The Old Toad

The Old ToadThe Old Toad
The Old ToadThe Old Toad
Bar, Eatery

277 Alexander St
Rochester, New York, 14607-1920
United States

(585) 232-2626 | map

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Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 70 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SonictheBeerhog
3.92/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I don't wanna dis on the place but it was kinda smelly. Like, it smelled of old backed tap lines. The atmosphere was pretty authentic. The casks were a pleasant surprise

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

One of my favorite places to go in Rochester as I live about a 5 minute walk away.

The selection is always pretty solid. About 10-15 taps or so- 3 different tap stations- one with 3 on the right of the bar, 5 on the back wall of the bar, and 6 or so on the left side of the bar. There are 4 cask lines, but not all of them are always used at one time.

They try to have a few European beers on tap most of the time- Guinness and Fuller's London Pride are practically house beers for the Toad, and are always on. Their house DIPA, OT 20, is always on, and is really freakin' delicious. Always a good choice if none of the taps wow you. Good job by CB's on that one. There's sometimes a second house tap made by CB's, right now it's a brown ale brewed with squash, but I've seen a coffee porter, an "apri-bock", and a few others. Usually one or two Belgians, 3-4 NYS state beers, and then a few other specialty beers from across the country.

The service is hit or miss. They're not always good at handling bigger crowds, so if you're sitting down and want a beer on a Friday or Saturday night, you're gonna have to push through people to get a beer quickly. During the week the service is fine.

The food is good, but pricey, lots of great English favorites. The drunken cheddar soup is to die for, one of my favorites.

The beer is a bit expensive, and they don't generally have any specials that I can find. Beers on cask are never under $6, and usually are in the $7-$-8 range.

The atmosphere is very quaint. I can always get behind a bar that allows you to talk to your friends without shouting over loud music/TVs.

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Photo of Mediczod
3.76/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

All furnishings and decor imported from England. All staff are from England as part of a University program. Very authentic, like walking into a pub in London.

Food is very good, lots of traditional English fare. The Scotch Eggs are excellent. Several vegetarian options, however they tend to run out of some things on the menu fairly often.

Huge beer selection, specializing in cask ales. Many vintage and hard to find selections.

Large selection of Scotch, about 80 different varieties.

Located in an entertainment district, which can be rowdy at times. Upon leaving one time, my friend and I were approached by someone who attempted to rob us. Unfortunately for him, the bar isn't actually located in England, where the populace is unarmed. He went to jail after his failed attempt.

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Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

The Old Toad is located in kind of a neat old building on busy Alexander.

The space is kind of cut-up into different areas. It would say it is kind of like snugs you find in many pubs. The bar is towards the rear. It’s small and seats about 10. There are plenty of seating areas for large and small groups.

They have well-worn furniture and fixtures (in a good way) decorated with miscellaneous bar type stuff. Lots of old photos, beer bottles and I liked the clock set to London time.

Service was friendly enough and could talk beer. Note the staff is imported from the UK which adds a bit of flavor.

They offer 13 taps and 4 casks (including a cask cider). I would guess 30 to 40 good bottles. Unfortunately two of casks were empty during my stop, but that can happen.

Food service was very slow, but I was in no hurry. When I finally got it, it was pretty tasty.

I would stop by again for some good beers and conversation.

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Photo of olivianjeremie
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

The food was very good. Had the fish and chips, which was their special. They had a great selection on tap as well. The service was very friendly and able to suggests what to try with what I wanted in my beer. I would recommend this place, and I maybe a regular in the future.

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Photo of DonBar
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Great beer selection here, bottles and taps. Great English appeal. Love the food and selection. Great authentic menu over all. The place is a little cramped but generally a nice person crowd. I will continue to go to old toad for the unique experience.

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Photo of hungryghost
3.45/5  rDev -19.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I visited the Old Toad on a Monday afternoon for lunch. They had experienced a busy (or maybe regular ?) weekend and were out of all the popular and highly rated food items.
Quite a disappointment. What I did have was tasty.

The beer selection is pretty decent as far is English pub styles go. At the time of my visit they did not have much in the way of hoppy or 'big' beers. The local staff is knowledgeable.

