City Beer Store

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

195 Reviews
City Beer StoreCity Beer Store
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Store

1168 Folsom St
San Francisco, California, 94103-6027
United States

(415) 503-1033 | map
www.citybeerstore.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2006

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PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Reviews:
195
Ratings:
324
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
6.33%
 
 
Taps:
15
Bottles/Cans:
300
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 195 | Ratings: 324
Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I always like to stop in here when in San Francisco and checking out Cellarmaker which is not far from here. There's a good selection of bottles and cans although I get the sense that their best beers get cleared out almost immediately upon arrival. If you can appreciate great shelf beers you'll find plenty here.

The tap selection here has never blown my mind but always has some good stuff.

If you are willing to spend some change, the on-site consumption bottles offer some serious, serious gems.

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Photo of W_Des
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stopped by during a vacation to grab some beer and the guys working were extremely helpful offering suggestions related to what beer I was looking for. Seemed to be pretty busy on the bar side as well and I would have loved to stop and have a pint. Next time.

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Photo of mactrail
3.54/5  rDev -19.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

My favorite part about this store is the several coolers have little lights that shine right on the front bottle in each shelf, so you can actually see what they hell they are. Otherwise it's cramped and the random shelves and boxes make it hard to see what else they have. The location means you have to walk through some of the worst south of Market blocks. Service seemed brisk and efficient, but I didn't ask for anything I didn't see.

Selection seems utterly eclectic and they typically have just one or two beers from a given brewer, rather than the full range. Not really that great a selection of Bay Area beers either. Mostly there are a lot of random oddities and expensive rather than rare stuff. It's the place to go if you want the $20+ sours and wild ales and barrel aged concoctions.

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Photo of frasergrove
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Great to go/bar in SoMa...while the price point of brews to go can be borderline crazy, the selection of stuff to take out, enjoy in house, or have on draft is excellent.

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Photo of amano_h
4.54/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

I always thought City Beer Store was one of the most underrated beer establishments in San Francisco. Now that I see 600 other reviews that also seem to think that way, perhaps it's as adequately rated as it can get.

The legends and the stories (both good and bad) about this place are all true, but once you think about the circumstances surround them, it's not all that impressive or out of the ordinary; the most clear cut way to describe City Beer store is that unlike all these new bars trying to capitalize on the craft beer craze, City Beer has its shit together and have known what they're doing even before beer was cool.

Yes, City Beer Store boasts some of the best selection of take-out beers and has a very carefully-curated rotating tap list, but then the city of San Francisco in itself has one of the widest distributions / selections of beer available in the country. (thank you, based Shelton Brothers)

Yes, City Beer Store tends to be slightly more expensive than some of the other bottle stores like Healthy Spirits and/or Whole Foods, but have you considered minimum wage, the rent in SoMa and the cost of operating a non-franchised individual business in San Francisco?

Yes, City Beer Store will sometimes have ridiculous whales hiding in their "Bar Fridge" (again, thank you based Shelton Brothers) and they charge an arm and a leg for them. The last time I went, they had bottles of Cantillon Fou'foune for 60 USD, which costs about 12-20 EUR (or 32 USD at the time of when I had this at City Beer) at the source, and Bourbon County Vanilla Rye for 40 USD. Would I ever spend that kind of money if I were just some dude with a casual interest in beer and were satisfied with the amazing selection that the Bay Area has brought upon its consumers over the past two years? Probably not. Would I order these bottles if I were visiting home for the first time in two years and just haphazardly saw it in the store while visiting it with one of my best friends on my birthday? You bet I did.

So in the end, all of City Beer Store's quirks and idiosyncrasies, like them or not, seem to have a method to their alleged madness. Your mind might rest easier if you remember that it's all just beer in the end.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75

This place came highly recommended, but I was not impressed. A nice place but there are better beer bars in town. A little difficult to find as the signage at night was difficult to read/possibly non-existent.

