming in to check out the draft list and know your order ahead of time, since the bartenders dont have time to answer any questions, make eye contact, smile, give a shit, etc...
So on the board, it says "ask to see our extensive bottle list". i figured no problem, at least it will give me something to look at while i stand shoulder to shoulder with sweaty locals in the middle of the aisle. It took 15 minutes to get the snotty barkeeps attention to ask for a list, another five to get the "list" (which wasnt a beer list but rather a map of how to get to the bar), and another 5 to inform her she had given me the wrong thing; to which of course she replied by rolling her eyes and throwing the menu at me.
So i go cantillon hunting, finally get the 2nd bartenders attention (i get the impression the first one didnt like me) and order the kriek. He looks, "sorry, were out". I said, "Anything Cantillon". He goes back and says, "sorry, ive got nothing".
Ok. at least this guy looked for the beer and didnt really give me any attitude. He slightly made up for the attitude of the first bartender.
I dont understand how anyone could have a good time in this bar. I wanted to love it, i really did, but damn, i couldnt have a conversation, sit down, or even find a place to set down the one beer i was fortunate enough to order. And i really dont appreciate the attitude i caught from the bartender. If you are really looking for some amazing beer this is the place (if it's in stock), but if youre looking to have a good time, look elsewhere.

MatthewPlus, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of barleywinefiend
2.75/5  rDev -35.7%

My first experience was the bwine festival, like any other festival its a madhouse. However,just because there is a festival does not give the staff a right to be obnoxious. I am not going into details but I was pretty shocked how the servers treated patrons. I've been to some serious beer bars all over the world and even I was in amazement. If you do not have the space or personnel to accomodate the crowd then dont have a festival and dont take it out on those who came to your establishment. Now, one server was excellent and she deserved a Gold Medal.I thought the place would be a little larger but the decor was cool. I liked the bar and seating area around the corner by the bathroom was cool and kind of relaxing(if it were a normal day). Besides the bwine they have about 40-50 taps. Beer selection was not what I expected. Alot of beers I can get anywhere.Lots of other great places to eat and grab a pint as well. Magnolia is down the street and worth a stop in! You can bet I will not recommend this place to anyone nor will I drive 4 hours to get here again. Not knowing Protocol is not an excuse to treat anyone poorly. Protocol should be to get good beer to customers. We keep them in business!
Tipping is not a requirement, especially on bad service. No ATM or Credit. 21st Century?? If this is the best SF has to offer then that is pretty sad. I'll take any Seattle beer bar over this anyday.

barleywinefiend, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of Charliechu
2.76/5  rDev -35.5%

I have nothing bad to say about the beer on tap here. Also a great selections at reasonable prices. Every time I am in the City I try to make it out here to grab a pint but recently its been more and more unattractive simply because of that service. I know they get good and rare beers on tap but shoot, can't they treat their costumers a bit better ,given that we're the one paying their damn rent.

If your new to the SF, definitely worth checking out but there are so many other better pub house with awesome taps with MUCH better services.

Charliechu, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of BrewnZ
2.86/5  rDev -33.2%

14 Feb 08

"Pull your head out of your ass. This is the best beer bar in the world!"

At that point I couldn't take any more, started to laugh and replied, "Well you haven't been very far have you sister?" . . . I was then kicked out by the bitchie bartender who turned out to be the owner's wife.

What provoked such a comment? My compliment made to the newby from Philadelphia who sat next to me and asked what to order, "You in luck, this is one of the best beer bars in the country."
I guess some people really can't take a compliment eh?

Wanted to visit again, and before the madhouse that passes as a barleywine festival.

So yea, the service was awful, the selection, better than good and the atmosphere just average . . .and I like dive bars and am glad I don't have to sit down to pee. So what makes the best beer bar in the world?

For me its Selection, atmosphere, food, and service - in that order. I am no stickler for service. The Kulmanator in Antwerp gets my vote. Brower's in Seattle, O'Brien's in San Diego also good places. Not so much the pretentious Toronado, even though I went back to this place with found memories and a thirst for good beer.

The patrons were great, loads of regional beers and a few imports, but the service started out slow and surly and did not improve despite the dollars I was laying on the bar after each round.
To bad a different bartender was not on shift, could have changed my whole experience. I am in no rush to give my money to the Toronado, San Fransisco now has too many other options.