They decor is unique to the area and interesting. Overall the prices are a bit higher than other establishments in the area, but worth a visit.

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Photo of Bowersm
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Great place for beer and food. Once inside the atmosphere is difficult to top. Beer ranges in quality, but is generally very good and fairly inexpensive. Only real complaint I have about the beer is that the wider selection tends to be more in the bottle as opposed to on tap, but that's ok given that what's on tap is generally of high quality. Have frequented this place since the late 90's on through until I moved away from Rochester in 2009. My wife and I try to make it back whenever we visit.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I was in Rochester for an audition and a friend of mine at Eastman told me about this place (knowing that I was really into beer) and we went there on a Friday night. The setting is awesome- it's meant to be an English pub (indeed all of the bartenders I spoke with were British) and has a very clean and warm atmosphere. Upholstered booths and well lit. They had a good number of beers on tap and many many more in bottles. I had a beer brewed for them called Smokin Toad Porter on draft, which was excellent, as well as Mission IPA on draft and Peak Organic Mocha Stout on draft. It was rather expensive, especially for it being Rochester, but it had a great vibe, nice and knowledgeable bartenders, and a very good selection of beer. If you're willing to spend a little money, this is a great place to visit.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.73/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Visited on 11/23/2011

Atmosphere - was the nite before thxgvg, so was pretty packed, was fairly easy to get a beer up at the bar, but there were several servers walking around, yet they never came to our table and asked if we needed anything.

The beer selection is more than decent for the Rochester area, a mix of local, regional and international/imported beers. I tried the house IPA on the reccomendation of a friend that turned out to be good. Also had a fullers london pride on tap, which was also good. The prices are decent. most beers are around $5 for a pint.

Overall Old Toad is a good place to get your craft beer fix on in the East ave. section of the ROC. Park in the lot in the back of the pub, parking is $5, but you end up getting $3 off of your first beer, which isnt a bad deal.

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Photo of fx20736
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Visited on 11/11/11.

Met some friends on a Friday early evening and the place was already filling up. Atmosphere is sort of old school clubby and slightly too bright for my tastes with lots of lights. Nice breweriana and memorabilia decorated walls, some nice wood paneling.

Servers are all friendly and speak with British accents which is nice.

Had a Peak Organic Pale from the cask. It was nice, properly served ~ 55f but nothing memorable. Also had a Smokin Toad Porter on cask, again nice but nothing special.

Friend & I split a cheese board which had a tasty Gorgonzola and a few other nice cheeses. My main course was a decent Fish & Chips.

After dinner we moved to the bar and I had a tasty Fuller's London Pride on tap and from their impressive selection of Single Malts I had a Glenmorangie 12 y.o. Lasanta which may have made a convert to Scotch of my friend.

It was a pleasant evening and we enjoyed the bartender from Derby. These days I'm not much of a Pub goer and this place is not close to where I live and parking is a hassle but I will definitely go back again.

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Photo of alee42
4.86/5  rDev +13.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

My friends and I were always raving about this place back in college. After going out a bunch of times, a bar-crawl, a Halloween night, and almost every Sunday, I can firmly say this place is utterly exceptional, in every shape-or-form.

It sits in the bar district along Alexander and East. Although there are many places to get your booze (Monty's and Murphy's I like too), this is the place to get your quality imports and microbrews. OT's signature beers are made at Custom Brewcrafters in nearby Honeoye Falls. Beers on tap are written on the long chalk board above the bar. They have a quality selection of beers, wines, and spirits featured on their menu - it's updated quite frequently.

The "Bar" area literally smells like an orgy of hops and malts. Cut off from the side room, or more characteristically the "dining area", the Bar consists of about 10-12 bars stools encircling the actual bar, with all assortments of glasses hanging from the rack above. There are booths with small tables that hit your knees along the sides, and a dart board that completes the scenery. Sunday nights are great for playing, not too many people around.

The staff members are the most helpful and active bunch. They say a cheers to you after ordering your drink, but the best part is they have British accents! Well, maybe not all, but the ones that have served me are quite the 'mates.

