Red Car Brewery and Restaurant

Red Car Brewery and RestaurantRed Car Brewery and Restaurant

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

1266 Sartori Avenue
Torrance, California, 90501
United States

(310) 782-0222 | map

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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 40
Photo of charlzm
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Visited on Monday 01/07/08 at about 4:00pm. Place was deserted. My friend and I sat at the bar and ordered an appetizer (spinach/artichoke dip). He had a pint of the porter, while I had the sampler. The bartender was very friendly and attentive, though not as knowledgable about beer as we were. The food took a long time to come, but that was okay. They have six taps brewed on premises, though they were out of the red ale when I visited. The decor is best described as early 20th century red brick: reminded me of a firehouse. Dark and quiet when we were there, though I have been before when it was bustling and noisy. The relief bartender was also attentive and friendly; she and I struck up a conversation about cars, of all things. Nice place. (here comes my standard closing line). If I lived closer, I'd visit a lot more often.

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Photo of kleffman
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Somehow I didn't know this existed even though I grew up in Torrance and lived there for 12 years. Visited with some buddies and just happened to hit happy hour. Nice little appetizer menu to go with the beers. Tried a couple of their ales and was quite impressed with the IPA. It's a big IPA that they may as well call imperial. Really enjoyed my visit and would like to go back for dinner and beers some day. I sat at the bar and just looked at their very nice wood covered brew equipment and brick walls. Cool place, especially for a quite beer deprived area (well I live in SD, so everywhere is beer deprived to me...)

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Photo of instrumentality
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

My girlfriend and I visited this brewery specifically because we wanted to check out their Pumpkinhead beer and see if it was growler worthy for an upcoming Halloween party. I've just reviewed two of their beers, including this one, so I'll try not to be too redundant here.

We arrived on a Tuesday evening around 6pm. Getting there was relatively easy from the 110, and apparently just as easy to get to from the 405. In fact, we probably could have just taken surface streets from my place in Long Beach and made decent time as well.

The one annoyance is that there doesn't seem to be any simple way to get there by public transportation. I checked the MTA web site and they couldn't even plot a course that would get me there.

Nonetheless, we got there...

The atmosphere was comfortable, with a reasonably long bar with brewing equipment in the background, and behind our bar stools, a significant supply of tables for dining. Others have broken the visual down with more detail, so I'll defer to them for much of this.

Apparently, we got there on the day they were having a special Oktoberfest Food-and-Beer pairing meal (five beers, five courses, $45 if I recall correctly), and by 7:00, the place was packed, but the clientele was pretty mellow (probably mostly early 30s to early 50s) and it wasn't all that noisy once everyone found their seats. About 1/3 of the bar seats remained vacant throughout our time there.

The bartender was a little slow (attention-wise, not mentally), but we weren't in too much of a hurry, and when he did show up, he was helpful, so I was happy with his service.

They only had four brews on tap: the Motorman's Reserve (bland), Big Red (like the chewing gum), the South Loop Porter (coffee/chocolate), and their seasonal special, the Pumpkinhead Ale (refreshing, slightly pumpkiny). I think all of the brews could have stood for a bit more carbonation, as there was no head to be found on any of them, but flavor-wise, they were all at least average. They were served just a bit too cold, but this tends to be the standard and I'm learning to get used to it.

The food, however, was quite impressive. I had the Motorman's Bacon Cheeseburger (three cheeses, hold the bacon and the "secret sauce"/Thousand Island) and fries and my girlfriend had the chicken picatta. We were both quite pleased. She couldn't even finish her meal, but somehow had extra room available to snatch up some of my fries.

Overall, I'd say the beer was so-so and the service was slightly better, but the food was worth coming back for and I'll take a so-so local beer with good food over a generic macrobrew any day.

I did end up purchasing two growlers of Pumpkinhead, but that was more out of desperation than any signficant appreciation. I'm optimistic, though, as I hear their IPA will be showing up very soon, and their dIPA should pop up sometime in December, so hopefully I'll have something tasty to refill those growlers with soon.

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Photo of loving44
4.58/5  rDev +21.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is my local haunt as its right down the street from my home/work. It's a small unassuming building from the street, right next to railroad tracks... I've never seen them in operation.

The inside is industrial with worn brick, stainless steel, and wood. Large brew kettles behind a long bar t the right with restaurant style seating to the left. The two areas separated by a chest high wall. The majority of the time the restaurant section is "seat-yourself". The whole place is a historic building, once a telegraph station. It's a really interesting building. There are 5 or 6 TVs showing different programs all the time, but it's not a loud sports bar atmosphere. An outdoor patio is also available.