BrewnZ, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of bugdoc
2.9/5  rDev -32.2%

By now, people more or less know the deal here - it's the seminal dive-bar-for-beer-geeks. It's generally considered one of the few must-go beer spots in SF proper, which has absolutely nothing to do with the ambiance (charitably described as "well-worn"), or the personalities of much of the bar staff, which often seem most concerned with not having to listen any longer to YOU and your indecisive twaddle. Step in, read the beer list posted up by the ceiling, realize it's mostly word-for-word the same list you saw 6 months ago when you were here last, and skip to the Pliny and Blind Pig that, mercifully, never, ever seem to come off the tap list. Ask for the bottle list if you can grab the attention of one of the staff - no, Cable Car isn't on the list, and quit fucking asking. Nut console yourself with one of the other stone-cold miracles that often pop up on that list. $20 bottles of 4-5 year-old Abyss? Yes, please. $20 for 10 year-old Boon gueuze? Sure, why not? The mind reels when imagining what bottled treasures lay buried in that Toronado basement. Just take your mind off the Cable Car. It isn't happening.

I suppose I could give this place a rating for food, but since it's all about food brought in from outside (90% of which consists of sausages toted over from Rosamunde next door), I feel like that'd be giving the place too much credit.

Toronado - just hold your nose and deal with the place. There's gems to be found if you're willing to dig thru a lot of dirt.

bugdoc, May 11, 2013
Photo of BrewMonkey
2.94/5  rDev -31.3%

We specifically treked to the Haight/Ashbury district to go to the Toronado, and we were incredibly dissappointed. It's hard to review a place like this, because its charm for some could simply be annoying to others. While the selection was pretty good (although not spectacular on our visit), the prices are awfully high, especially for a place that only takes cash. The bartender was very unfriendly and put us off from the start, bad first impression doesn't say enough. About the only thing he did right was pour our offerings in appropriate glassware.

The atmosphere is a dive, and that can be good or bad again depending on your taste, but it's far from an impressive location. As much as I love good beer and tasting new beers, I'd rather have slightly less selection, a place to sit, and a more friendly staff if I'm going to spend that kind of money on beer. If you want to be a dive bar, go ahead, but your prices should reflect the atmosphere that goes with it.

BrewMonkey, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of woodychandler
2.94/5  rDev -31.3%

It may have been a rainy night, it may have been chilly but I simply HATE being jammed into a narrow, poorly, marked space. They hold a popular barley wine festival here?!? Effin' pass! Prices were reasonable, but the crowd was horrible. Over 52 taps, a wide mix of US and Belgian. Tap handles and spent BTs ran the length of both walls from the Dutch Doors. Service: I've had better in Manhattan after I've just announced that the Yankees suck and the Mets swallow. In other words - horrible. Do you understand how insulting it is to slam a beer down in front of a patron? For this I made an effort? Shite Suc-1; Ambiance-1; Selection-4.5.

Price: $$ beyond that: Das is schiess!

woodychandler, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of raynmoon
3/5  rDev -29.9%

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.

raynmoon, Monday at 04:47 PM
Photo of forthrightStew
3/5  rDev -29.9%

forthrightStew, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of antilogic
3.05/5  rDev -28.7%

My first time to Toronado, after hearing so much about it. GREAT selection and a fun bar that I would be happy to NEVER return to again. A few main points:

1) Why is being rude to customers "their thing"? Yes they have great beer, but they can have great beer and not have douche-bag bartenders, can't they? I've been to some of the other top beer bars in the world (per BeerAdvocate), and they all have fantastic, friendly service.

2) This is 2009, not 1970. Sure cash reduces overhead by a few percent, but it reduces gross (people don't always have as much cash as they will purchase), and it's inconvenient for customers. Toronado needs to get with the times.

3) No food and Bad Parking

I had Moonlight Reality Czeck, and Death & Taxes. Good stuff. However, all I will take from the experience is washed out by my negative opinion of the bartenders.

antilogic, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of bigbelcher
3.06/5  rDev -28.5%

The reputation of this bar is good, however I was very turned off by the place. The list of beers on the wall wasn't current. The tables were dirty and when I asked a bartender to clean it off they gave me a bar towel. When I took the dirty glasses and stuff and moved them to a spot near where the bouncer was standing he told me to take them to the back. I told him I am there to spend money and drink, not do their work for them. Very dissapointed.