I definitely recommend this place to BAs and others that want to enjoy a night out, without the booming music and noisy crowds most commercial bars get. It's worth it.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

My aunt and uncle told me about this place when I was visiting them last summer. They ended up taking my girlfriend and I to lunch there before we came home.

We got to the pub and went inside it was around 1pm I think. There were a few people there, it was rather quiet at the time. There was a lot of soccer memorabilia on the walls along with beer banners and such. The table we sat at was small and wooden very quaint. The pub in the back was really nice looking too.

The menu was pretty extensive, there was a lot to choose from in way of food and drinks. The one thing that impressed menthe most was their home-brewed Double IPA. I ordered a couple of those along with my meal. It was all very good. The best thing of all was the Bourbon Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée. I'm a fan of that dessert anywhere but this version was so over the top.

The service was very good too, according to my aunt she said that all the employees are students from England who are studying abroad. It's explains the English accent that they all had. They were all very knowledgeable about the business and helpful with questions we had.

I would definitely go here again, everything was very enjoyable and I even managed to buy a bottle of Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence from a few years ago. Awesome stuff!

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Photo of Durge
4.16/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This sounded like one of the better stops for my brief stay in Rochester and I thought I was really lucky to be there on a night when they were featuring four casks from Troegs. Well I did manage to enjoy a very nice Nugget Nectar but the place was just mobbed at 8 PM on a Thursday night. Not sure if this was due to the cask special but it didn't appear to be the case. All I know is that there was nowhere to sit and all the tables were full throughout the entire restaurant and bar. It appeared that there was some sort of private party going on in one room. The selection on tap was very good and certainly the casks were an awesome addition. The bottled selection was pretty impressive too, not so much extensive but high quality, but it was all very high ticketed as well. Hardly seemed worth having them if they have to be so pricey. It looked like a nice place, an obvious English pub idea, a bit upscale as these kinds of places go. I'm sure I would have been more than happy had the place been less cluttered and frantic, so I might have sat comfortably at the bar and worked on those taps. But as it was I was happy to escape the madness and abandon my little bit of standing room near the bar to head to my hotel. Given the crowd I'd say the service for my one beer, though not quick, was reasonable. No time for chit chat of course. Clearly the staff was working very hard though so I'm sure service is fine under more normal conditions. I would like to go back for lunch or something some time, but this experience was not too exciting. But the Nugget Nectar was very nice none the less..

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went here on a recommendation from a fellow BA'r, thanks Homebrew42!

This is a very English style pub that's really cozy, quaint, and downright comfortable. The ceiling is sculpted tin, the booths are open with high backs, and there's even high back chairs in areas. Lots of pictures on the walls and it creates an atmosphere that's more like sitting in someone's house rather than a bar or's really cool.

The food menu is very English style, but it's large and there's enough things on there to satisfy just about anyone. I had the Fish & Chips which was a little bit greasy, but not too bad, but totally appropriate for this particular pub and atmosphere, no complaints here.

They had (4) casks, (15) or so taps, and about (125) bottles on the list, all high end selections. The bottled list is well thought out and it classifies the beers according to style, also including alot of very high end hard to get bottles. What I really liked is that the bartender REALLY knew his beers. I've had too many experiences lately where people didn't know what they were pouring, not terribly bad, but it's always nice to discuss beer at some length with the bartender and walk away with more beer knowledge.

I was there on a Wednesday night and it was somewhat mellow up until 10:30 PM or so, then it REALLY got crowded and busy. I HIGHLY recommend The Old Toad and definitely will be going back.

Oh yeah, their 20th Anniversary Brew was absolutely awesome, I took a growler home and also two bottles to be included in a beer basket wedding gift for my wife's cousin and my best friend. Needless to say, these two are West Coast hop heads and the 20th Anniversary bottles were total hits with them. I hope 'The Toad decides to do this 20th Anniversary on a regular basis, it's an AWESOME brew!!!

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Photo of mbusster88
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Very good place to go for a pint. Food is good, just pub food, but good just the same. Sometimes have deals for food and brew at a good value. Beers range quite a spectrum. Great beer menu comes in handy for selecting your drink, really interesting to see the large assortment. Some vintage stuff that you have to second glance at since its so old! Really great staff are knowledgeable and can recommend a brew. Much better than your average place in Rochester with little more than BMC. Little run down, but its a pub so who really cares. Love stopping here whenever I am going through Rochester.