Only ales brewed on premises are available as far as I know; no macros. Selection varies, and can seem small at times, but they usually have at least three on tap with the occasional seasonal special such as their winter warmer/strong ale "night train" and their pumpkin-head pumpkin ale (awesome). I'm a big fan of the IPA, and the South Loop Porter. The beers vary a bit from time to time due to slight recipe changes, but each one is very high quality and delicious. The brewing passion shows in these beers!! All beers are available in growlers, pints, and smaller taster versions.

The service has always been great. Sometimes they get busy and will mess up food orders a little, but both times it has happened top me I was compensated with free beer or free desert. I didn't mind at all!

That brings me to the food...

The burgers are fantastic as well as the fries. You have to try the fries!! Lots of dishes available ranging from simple sandwiches to fancy schmancy pasta dishes. The menu really has something for everyone and is pretty inexpensive considering the quality of the food. I love the motorman bacon cheeseburger and the seared ahi sandwich.

Recently they have stopped selling kegs, but re-fillable growlers are always available. This is a great place to stop if you are in the area at all... quality all the way!

** it seems their website has not been updated for some time as kegs are still advertised as being available. I would advise calling with any questions you have regarding information on the website.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Thanks to the guys in the Pacific group for pointing this place out to me.

Quiet and unassuming from the outside with outdoor seating on both sides of the establishment. Wasn't too busy that day, maybe a total of fifteen people and the place looks like it could support a lot more than that. It was a nice day so took a seat out side.

Zepplin was playing on the outdoor speakers, that was a nice touch. Waiter brought us water, bread, oil and vinegar right off the bat.

Menu calls for only six beers and two were dust, so we had four to choose from. Beer is offered in tasters, nooner (10oz), pint or schooner. Growlers to go. Beer is poured too cold IMO. Prices for beer were very reasonable. For the most part the beer was average...some weren't so hot and some were good.

Food menu was very good; Sandwiches, pizza, steaks, burgers, pasta, appetizers, desserts, etc. Had the ahi sando, wife had a chicken wrap. The fries were VERY VERY good. Highly recommended. Prices were a bit high but average for California cuisine (ahi sandwich was $12)

Overall the service was very good and very thorough.

Enjoyable time. And got a growler to go...a rarity in Los Angeles

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Photo of theautorestorer
1.55/5  rDev -58.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1.5 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | food: 1.5

I found the beer very flat and uninspired. It totally lacked body. The food was mediocre and the service was poor. I'm a collector of growlers but I couldn't find a beer worth 14.50 for the growler. I tried the IPA,porter,big red, and another brew I don't recall. None were worth the 4.50 a pint no less 14.50 a growler. If I didn't know better I would say the beer was watered down. I also found the one fermenter knuesering on the ground unsanitary but also repulsive. The bartender was rude and very short and the food was bland and cold. Skip it, there are better brewery's in Long Beach.

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Photo of rowew
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped in for lunch on a nice Friday .. showed up at 11:15 and joined the crowd of about 10 people waiting for the doors to open at 11:30. Once they opened I took up a seat at the corner of the bar (which quickly filled in). Bartender was quick to see what I wanted, and brought over my sampler right away. They had 4 beers on tap - he said they were usually 5 but they finished the porter the night before, and hadn't tapped the wheat yet. Reviews to the beers to follow, but they were all nice examples of the style. If you are only going to have one I would suggest the IPA! Bartender knew what he was talking about, and the brewer was also wandering around behind the bar working on beer and answering people's questions. I had a shrimp Po' Boy for lunch, and it tasted great. The brewpub itself is in a very nice building, with exposed brick and open rafters. There are also two nice patio areas.

If you are in the vicinity of Long Beach or LAX - make sure you stop in. Even if you are a bit further away, it will be worth your travel.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

After a few trips to the bar and the dining area, this is a place I like. It's very casual, with seat yourself service in the dining area and friendly, talkative people in the bar and dining area. The place is a monument to the old Pacific Electric Red Cars, which ran from the South Bay to downtown LA before the tracks were ripped up and the cars demolished. On a recent occasion, I went with my dad, a recently retired railroader, and one of his railroad buddies. They spent a little time walking around looking at the old pictures. TVs are everywhere, and rugby or soccer is frequently showing. Based on its proximity to the Home Depot Center, you'll usually find at least a few Galaxy fans eating and drinking before a game.

The beers are all pretty good, with the IPA being the best of the lot. Red Car serves only its own beers, but has something to satisfy almost every taste: a light beer to a porter. The beer has been consistent, with no off flavors.