V - A bit too dark. Difficult to read hanging paddles that served as the draft beer list. But a fine beer vibe. Also a bottle shop with a decent selection. 3.75

Sel – Relatively small selection on tap but a good selection of bottle that you could drink in-house. 3.75

Ser - Excellent service. The bartender was able to help my non-beer drinking friend choose a barrel aged beer to his liking. – 4.25

Q – Good. Correct glasses and temp. Clean. 4.25

F - NA

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Photo of Coldstorage
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

I gotta ding em on vibe the most. Crowd is usually unpleasant and there are nowhere near enough seats. It's almost never a "comfortable" place to grab a drink.

Quality is fine. Good beer served through clean lines into clean glasses.

Service is mixed. Sometimes helpful, sometimes not.

Selection is great. Prices are straight up insane. Don't bother looking at the bottle list unless you have a sense of humour.

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.64/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I Love City Beer, it's always been one of my favorite places to drink beer in the City. While it started out as a tiny bottle shop with a superb selection... it's turned into a small (double the original size but still quite petite) very chill beer bar with 15 handles of interesting, rare selections - often of kegs you wont find anywhere else in the City or the Bay Area. Even better, they have a deal with Alpine, so there's always at least one offering. They also hold some super kick-ass special events. There are still bottles for sale and a solid variety, just a bit less emphasis.

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Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

15 taps, smaller bar area, nice bar though big wooden lacquered thing, semi open area, few artistic pictures, bartender was fairly knowledgeable and friendly. Pretty clean, very limited snack offerings. Tons and tons of bottles, lots of super limited stuff like framboos, goose island bourbon county series, midnight sun, Avery specials, eclipse series, lots of vintage bottles, many great Belgians sour esp, almanacs, cascades, etc. Prices are fair, on the better side for the most part but a few expensive ones.

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Photo of EsseQuamVideri
3.68/5  rDev -16.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Solid place. I'm a tourist, so I can't really compare it to places in the region. As a bar, I rate them very highly; good vibe, good beers, good bartenders. As a bottle shop, I rate them average; average to slightly small selection. Overall, I exhumed you go if you're in the area.

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Photo of mikepcarney
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Only issue I had going to City Beer Store is that everything is way over priced. Tap list is very nice and interested array of bottles on the shelf. Bottles are consistently marked up 20% over elsewhere. The reserve list is insanely overpriced. Go to Toronado if you want a great reserve list and great taps. Bottles check out The Wine Club.

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Photo of BDeibs
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

What a great store. A really well curated 10 tap list and a very fun vintage bottle list for sale. They make of the most of their space and have curated a nice selection of beers for sale from 45 dollar Belgians, to some great beer from across the US and a nice selection of small breweries from Northern California. The service couldn't have been better. Everyone was very friendly and very helpful without being pushy. A really great group of people supporting a really great store!

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Photo of James_Michaud91
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Bar/Bottle shop with a huge selection. Well known amongst the beer community. Regularly have very limited/special taps on including beers brewed specifically for their store by greats such as The Bruery.

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Photo of ericw985
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Great tap selection, including a few from Russian River (Blind Pig and Perdition when I visited) and some very good local brews from Cellarmaker and Fieldwork. There was a big bottle selection too, but while Cantillon and some harder to find RR bottles were available, they were extremely expensive and had to be opened and drank before leaving. The bartenders were very friendly and knowledgeable, and the tap area was a fun and social environment.

I didn't get to check out Toronado before leaving SF, but CBS is an excellent place to check out for high quality beer that I would go out of my way to visit again.

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Photo of Rilesmiles
4.11/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Selection was smaller than I had expected, but definitely nothing to scoff at. Was able to find a few 'wants' that I can't get back home in Wisconsin, but nothing mind-blowing.

Vibe was cool, and the inclusion of a small tap room was a great bonus. Didn't stop for a beer but it looked well-managed.

Staff was friendly. A worthy stop, but not a destination in my opinion.

