City Beer Store

BA SCORE
97
world-class

328 Ratings
City Beer StoreCity Beer Store
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Store

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

(415) 503-1033 | map
citybeerstore.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2006

PLACE STATS
Score:
97
Ratings:
328
Reviews:
197
Avg:
4.4
pDev:
7.5%
 
 
Taps:
15
Bottles/Cans:
300
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 328 |  Reviews: 197
Reviews by trevorwideman:
Photo of trevorwideman
4.51/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

City Beer is an amazing store in SOMA that is a required stop on your beer tour of SF. Atmosphere is a little dank and industrial, and smaller than I imagined from the reviews. The quality of the selection cannot be underestimated, and the Owner has a great knowledge of the selections as well. He was very helpful in making my choices a bit easier. You can open any beer in the store and drink it there, which is cool. I took home 6 bottles to share and 2 to take home to Winnipeg, and walked away spending less than $40, even with 2 Russian River bottles in the mix. A great beer shopping experience.

 602 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of RixBeer
1/5  rDev -77.3%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1

So what kind of jerk tells you that you can't bring your kid in while you buy beer to go? This is the first time EVER in any of the states I have ever visited where anyone said anything this stupid to me! Or maybe it was my Red Sox shirt the guy was staring at?

No worries- I'll buy beer elsewhere. I won't make a second special trip to your "Mecca"... Do you know where you are? Good businesses don't turn away customers who are about to drop $1000 on beer and send them to a competitor....

No worries- they took my money with a smile on their face!

Buyer beware- not tourist or child friendly! A millions places to spend your money is San Fransisco- choose elsewhere!

 673 characters

Photo of Inglewood
4.61/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Bum4ever
4.14/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Low key bar and bottle shop in downtown SF. Pretty small supply of bottles, but some pretty decent stuff included some vintage bottles.
Service was great and everyone there seemed to be having a good time. I was there to see the bottle selection, but if I ever go back I would love to sit down and see what's on tap.

 318 characters

Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.37/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of CanConPhilly
4.75/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of Beginner2
4.62/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

You would have to spend a lifetime to find a beer store with a higher concentration of great beers and knowledgeable staff... and you probably would not succeed. I was there twice, hunting for the beers that would put me over the top of my goal of drinking 500 of the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You die." I found the last six. Three were so rare that I had to consume three on-site from their behind-the-bar cooler (Cantillon Lou Pepe, Black Albert and The Dissident.) While much of what is in that cooler is expensive on a relative basis.... if you gotta have, well, you gotta Have it.

Also on my list and fortunate for me, Pliny The Elder, had just come in; so, I bought three (and I may save one as my first trade.)

The staff are, quite simply, the best. Helpful, extremely knowledgable and very patient in reading through my 1001 list and the 300+ on MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium."

If you live in SF, you know City Beer. If you travel to SF, visit City Beer.
I was a resident of SF for the first decade of Fritz Maytag's ownership of Anchor. Today, I am glad to have visited twice what seems to be a center of the third generation of SF's craft beer scene.

 1,166 characters

Photo of HaoleToYouToo
4.54/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of soze47
4.53/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Photo of walt5
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of TheBlueJerzzzz
3.93/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of JMarimon
3.6/5  rDev -18.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of bennyman12
4.86/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of billab914
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.08/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

 504 characters

Photo of DblDiamond
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of SimcoeKid
4.48/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of dwagner003
4.68/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of reggggg
4.86/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of W_Des
5/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

 259 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.54/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

 799 characters

Photo of frasergrove
4.62/5  rDev +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.

 170 characters

Photo of amano_h
4.54/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

 2,227 characters

Photo of Sludgeman
4.05/5  rDev -8%
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

 677 characters

Photo of Coldstorage
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

 415 characters

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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
4.4 out of 5 based on 328 ratings.
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