Service at the bar seems better than service in the dining area. Unless showing up with a group, I'd recommend eating at the bar. All bartenders I've encountered are friendly and enthusiastic about the beer.

The food is better than average, with a selection of salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and pasta. I've tried several sandwiches, and they've all been better than most pub food. The pizza, however, had the flavor and texture of a frozen microwaved pizza.

All in all, this is a nice place to spend an evening. Although it's a distance from my house, I'm becoming a regular visitor for pre-match food and drink.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It all started with a BeerMail from fellow BA, Mickeymac, inviting me to share one of two Season Tickets that he has to the Home Depot Center to watch a Football, I mean Soccer, Match. We originally decided to meet at the Alpine Village, but StoutLove77 told me of this little known (it seems) Brewery only a few miles further up the road. Having been to the Alpine Village, I have to say that this was a far better choice for a pre-match Pint and a bite to eat.

Easily accessible from the 405 and 110 Freeways, the Red Car Brewery and Restaurant is located just off Torrance Boulevard on Sartori Avenue (which is a tight left turn if you are coming from the 110 like I did). The area seemed clean and nice enough, and a dedicated Parking Lot made stationing the voiture rather easy. From the outside it has plenty of character, the largish rectangular building dates from around the 1930’s but looks older. It’s name obviously owes its roots to that of the local Red Trolley Cars or Trams that used to run here and judging by the wide open spaced interior, it may have been an original Station Building at some point, hard to tell, but if I had more time to examine the excellent collection of old Photographs inside I may have been able to confirm this. Pictures reflecting the history of the Red Cars and old Torrance abound and are very interesting. A rail line still runs by, I want to say it is the Blue Line but I may be wrong.

From the Parking Lot, a small long thin Patio is visible, but it was empty on my visit. You enter from the Street side through a small door. As you enter an array of Tables fills two-thirds of the left hand side of the building. To the right and set against the wall is an L-Shaped Bar that sports around twenty or so stools. Behind the Bar, the Brewery is on open display and clearly visible. Lots of wooden clad stainless steel vessels add a nice “small but quality” feel to the equipment. The bar had two sets of Taps, around 8 Taps on each set, but the bartender immediately told me to check the chalkboard as not all the working Taps had handles on them (it seems examining the tap handles is an old habit from my Handpump days back in England that I can’t seem to shake).

Just as I was about to order, Mickeymac arrived, and we both went for a pint of the South Bay IPA, a very tasty unfiltered beverage that slipped down well. We both ordered a quick Sandwich, which arrived in good time. I tried a Pastrami sandwich with Fries, extra marks here for having Malt Vinegar and for the fact the bar tender didn’t bat an eyelid as I plastered the Fries with it. The South Bay IPA accompanied the food extremely well, but I was soon staring at an empty glass. A second Pint was ordered, but this time we both elected for a change of pace and opted for the South Loop Porter, the other options were a Red and a Special Bitter. The South Loop Porter is a tasty dark beverage that lacked a little carbonation but was nevertheless a decent drop, it certainly seemed the most popular of the beers on offer, and I saw a few Growlers filled with the Porter in the short time I was here. Indeed, they sell their own Growlers and Fills for very reasonable prices. If you are thirsty or a big drinker and not driving, you can even order a Schooner of any of the beers also.

I give Selection a 4, not based on quantity of the offerings, but the quality of them. Nevertheless, for those that value feedback on quantity, it seems like there are no more than 4 regular Red Car beers and 1 Special at any time. OK, not the greatest selection numerically, but what I do like is that this place seems more focused on quality beer, rather than quantity. What it does, it does very well. The bar tender was extremely courteous and chatty, and even went on to explain that they often brew a Winter Warmer which is popular and once a year they have a Pumpkin beer. In addition, a perk of the ears was experienced when he said that they also do a Double-IPA on occassion. I would certainly love to try that!

Well my first Soccer Match in the US ended in a rather sad result for the home Galaxy team, loosing 3-0 to the MetroStars. But I reckon I scored by getting to visit here and sharing a couple of Pints & a Sandwich with Mickeymac who I haven’t seen in a long while. I would seriously contemplate coming here again if I am in the area and most definitely if I am attending the Home Depot Center, hopefully to see another Footie Match.

A lovely, clean, well run Brewery Restaurant that is a quality outfit, the IPA and Porter are good enough to get me to come back here to try the other offerings at some point. Next time you are nearby on the 405 or 110, and have time, I would strongly suggest that you drop in here!!

Last Visit: Wednesday 23rd June, 2004.

