Toronado

ToronadoToronado
ToronadoToronado
Bar, Eatery

4026 30th St
San Diego, California, 92104-2602
United States

// CLOSED //

Notes:
PLACE STATS
Average:
4.48
Reviews:
122
Ratings:
256
pDev:
8.04%
View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 256 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cratez
cratez from Canada

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Visited with my wife on a recent trip to San Diego and Los Angeles.

Tried the following:
18th Street Brewery Dank Diesel (sample)
Kern River Just Outstanding IPA (draft)
Russian River Pliny The Elder (draft)

Beers ranged from very good to mind blowing. Also had a tasty house-made pretzel with cheese sauce. My wife enjoyed her Great Divide Strawberry Rhubarb. Service was solid as the bartender was quick to grab our drinks and she did a commendable job of recommending a beer for my oenophile partner in crime. Comfortable, relaxing atmosphere at the bar during the day, with lots of natural light coming in. Our overall experience was magnificent, and we would definitely come back.

Mar 29, 2020
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.66/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Afternoon visit, sat at the bar

“Dress code: three tooth minimum”

NCAA hoops on tv, plenty on tap , bottles in the fridge, great play list on the speakers

Beer steins, bottles , signs, posters- this place sells beer- Russian river, stone, allagash, society, bocker, Firestone walker, etc

The beer tender recommended the thin sliced ribeye sandwich = excellent

Great bar
Recommended
Repeatable

Mar 21, 2019
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Bshaw22 from Wisconsin

4.89/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

place is a beer mecca for beer bars. Had amazing tap list when I was there:
Society
Blind pig
Pliny
You name it, they had it.
Reasonably priced on the whole as well.

Dec 27, 2018
Photo of chrisjws
chrisjws from California

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

Dingy vibe, but don't let it fool you. Selection here is some of the best you'll find anywhere. Russian River among many other great choices. They don't have a fryer so don't expect bar food. Get the wings and a Pliny.

They have a lot of random old goodies and a pretty extensive bottle list.

Feb 11, 2018
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WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great craft beer bar, rustic and well-used. Place has a bit of a biker bar vibe. Around 30 beers on tap - stellar CA offerings - and an incredible bottle list. Quintessential San Diego beer bar.

Jan 05, 2018
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mdfb79 from New York

4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Went twice on my trip, very cool laid back vibe. Bartender was awesome and very friendly since I was into beer. Great Cali selection and amazing to find Cable Car bottles. Expensive but sick bottle list. Average bar food.

A great bar and loved being able to order Cable Car but I actually preferred Hamiltons to Toronado.

Oct 13, 2017
Photo of neil2me
neil2me from Connecticut

4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I loved this place. It's a craft brew dive bar, and the selection for me (coming from the East Coast) was tremendous. Had my first Pliny the Elder here and my only wish is that I could have had more time to enjoy my time there over a few more beers.

Jan 23, 2017
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BillRoth from Maryland

4.39/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25

Been to SD many times and had just seemed to miss Toronado. Had been to original SF location, and thought it about time to check it out in SD. Glad I did.
Old school beer bar vibe...somewhat like SF. Only here it was 30th street vs Haight. So your head is in a definitely different place when you head in. Once in...the vibe is more relaxed. More laid back and friendly. Staff took exceptional time to talk beer, quiz me on what I was looking for and offering many unsolicited tastes and trials. Also VERY impressed that staff asked my opinion on new beers they had tapped/were not entirely familiar with. Not just whether I liked or not...but the details. Not unlike T-SF the tap selection was very good, but nothing jaw dropping. Bottle list is extensive but only a few rare/special beers. SD has plenty of solid alternatives. So I would highly recommend a stop because of the staff and a much better than average selection list.

Nov 14, 2015
Photo of MilwaukeeBeerMaker
MilwaukeeBeerMaker from Wisconsin

4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here on a recent trip to San Diego and it was well worth it. A craft beer lovers bar. Lots of great taps and lots of great bottles. Even managed to get the famed Cable Car via bottle. My lunch was delicious and the bartender (Val) was pleasant and helpful.