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Photo of UTvolFAN16
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

me and my wife were lookin for a place to eat lunch and have a few beers so we looked online and found this place and went. when we arrived there was very few people there, probably due to us having a late lunch, they had quite the brittish pub menu which was very very good food, the watior we had was the son of the owner and was quite helpful, he recommended a shepards pie in which he himself made, it was quite delicious. they had a pretty decent bottle menu and a good draft menu, 4 beers out of a cask, one of which was their own ipa, i got one out of the cask and one on draft, both were good, but the cask was excellent. i actually look forward to going back to rochester and going to this pub again... oh and maybe it was just because there wernt that many people there and it was just the owners son but it was the 1st brittish pub i have been to where they actually have brittish accents.. that just added to the coolness factor.

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Photo of DrewKid4
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I had researched this place as a pub to find when in Rochester. I was in town to visit a friend for his birthday at RIT and planned out a pub crawl through Rochester. I was intrigued by the authenticity of the British in this British pub. Having attended Oxford for a summer, I went to a lot of pubs and loved their atmosphere and wanted to see the Old Toad for myself and to show friends the British drinking culture.

This pub is definitely a diamond in the rough of Rochester, NY. The atmosphere is the closest to an Oxford pub as I have ever seen in the United States. Even the tables and chairs represented the pubs across the pond very well. As one of my friends said, "this is the nicest bar I have ever been to," I knew I had them hooked. I ordered the house IPA real ale and I ordered a Fin Du Monde for the birthday boy, who hadn't had more than Dos Equis in his life.

We then indulged ourselves in a game of darts during our drinking session, me with the hoppiest IPA I have ever had and my friend with his always interesting Canadian Belgian. The place was not busy like an American pub, but every table was almost filled, still with comparisons to an english pub. I did not eat there but the portions looked generous and the food did look great. After a Franziskaner in its actual half liter glass and low price, we headed out, definitely impressed by the Old Toad.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Did a little research before taking a trip to Rochester a few weeks ago, & this place seemed to be the best destination.

Pretty authentic pub feel, down to the woodwork & upholstery. Some nice big booths, even though that's not what we were looking for -- this would be a great place to meet up with a group. I had to remind myself that not everyone would be speaking with a British accent (though some of the servers certainly did!).

Impressive beer list, grouped into style category, with a "Vintage" section that was impressive as well as some names I don't see back home -- excited to see GIBCS on the list, though the price was prohibitive. Some great stuff, but they definitely make you pay for it. And the house cask ales were good -- I got a chocolate stout, followed by a DIPA, which was pretty awesome.

The food was impressive, too. I like the variety of traditional pub food, plus the pub food "with a twist." The vegan bangers & mash was awesome, my wife & I might try to make it ourselves at some point. The food was fairly reasonable, but again not cheap.

Service was decent -- it wasn't too crowded for a Friday evening, surprisingly. A lot of talk of beer could be overheard, always makes for a nice ambience.

I'd definitely recommend checking the place out, especially if you're on vacation (as we were) & have a little extra money to throw around -- a great place, but you could drop some coin there easily. Don't know if I'd go that often if I were a local, more like a special occasion kind of place.

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Photo of dexterlovejoy
3.73/5  rDev -13.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Nice place. English styled pub. Three handpulls. Ten to twelve drafts, most of which are solid choices.Nugget Nectar, Fullers wre two of the handpull choices. Wells Bombadier, some housebrews made by Custom Brewcrafters were available. Decent bottle list with AMERICAN mICROS, eURPEAN & bELGIAN cHOICES. Nice laid back atmosphere. Had the bangers & mashed & cheese fries. Both were excellent & reasonably priced. Friendly English staff comprised of local college students. A must stop in the rochester area

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

To me, the most memorable thine about The Old Toad was the atmosphere. I was there around midnight on a Saturday and while the place had a decent amount of people in that night, was still comfortable in regards to both volume and space. The crowd seemed to be primarily RIT students (at least the folks I spoke with) and remained really laid-back and chill.
The beer selection seemed to me to be all about quality over quantity. Not a ton of draught to choose from, but you can pretty much pick a beer from the menu at random and be comfortable that you will have a great brew.
My bartender, a girl of about 25 or so, was certainly capable of answering any questions my girlfriend and I had. She provided proper glassware for each different beer, as well as offered personal suggestions.
I'll certainly be back to The Old Toad next time I'm in Rochester.

