Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

"A Tale of Two Toronados"

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by baycat, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. baycat

    baycat Aficionado (230) California Apr 30, 2008 Verified

  2. drgarage

    drgarage Initiate (0) California Aug 19, 2008

    Yep. I'll take the surly dive feel any day -- it makes the entitled wannabes leave faster.
    MrFootstones and deeblo like this.
  3. Remember that article is from the San Diego Reader, a free magazine.
    pinkgrenade likes this.
  4. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Savant (380) California Aug 19, 2011 Verified

    i greatly dislike our toronado. maybe i need to give it more chances though. sf>sd
  5. colonelforbin

    colonelforbin Savant (285) California Aug 23, 2007 Verified

  6. pinkgrenade

    pinkgrenade Savant (380) California Aug 19, 2011 Verified

    i think thats just his own opinion :)
  7. Blackstudded

    Blackstudded Aspirant (40) Mar 2, 2012

    Toronado SF is still a neighborhood bar; it's something missing from the many takes on this beer haven. And as such, people are protective of their neighborhood bar, hence the many accounts of bad experiences with "surly" bartenders.
  8. deeblo

    deeblo Aficionado (240) United Kingdom (England) Dec 17, 2011 Verified

    I've never been to Toronado SD but I love our Toronado and wouldn't change a thing about it (other than maybe moving it closer to my apartment).
  9. pmarlowe

    pmarlowe Advocate (730) District of Columbia Nov 27, 2010 Verified

    I never understood why rude service was considered a feature rather than a detriment.
  10. peteinSD

    peteinSD Savant (255) California Apr 25, 2010

    yeah. SD toronado sucks with their 40-odd taps, perpetual Alpine flowing, deep bottle list, and tasty, affordable food.
  11. drgarage

    drgarage Initiate (0) California Aug 19, 2008

    It's definitely not a feature. What can be a feature is when it's applied correctly, ie: guy who gets the bartender's attention without knowing what he wants to order, then keeps adding more and more beers to his order as friends ask him to add stuff until he has 15 glasses piled in front of him and then realizes he doesn't have any cash on him. I saw that guy ripped a new one, and he earned the harsh treatment.

    The one thing that occasionally gets my hackles up with Toronado SF is when they have special stuff available that they only offer to their favorite customers. I'm a regular (live two blocks away), but I don't suck up to them, so I often miss out.
  12. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (870) California Nov 16, 2009 Verified

    I enjoyed Toronado SD but I dont know if I would like SF. Same reason I wouldnt go to Dicks last stand. I dont like rude people or A-holes so why spend money at a place where they have to act like this.

    nanobrew likes this.
  13. Never been to the SF location but I live less than a few miles away from the SD location and love it.
  14. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,440) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    How far is SD Toronado from Churchill's? I might have to hit it up this weekend.
  15. Probably a little over a half hour. Worth the trip. They will probably have some good stuff from Alpine on.
  16. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (870) California Nov 16, 2009 Verified

  17. DrAwkward82

    DrAwkward82 Savant (315) California Apr 16, 2005

    Honestly, if they didn't share a name there'd be no reason to compare to two. I appreciate them both for entirely different reasons.

    SF Toronado is a place to go when you want to give into the madness, to jump into a fray, to enjoy the spectacle of aging hippies alongside leather-clad bikers alongside suited bankers, united in nothing but love of good beer. Expect to be reminded about everything that's great and everything that's terrible about human beings.

    SD Toronado is tamer, calmer and yes, more homogenized a crowd. But there are certainly nights - most nights for me these days - when you just want to easily stroll in for a quiet, hassle-free drink. I recall playing Scrabble there over Poormans IIPA with my girlfriend the last Saturday night I was in SD; the idea of being able to saunter into the SF Toronado, find a quiet, empty table and play board games on a weekend evening is almost inconceivable.

    Two places, same name, two entirely different experiences every single time.
  18. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,440) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

    Does the SD location have Cable Car right now?
  19. beerdweeb

    beerdweeb Savant (310) California Nov 28, 2010

    Yeah. They have 09, 10, and the Kriek.
  20. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poobah (1,440) California Mar 18, 2010 Verified

  21. drgarage

    drgarage Initiate (0) California Aug 19, 2008

    Unless they do things wildly differently from Toronado SF, each is $40 for a 750.
  22. Ya Cable Car is around $40.
  23. MCorrea

    MCorrea Aficionado (150) California Aug 23, 2010

    I have an enjoyably unhealthy dislike for hipsters, but still find SD Toronado to be a good time. Given the choice though, I'd go to Hamilton's.
    pinkgrenade likes this.
  24. beerdweeb

    beerdweeb Savant (310) California Nov 28, 2010

    I think it was $80 for the 09, forget what the 10 was, and $55 for the Kriek. They also had a couple Izzy bottles for $140.
  25. drgarage

    drgarage Initiate (0) California Aug 19, 2008

    That's pretty outrageous on all fronts. Last I checked, SF had 08, 09 and 10 for $40 each but was out of Kriek. No Izzy, either.
  26. afrokaze likes this.
  27. Can I ask you what the big difference is?
  28. DrAwkward82

    DrAwkward82 Savant (315) California Apr 16, 2005

    Yeah, I'd say Toronado SD and Hamilton's are about equally hipsterfied, with the only difference that Hamilton's tends to be about 4x as crowded anytime after 4pm.
  29. Gotta agree with you. I love Hamilltons but place is much more dark.