Oct 26, 2015
Photo of mrcraft
mrcraft from California

4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

I finally made my way here after many trips to San Diego. I usually limited myself to walking distance from the office but no more. I'm glad I came here. It was a blast. The bar is located in North Park. It's somewhat nondescript from the outside.

Since today was a Monday it wasn't crowded at all. Val, was my server and she was great. At first I was going to get a pint of Cellermaker Batch 1 Porter, but they were out. But, then I noticed they had Russian River Salvation in a bottle, so I got that instead, you don't see that often. Nice Belgian Dark.

I'll be back again!

Aug 25, 2015
Photo of Buck89
Buck89 from Tennessee

4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited Toronado in San Diego earlier this year. Was out on business and I had only had a few hours, so I went there alone on a weeknight. Amazing offerings and very friendly staff. I ordered a pint of The Pupil from Societe, arguably one of SD's finest IPAs. Outstanding. Turned out that the guy sitting next to me was a brewer at a local place, and he invited me to visit his tasting room up the street. As I asked to settle up, the bartender comped me the pint. What a great vibe. I left her a tip 2x the price of the pint. Can't wait to get back there.

Mar 17, 2015
Photo of Scottie_A25
Scottie_A25 from California

4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

I came here for dinner on 12/12/14. Really wanted to check this place out because I'd heard a lot of good things. The beer selection was fantastic and the service staff were knowledgeable and friendly. I was disappointed in the food though. Ordered the Jidori Chicken Sandwich and didn't like it. To be fair though, it's a beer bar and not a restaurant so I can't knock the food too much.

Jan 01, 2015
Photo of The_Jerk
The_Jerk from California

4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Great selection of beers on tap. Food is average from what I had that day. Ambience is good with right amount of seating. Would like them to update their tap list more often but that's just me. Now only if Toronado would open up another location in L.A. then I would be in heaven!

Nov 19, 2014
Photo of Halloran33
Halloran33 from California

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Best beer selection! Consistently great beers to try. Food isn't my favorite, but vegetarians can't have it all sometimes. Also, can be extremely loud with the music and people screaming over said music. I can't wait for their expansion! Love Toronado on quiet afternoons the best.

Oct 08, 2014
Photo of jwswigs
jwswigs from California

3.33/5  rDev -25.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I don't get the hype about this place. There are far better spots north in Orange County. I will say it has a cool neighborhood bar vibe with (real) rock n roll playing on the juke box and the food we had was quite good, especially the pork belly skewers, but as far as beer is concerned, and frankly, everything takes a back seat for me, this place is nothing special.
First, the beer menu is above the bar, not behind it, invisible to those sitting at the bar. Most beer-friendly joints I go to have a current tap list on a piece of paper for you to view, usually with a sentence or two about each beer. Looking at their menu board, I couldn't even tell what style half the beers were. As far as the selection was concerned it appeared to be almost all local breweries without much out of the ordinary. Of course with no descriptions what do I know. They do have a bunch of interesting stuff in bottles in the fridge behind the bar, but they don't have those on a list. On a side note, there was no wine for my wife, but it is a beer bar, I guess.
I couldn't find the tap list on their website and beermenus and taphunter hadn't been updated in months or years. Therefore I couldn't do any "homework" on what to try. I did recognize one on the menu I hadn't had and wanted to try, but they were out of that one. As service leaves a little to be desired, even in the afternoon, I didn't want to let the bartender get away, so I asked for a recommendation on a less bitter ipa on the more tropical side. (Did I mention they don't have flights?) I ended up with a piney, bitter, resinous one.