bigbelcher, Jul 10, 2003
Photo of gs1397
3.14/5  rDev -26.6%

I flew out to the Bay Area August 2010 for the Cable Car release among other things. Got to the release at Toronado a few hours early that morning. This turned out not to be the best idea since the folks delivering the cases+kegs of Cable Car, Duck Duck Gooze, vintage Red Poppy, etc. from The Lost Abbey pulled up right around the scheduled release time. Because of this the doors opened a couple hours late as I remember it (and man it was cold outside being used to 100+ degree weather back home :D). Moments before the doors opened, a man came out and handed everyone in line sheets that had the tap menu for the day. The menu was full of solid beers with nice descriptions... except for the "on premise only" next to the description of Cable Car which surprised quite a few folks. Once inside for the release, everyone fanned out to tables. My wife ran and grabbed us one while I walked directly to the middle of the bar where I proceeded to order the first bottle of Cable Car at the release. A gruff guy in old fatigue pants and a t-shirt reluctantly took my order... then before he handed me the overpriced bottle notified me that _he_ would have to open it before handing it to me... I sighed and said, "okay."

Instead of taking home a couple of bottles of Cable Car that day to enjoy with my local tasting group, I sat there and drank an entire bottle and had a pour of the original SN Hoptimum. I was satisfied by both beers... but between the late release, crappy service, lack of prior notification about $45 on premise only CC bottles being sold, and the "meh" looks of the place... I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. The selection of beer for downtown SF is good, Rosamunde right next door serves up some very fresh sausage, and Haight St. is a lot of fun to explore. Beyond this, I'd say forget Toronado.... I had a much better time visiting bottle shops around SF and making the trek a few times to Russian River.

gs1397, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of midaszero
3.15/5  rDev -26.4%

I stopped by on my cross country road trip some Austin TX to Seattle WA. A two hour detour that all my friends told me was worth it and that I had to go.

After spending 30 minutes trying to find parking I showed up on a Monday at 1 pm and the place was jam packed. I wouldn't want to show up on a Friday evening as it was hard enough to move around while I was there.

The space it self is cool but I didn't get a good vibe from the people there. No one seemed very friendly.

The tap list was pretty good but I wasn't overly impressed. On the up side they had a nice bottle list and I got to buy a Cuvee de Tomme and Older Viscosity to go with me.

If I ever end up back in San Francisco I'll probably try to swing by again but I won't be going out of my way to come back. I might have just hit it on a bad day.

midaszero, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of DrinkNoH2O
3.18/5  rDev -25.7%

Interesting place. We stopped here before the Phish show on Sunday - my buddy who lives in the neighborhood highly recommended.

The beer list honestly was pretty average, nothing that seemed overly unique other than the Toronado 25th anniversary which was a quite tasty wild ale from RR. Everything was poured well and served in proper glassware.

The vibe was upbeat as most people there were headed to the concert later, but the music was terrible. Straight heavy metal the entire time - my buddy said that's all they ever play. At least it wasn't loud.

I really liked the setup and interior - classic pub that was well maintained.

The service was flat out terrible. The place was busy but by no means packed. We quickly found a table and went to the bar to order. After waiting what we thought was an acceptable amount of time the male bartender still completely ignored us and strolled back and forth looking for his regular customers to help and no one else. The female bartender got into an argument with another patron further down the bar (we couldn't hear what was going on) then proceeded to storm off shouting "fucking douchebag" as she walked away. She then proceeded to ignore everyone for at least 10 minutes while she washed glasses (never mind the entire wall of clean glasses behind her) while the male still continued to stand around and only serve his friends.

We finally got a beer after patiently waiting directly at the bar for close to 20 minutes minutes.

I won't be going back here. Such a shame - I just wanted to hand them my money for a few beers but they made that very difficult.

DrinkNoH2O, Aug 21, 2012
Photo of DJButters
3.19/5  rDev -25.5%

Well let's just say my personal review here is a bit biased, you see I didn't even get to buy a beer here. In fact it all started poorly as soon as I walked in the door and got sh*t from the id checker who told me I should be in the "mission district". If from San Diego, so I had to ask a friend what exactly that meant. It seems by wearing a button shirt I was not welcome in this establishment by her. Lines were insane to grab a beer and my friends didn't want to be someplace they didn't feel welcome, so we left. Looked to be a decent beer selection, but the experience was ruined by a few who need to get off their high horse. This feels like Fred's Last Resort without any wit. You work at a bar, not the DMV. Bonus; A cool bar across the street and a tasty dog place next door might give it a try again another time.

DJButters, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of Endocador
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%

Endocador, Jul 24, 2014
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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
95 out of 100 based on 392 ratings.