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Photo of JamLand
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Easily the best store/bar combo I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. Plenty of street parking around the store, if renting a car while in SF. Typically, one of the best to go bottle selections in the city and usually a great tap list, so you can have a brew after all the hard work of beer hunting.

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Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev -9.5%

A very unassuming store, but also serves beer with a full bar and a few bites to go with it.

The tap list is real impressive at times, with items from Russian River, Alpine, and other West coast classics.

Real nice organized store too. It's not a huge selection, but lots of West coast goodies, and even some decent foreign imports.

A great buying and drinking beer stop in the area.

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Photo of Goalcam
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Love the concept, lots of beer to choose and some charcuterrie <sp?> options. Also have some nice beers on tap rotation as well. Slightly shady area in the city though.

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Photo of dbannister
5/5  rDev +13.1%

This is the premier place in San Francisco to either get a bottle or something on tap (15 taps). The place has been open for >7 yeas but it has stayed humble and honest since the craft beer explosion. The staff is extremely pleasant, helpful, and responsive. The owners are great people who have helped shape the craft beer scene in the area.

Great place to go have a conversation (music isn't too loud) while enjoying a quality libation.

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Photo of AussieActor
5/5  rDev +13.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

An unassuming cozy little nook staffed by some of the coolest people in the industry. Adam, Teddy, Ryan and Eddie always deliver. The knowledge and enthusiasm is second to none. I love this place.

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Photo of mike312
4/5  rDev -9.5%

Fairly unimpressed considering all the hype. I was able to find a similar beer selection at a nearby Whole Foods (which was an amazing selection, mind you). Overall, compared to the likes of other dive bars with similar selection (Toronado, Zeitgeist, etc.) and Monk's Kettle, I was far from impressed.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%

A (mostly) beer only SoMa establishment with an strong tap list and comfortable environs.

If I'm staying in SF for more than a day, and staying in the usual Financial District spot, I try to make my way to City Beer Store. The three for four times I've been here it's been fairly busy. It's a polite crowd, though, a I've never had to wait too long for my next pour. There's always something to choose. A dozen to fifteen choices ranging from very small breweries you've never heard of (unless you live in the area) to stuff you've always wanted to try but haven't been able to find. The food is limited, but you're not here to eat. Parking is limited, but it is walkable if you're staying around the Convention Center. Prices are reasonable. I believe there are bottles and growlers for purchase, but I never have. A must if you're coming to the city.

 853 characters

Photo of spark3148857
4.16/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A well selected list of draft beers to consume while perusing a relatively extensive stock of bottles. While the bottles are priced reasonably, I have found the draft list to usually be high even for San Francisco standards. I haven't found as many rarities (such as RR sours, barrel aged etc.) here as I have at some other stores in the city.

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Photo of ChanChan
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75

I came here on Wednesday May 29th, 2014. The Atmosphere was a bit crowded for a Wednesday but we had no problem in getting service. The quality of beer is excellent. I just wish they could have more refrigerators for the IPA's they keep on the outside shelfs. The service was good. The selection in bottles was very decent both in the refrigerators as well as in the shelf. They also have a number of beers on draft. The list wasn't very impressive that night! In addition, they have refrigerators that are at the back of the bar, these have rare but very expensive beer. I decided to skip on those even though they had a good selection of brews. I did not get to try any of their food but I believe they only serve light appetizers. The thing that I disliked about this place was the price of beer. A lot of the beer is affordable but the corkage fee seemed unfair to me. They have different corkage fees depending on the OZ per beer. I know they need to get as much money from people as possible for rent but I'd rather just drink their draft beer instead. Overall it was a good experience but not as good as I had anticipated.

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Photo of indianabeerman
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

went with my wife on a Friday night. the places was packed. service was awesome. bartenders were very knowledgeable and also quite helpful in the selection of beers. the bottle selection was great. current beers and aged beers. people hanging out drinking exceptional beers.

Here on vacation 1st week of may.

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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
98 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.
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