Apr 06, 2014
Photo of hops_and_waves
hops_and_waves from California

4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

So, you're in San Diego and you visit beer web sites. Well, the Toronado has the best beer selection in San Diego. Great tap list and great bottle list. They also make some pretty good food. And the service at this location is much more friendly than the SF location, which I also love. This is one of the few places you can get Alpine beers on a pretty consistent basis.

Mar 22, 2014
Photo of GABrew
GABrew from Georgia

4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

I met up with a BA trading partner (coolethan) for an IP trade at Toronado SD a couple months ago while I was in town. This is an outstanding beer bar with a great selection of beers. Unfortunately, they were preparing for a big event, so the draft list was a little smaller than usual, from what I was told. They still had plenty to choose from and I had an Evil Twin Justin Blaeber. I also couldn't pass up Pliny on tap. Their bottle list was outstanding and I had my first taste of Firestone Walker PNC and Lost Abbey Cable Car... both incredible! They didn't allow any to-go bottles, or I might have brought one of each home with me. The service was fine and the food was very good. I will definitely seek this place out anytime I'm in the SD area.

Jan 09, 2014
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EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.25

Went for the 1st time on a Satuday night before the crowd hit. Probably a good idea to head over to this place by 8 or 9 if you want a seat on the weekend. Very happy with the bottle selection but the draft selection just wasn't what I was hoping for. With the list being every changing, I'm guessing I just hit this on what could probably just have been a time with not too many "exciting" brews.

Food was okay. We had a chicken sandwich and the chicken was over-cooked and a bit dry but it was still pretty tasty overall. Service wasn't anything to write home about either. Had two girls helping us, one was great and knowledgable and talked a lot about some brew but the other almost knew nothing. When working at a place like this, at least take some time to learn about beer and what is available at your store.

As a beer fan, this was a great place to visit and a damn shame they can't sell bottles to-go. I would have loved to have taken some back home that I couldn't find in the area. Can't believe that out of all the times visiting SD, I somehow have skipped this place.

Can't wait to go back! If you're looking for a place to grab beers in SD, this definitely hits in the top 5.

Sep 10, 2013
Photo of claspada
claspada from New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Smallish bar with some tables behind. Coolers littered with bottles behind the bar. Unfortunately the bartender said the list they had was unusable and outdated so I would have to browse visually which was hard considering the bar was full, so that was a knock. Both bartenders actually had a stick up their rears which was a pain.

The prices were awesome because there was a happy hour special for all local beers. There were about 20 on tap I believe. Ambiance was fairly poor though. People crowding the bar behind you with not enough service to help everyone.

This is the second bar during my trip with a huge reputation that totally let me down. (Falling Rock in Denver being the other). It seems they think because they are well known that service and standards can falter.

I also had a sandwich which was forgettable.

Jun 19, 2013
Photo of bkett01
bkett01 from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Coming out to San Diego from the east coast this was one of my top beer destinations. I had very high expectations, thinking Russian River, Alpine and many other great CA beers. Unfortunately my timing was off as there was no RR or Alpiine on during my visit. That being said there was still a huge draft selection of amazing stuff. I had a few Stone 'Enjoy By' IPAs and enjoyed the atmosphere of the bar. It's a long and narrow bar well decorated with beer paraphernalia.

Absolutely a place I would stop back past if in the area. Hopefully my next visit will be to the SF location.

Apr 27, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.36/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I recently visited Toronado in San Diego for the first time. It's a nice space inside with bar seating and tables as well. Lots of cool beer memorabilia around the place. They had approximately 40 beers on tap with a nice bottle list with some great beers. All the beers I tried were served at a good temperature and in proper glassware. Service was good even though it was a bit busy at the time. The selection of beers was great with a wide range of styles and breweries available. They serve beers in pints, half pints, and even do tasters. I was thoroughly impressed and highly recommend a stop in here if you are in the area.