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Photo of Nightwielder
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

My first visit to The Old Toad was a memorable one indeed; one that kept me coming back for more over the summer. Firstly, the beer selection here is dynamite! You simply have to check it all out for yourself. Secondly, while seemingly an afterthought of the main attraction here, the food is excellent as well. I will say that the beer here doesn't come cheap, but who could blame them considering high prices for lower-end beers elsewhere. You pay a small premium for the variety of this place, but that's understood because there's nothing around quite like it. Plan on dropping a good amount of money here for the exquisite beer and fun times! I love the all-around British-esque style of the pub with the service especially! All in all, fantastic place to eat, converse amongst friends, and drink beer!

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The Old Toad is my favorite Rochester pub. I go here several times a month! Their beer selection is one of the best in town, with over 15 beers from all over Europe on tap (including Delirium Tremens or Nocturnum all the time) and a bottled beer list that is 10 pages long. The food is also pretty good, provided you like English pub fare. They have everything from sandwiches and cheeseboards, to full dinners like Shepard's Pie and the classic Bangers and Mash. I love going here on a weekday night to play darts with friends and have a few high quality beers. The only qualm I have is that if you come to eat dinner on a busy night the service can become a bit shoddy. However, the awesome pub atmosphere and amazing beer selection more than compensates for it. The Toad also has 3 cask-conditioned real ales on tap year round for your enjoyment.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I went here two weeks ago while on vacation with the family. Our visit was on a Thursday evening for a late dinner. We were there at about 8pm and the place was kind of busy. The sign at the door said seat yourself and that's what we did. 15 minutes later we found someone to wait on us.
This place sits on a corner. Walking in there's a short entryway then a dozen or so tables in a room on the left. Walking straight from the entry way leads to the bar area which also has probably a dozen or so tables as well as some stools at the bar.
After we got our order in I studied the bottle menu and the tap list a few more times. 15 or so taps most had an English theme to them, 3 casks! I had 2 of them. Flying Bison cask, Old Engine oil, and something else from Custom Brewcrafters cask. All were very good. Good selection of single malts as well, I had one as a nightcap.
I had the stuffed chicken, my wife had the grown up mac and cheese, and the kids had something fried from the tadpole menu. Good solid pub style food.
The service was a bit off tonight. First no one came to wait on us, then we had to move because the dining area was to be closed for a private party. After what seemed like hours we were told that someone dropped my wife's plate on the floor and they were remaking her dinner. They apologized and gave us free desert and such, but we were there for over an our and pretty damn hungry before our food came out.
If I were in the area again I would definitely stop in, great comfort food, and decent beer selection.

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Photo of wieserjd
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've been to The Old Toad a couple of times over the years. As you can probably tell from other reviews, the atmosphere is similar to an English pub. Most, if not all, of the staff are from the UK and the bar is very much going for a "foreign" feel. However, although the feel may be foreign, this is still clearly an American establishment. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice try; but I'm not buying it.

The reason that you go here is for the beer. They have an extensive list/book that includes many many belgians (my favorite) along with english, german and micro american beers. They have about 15 taps and a couple of casks however the best options are in bottles. Most choices come with proper glassware which is always nice.

Services has never been a problem as I have only gone here during afternoons/early evening. I suppose it might be more of an issue later on in the evening.

The food is very good as well. I have had their shepard's pie, bangers and mash and some other sausage-esqe meal whose exact name escapes me at the moment. All were well done and quite tasty.

The prices are kind of steep but if you want good beer, you have to expect to pay a decent buck for it.

If I lived in town, I think I would spend a lot of money here. Try it, you'll like it.

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The Old Toad in Rochester, NY
Place rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 70 ratings