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Photo of GoCubsMatt
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

This place is a fine local brewpub. We walked in and seated ourselves. There was a birthday gathering next to us, so the waitress didn't notice us immediately, but she apologized for missing us and was friendly and attentive for the rest of the evening.

The beer was good. I sampled the porter and the IPA, and enjoyed the porter more than the IPA. I felt the IPA was a bit too mild, but that was probably affected by my mild cold. They only had the porter, IPA, and wheat beer on tap that night, so that is why the selection gets rated a bit lower. Nevertheless, the small selection is all quality.

The food reaches beyond standard brew-pub fare. I had the jerk chicken and was most satisfied with my meal. They have a good selection of food.

I definitely recommend this brewpub as a place to get a good meal and drink some good beer.

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Photo of ChappyCubsFan
4/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I give all fours to this establishment. I've been there twice and each time was a good experience. But I need to try something other than the IPA, which, by the way, is excellent. This brew pub is located in the older part of Torrance, which looks like it's had a face lift over the past few years. It has a bar area, a large eating room and an outdoor patio. The brewmaster is very friendly and enjoys patrons commenting on his beers. His small brewing system is behind the bar and is made of oak. It's like none I've seen before. But he took the time to explain it to us. I will stop by again if I'm in the area.

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Photo of Rumrunner
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4


I stopped in here for lunch and this is a quality establishment. It is in the 'old town' part of Torrance, surrounded by shops and dated architecture. I was told the building used to be a telegraph office.

A large rectangular building. Brick walls give this place an old time feel. The decor is more modern. There are photos on the wall of the defunct 'Red Car' transportaion system which used to be very popular in the Los Angeles area. Upon entering the L-shaped bar is on the right. It is good sized and the bar area has a small ledges style bar opposite it. A couple of t.v.'s hang in the bar area for viewing sports. The dining area is to the left of the door and has plenty of tables and chairs. The brewing equipment is behind the bar. Another ledge style bar is near the kitchen. There is a skinny patio but no chairs or tables were set up when I was there. Maybe that is for summer use. A somewhat plain but very warm and friendly feel to this establishment.

The service was superb. The owner and brewer Bob is very friendly. We talked about beer for quite some time. I informed him of BA as he had never heard of the site before. The other servers were attentive and personable as well.

The food is very tasty. The ahi tuna sandwhich with fries was a hit in my opinion. The onion rings are huge, tasty and filling. The menu is large and I hear the fish and chips and the chicken pasta are very good as well. They also have soups, salads, burgers, calimari and quite a few other selections. Prices are fair as this is not greasy bar food. They have wine but no spirits.

The beers are brewed on premises. I had the South Bay IPA and their Winter Warmer. Both were very good. I was poured tasters of their Reserve and the ever popular Electric Lite. They are quality beers as well. The selection is about five of Red Car's beers at a time. They brew a seasonal pumpkin beer during October. There is only one guest beer which is the Bitburger non alcoholic beer. I gave 'selection' a 4.5 because quantity does not necessarily equal quality. These are quality beers. The IPA is not held back. Good and hoppy. Red Car will brew on occasion an imperial version of the IPA. I want to check that one out. The Winter Warmer is smooth, inviting and warming. Red Car is brewing quality beers and hopefully this will continue for years to come. They are not subtle knock offs of the styles for the masses. Beer lovers will find a beer to their liking here. Bob also told me that he is hoping to get his beers to some local establishments like Father's Office and others.

I have now tried the Red and the South Loop Porter. Both are fine examples of the style. The porter is especially nice. Get here and give them a try.

This is a quality establishment. Well run, friendly and fun for the family or a get together with friends. I recommend people give this place a try.

Notes: They have their own parking lot.
They have growler service.
They will serve beer in a schooner if you ask. Six ounces more.

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Photo of stoutlove77
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is one of the spots that I decided to venture around by my job after some research I did for a local brewery in my area. The establishment is right next to some trolly rails, (hence the name) and the place looks like it was an old station at some time. The setting is very pleasant and the feel was nostalgic for it displayed many memorabilia from the early years. The food was good especially the wings(i'm a deep wings fans), the beers that are on tap were in house specialties ranging from the golden Electra Lite to the South Loop Porter. On this trip I had the honor of meeting its Brewmaster and owner, (indeed a great person) to explain his detail on his brewpuppies as he was stirring up a batch of IPA while we had our gathering. He explained his teqniques are still based on English single mash fusion, which says much about the mellow taste I had with the sampler. The place has been around for several years and still looks promising. When out here I would recommend you try his unique version of the IPA, every time he has a batch it doesnt last very long.

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Red Car Brewery and Restaurant in Torrance, CA
3.66 out of 5 based on 76 ratings.
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