Mar 12, 2013
Photo of jjboesen
jjboesen from Maryland

4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

This was the 7th, and most anticipated stop during my San Diego Beer Week trip. For someone who has been to Toronado’s San Francisco sibling (See My Review), I was also looking forward seeing the comparison. San Diego’s version is housed behind a generic storefront situated in a bland retail section. (This North Park neighborhood is an obvious difference from Haight-Asbury district.)

Toronado SD is much more modern, and being not quite the dive as San Francisco it is more inviting. It is a tad larger in size with a moderate sized bar amid a roomier venue decorated with a myriad of beer paraphernalia plastered and strewn about. While dimly lit, there was still enough natural light to allow one to make there way around. The self-serve water station was a pleasant touch.

Much like the San Francisco venue, there is an excellent draft selection; there are about several dozen West Coast brews on tap, many of which unavailable outside the San Diego area – Alpine Brewing comes immediately to mind. And unlike, the aforementioned sister venue, this one offers food (for example, a delicious and filling Cajun sausage roll with potato salad). Top this all off with friendly and knowledgeable service and a great time is to be had by all. Then add moderate prices and one is most assuredly satisfied.

Previous reviews mention the horrendous parking in this area; no worry, since the No. 2 Bus from downtown runs right past the front door. To coin the usual cliché: Toronado San Diego is a MUST when in town. (Sometimes clichés are simply the truth told over and over.) In any case, I loved this place!

Feb 18, 2013
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HopsintheSack from California

4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

Went for my first time on an average day, no special event or anything.

I found this facility and service to be average, nothing bad, nothing over the top good.

I did not try any food, so I can't comment on the quality there.

The tap list was good, but nothing special or anything. I will say this is well above average just for number of choices though.

The bottle list, the quantity of hard to find and above average beers was awesome, best I have seen. However, I will never buy any of them at the SUPER inflated prices. The bartender tried to explain to me how eBay prices were three times the price of their list to justify the prices. Yeah buddy I've never seen Abyss go for 180 bucks on eBay ( the bottle was 58 there). I wonder how they will justify their prices now that eBay has shut down alcohol sales?!

Overall, average bar with an over priced awesome bottle list. If you have über deep pockets, you will love it.

Oct 04, 2012
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nickfl from Florida

4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Another Toronado! I'm not sure if I should be excited or frightened.

It goes without saying that this place is a world class beer bar, it wouldn't be able to carry the name if it wasn't. The question is, how does it compare to the original?

Well, it does preserve some of the dive bar feel but not remotely on the level of the one in SF. The staff is more friendly, the building newer and MUCH less dingy/filthy and they have food. Really good food actually, the grass fed burgers are awesome. The beer selection lives up to the original and personally I liked this one quite a bit more. While the surly, back alley pool hall atmosphere of the original Toronado is something that every beer geek needs to experience at least once I don't consider it a pleasant environment to drink a great beer. This one, on the other hand, is a much better balance of authenticity and comfort and I would go back any time I had the chance.

One last note: this place get BUSY and a savy drinker goes to the Toronado (either one) during the afternoon unless he loves crowds.

Sep 06, 2012
Photo of slander
slander from New York

4.3/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Torofuckinado; the other one. Long damn day that didn’t start so well but bettered, and no one more surprised than I at my continued ability to scribble legibly. Arrived, at last, cruising the ‘hood looking to park that boat that Ben insisted on renting. This location is in a strip of the hip & cool; talk about Toronado night & day...

“L” shaped slat wood topped bar, with a panel wood base and piping foot rail; seating for 15 or so, seems like it’d be more somehow. Barback holds some lowboy coolers with 3 door bottle coolers to both sides, lined with magnums, random bottles, and pieces of play, above. Glassware shelved above center, on the ends, and extending well out of reach above the coolers, and then a graveyard of magnums, jeroboams, and random bottles that meant something to someone once atop. More glassware down past the second set of coolers, a single cooler door past there, and off the far corner, 2 rows of towers, 1 over the other; 50 taps in all.