    What is a hipster? ;)
  30. "What is a hipster? ;)"
  31. O...M...G
    barfdiggs likes this.
  32. MCorrea

    MCorrea Aficionado (150) California Aug 23, 2010

    Well, if I was trying to avoid hipsters altogether, Hamilton's would be a poor choice, no doubt. Hamilton's still has a heavy dose of prescription-less black rimmed glasses and ironic handlebar mustaches, but one must learn to be tolerant in the search for good beer. I guess I just prefer the ambiance, music, food, conversation, and dogs at Hamilton's versus Toronado. If I were choosing a place strictly on tap/bottle list, I'll admit I'd probably choose Toronado. Just from my own experiences though, I always have more fun at Hamilton's.

    Also, I usually end up playing shuffleboard with cute girls at Hamilton's, so that's another plus.
    Enish266 likes this.
  33. I think Brandon stole that title from my west coaster article from over a year ago. Someone isn't reading a mag that he writes for...
  34. But ya, I actually like SD a little more because if you are a beek geek/industry person you will always see people you know and the beer is always perfect. SF is a little more hit or miss beer wise (though still always great... it's all relative at this level) and seems to draw a less beer-geeky crowd most of the time.

    And Toronado SD always had a better tap list than Hamiltons. Not that I don't love Hamiltons, just saying.
  35. tyrsis

    tyrsis Savant (460) California Mar 13, 2009 Verified

    After some much thought, I'd take Monkey Paw over both Toronado's and Hamilton's. Never packed, great food, great taplist, awesome jukebox, and they're brewing their own stuff.
    Oh, and regarding hipsters?

  36. DovaliHops

    DovaliHops Advocate (540) California Nov 16, 2009 Verified

    I am not biased, as I am in the middle of both of them (geographically). I have been to SD Toronado twice and SF Toronado three times. Each time they had Cable Car and great selections of beers. SD Toronado serves their mac n' cheese...SD for the win!
  37. ahpark

    ahpark Aficionado (120) California Dec 31, 2008

    Hamilton's has gotten way too crowded for its own good; if you're going to call Toronado a hipster bar, Hamilton's beats it for sheer volume of hipsters alone. It's ridiculous that I can meander into Hamilton's on a Wednesday or Thursday and it's crowded as hell, while I can drive five minutes to Toronado and it's an open, chill atmosphere.

    Lately I've also been noticing Toro's taplist is considerably better than Hamilton's taplist, but that's just preference for most, I suppose.

    Also, for those of you saying Toronado SD is nice and family-oriented, you haven't heard Nate spewing obscenities at others (albeit jokingly), or Eric throwing coasters at guests for banging on tables.
  38. afrokaze

    afrokaze Advocate (665) Arizona Jun 12, 2009 Verified

    I like Toronado SF because it feels like a natural extension of the city and especially the area it's in. A hugely diverse crowd and things just kind of work themselves out in the chill Bay Area way. It definitely isn't much to look at, but it's all about the beer and good company.
  39. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Savant (315) California Dec 10, 2011

    SD Toro is 'my' bar of choice, although Monkey Paw is quickly becoming a favorite as well. Great taps, great house beer, and great food. I've always thought they've had the best taps in town since opening, heavy on the hoppy side.

    I was up in SF for a trip and on the way to the airport I stopped by Toro-North. There were 2 other patrons and the bartender and that gimpy fucker ignored me. As I had ample time to examine the list I realized a good 60% of it was SD beer. I wanted local stuff, not to be in SF and drink my SD local beer. Moonlight is something we can't get, and knowing to drink lighter to darker (wether in hops/abv/style) I told the Gimp politely I was interested in beer I can't get in SD and said I wanted the Moonlight Pils. he about laughed at my poor choice. It was tasty beer. I kept ordering up. Once the Gimp found out I knew one of his local regulars he brightened up considerably, but seriously, no reason to be a dick when there are 3 whole patrons in the bar. Jesus.

    Other than the name/layout, they're different bars. If I were local to the Haight, I'd be in Toro-North all the time, but I'm not so I'm not. 2 favorite SD bars are Monkey Paw and Toro-South.
  40. alfrantzell

    alfrantzell Savant (375) California Jul 11, 2005

    What I dislike about Toronado SD is that they don't coat their restrooms with a protective layer of urine. Don't they know this stuff is sterile? Toronado SF's facilities are the cleanest in the city, if not the state.
    teamizm, JoeySchlitz, mrkantz and 3 others like this.