Slat wood floors, and the walls & ceiling done beige. Spinny fans & drop pan lamps over the floor, and sunken spots from the overhang. The front corner wall plastered with brewery stickers, placards, tins, & prints, and 3 gigantor framed mirrors on the far wall with lotsa brewery tins in between. A single flat screen in the front corner, an Oldsmobile ‘Toronado’ neon to the rear (kind of badass), a juke over there (me, pointing), a trio of 3X3 event & specials boards to the rear above the kitchen space (Seems they do food here), and crumpled dollar bills stapled to the ceiling.

Logo front windows with a swinging half door in between, and neons on the overhang above. A single hightop in both front corners, with a full table accompanying on one side. 5 long large tables with shared benchings adjacent to the bar off the far wall. We tried for a just vacated table but it was instantly scapped up by a group of girls out for a bachelorette party. Down the rabbithallway to the rear, with 5 framed De Dolle prints well screwed into the wall or I’m sure some unscrupulous cad would have pinched them by now (anybody got a Phillips head screwdriver?), and a glassware display of pretty cool down and around the bend. Past there and through to the out back, into a garden of sorts; 5 picnic tables and a long bar counter table there.

50 taps (or space for that many anyway but only 47 beers on just now), the selections shown over the bar on the same slat board type set up as the San Francisco location, brewery & beer. 33 craft offerings (Russian River IPA, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig & Damnation, Ballast Point Reef Rye Brown Ale, Sculpin IPA, Ingrid’s 1 in 8 Strong Ale, & Serrano Pale Ale, Alesmith IPA, Grand Cru & Speedway Stout, Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye & Summerfest, Green Flash 30th St Pale Ale & West Coast IPA, Beachwood Breaker Pale Ale & Forever Bitter, Allagash Curieux & Saison Mihm, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA & Double Jack Double IPA, Mother Earth Night Shift Coffee Porter, Coronado Black Sails IPA, Northcoast Old Rasputin, Bear Republic Racer 5, Deschuttes Black Butte Porter, Victory Prima Pils, DogFishHead 90 Minute IPA, Stone Ruination, Port Brewing Dawn Patrol Dark Mild, Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale, Lagunitas IPA, Maui La Perouse White), a baker’s dozen imports, all Belgian save one lone Germ (Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge, Van Honsebrouck Gueuze Fond Tradition, St Feuillien Speciale 2011, Scheldebrouwerij Hop-Ruiter, Cuvee Des Trolls, Chimay Tripel, Duchesse De Bourgogne, La Chouffe, Malheur 10 & 12, St Bernardus Abt 12 & Witbier, Spaten Franziskaner Weisse), and a single cider (Wandering Aengus Anthem Cherry Cider). 2 handpumps along the bar, only 1 live currently (North Coast Red Seal). Started with the Port Brewing Dawn Patrol, which was sublime, and as the Pliny kicked, we slummed it with the Blind Pig. Did not suck.

Big bottle book of nearly 250 selections; 120 Belgians, 65 US, 52 beers of the world, and a dozen large format this and that. (Lovely) Orval runs a cool $10, and, oh, I see they hold multiple bottling batches of various Russian River beers. Hmmn, Consecration batch 3 or 4? Why not have both? (Fuckers!)

It started out light but then filled in crazily around us (as Saturday nights do), to the extent that the girl now sitting at our abandoned hightop took to sitting in an infant ‘Davo’ seat. The crowd seemed to grow younger & younger and maybe more yuppie than hipster, and seriously, who does a bachelorette party here (other than the woman I would want to marry?) Revisited a few days later in the light of day, a whole lot more chill, though seemingly clean & sterile; this place is the anti-San Francisco location (Ben says “Toronado light”). Service served; no problems there. They’ve got a great selection, and they’re ripping through beer so you know it’s fresh. Good beer here. And quality time with Carmen Sandiego completes the show...

Aug 09, 2012
Toronado in San Diego, CA
Place rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 256 ratings