116 Reviews

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(619) 282-0456 | map

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Added by kleffman on 06-29-2008

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Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 240
Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

This is a very solid place, but I confess that after visiting Hamilton's, I just was not that thrilled or impressed with the place.

For starters, the Toronado atmosphere is not the best. The place is pretty small, with something of a bright, sterile, formica, plasticy feel to it. On the other hand, the beer selection is clearly outstanding, with a great selection of draft beer and a selection of bottled beer that would put the ridiculous Brickskellar in DC to shame.

As for service, the day I was there our server was a young lady who was quick and efficient. She wasn't the most knowledgable bartender, but she was still pretty good and could answer most basic questions. As for food, I ordered the grilled cheese on rye. It was OK, though I can't say it was anything special.

I don't know. This was an OK place, in fact it's very good. However, I just wasn't all that happy with the vibe here, and found myself longing for Hamilton's. As this place is just a mile or two up the street from Hamilton's, I'm not sure how often I would ever visit the San Diego Toronado if I was in the area.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.96/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here and came away fairly unimpressed, especially compared to the SF location. Maybe because it was a very cold and drizzly day, but it was about half full, and lacking quite a bit in atmosphere. Still, there were people sitting around enjoying some beers, but it was quiet. The beers are good, of course, and they have a pretty good selection. The service was ok, only 1 bartender was there and she recognized me fairly fastly, but when I ordered a beer that was out, she left and took her a while to come back to get my order, even though I would have been ready a long time ago to pick something else.

I just can't ever see picking this place over O'Brien's which is a few miles up the road. That place has so much more character and better atmosphere that the Toronado just seems like an empty soul. I'll stop in again sometime just to see if I was in on a lame day.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.44/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

A small, wooden pub in the heart of North Park. Can get loud with the size and lack of antything that would absorb sound. The smallness really blows when you want to sit down, as seating can be a premium. Lots of locals. Staff are pretty cool. They can get busy, but are helpful and knowledgeable in helping you out with stuff you haven't heard of. Tap selection is outstanding. Constantly rotating, but the good/rare ones go quickly. Solid bottle selection. Cable Car, Russian River rare finds. Expect to pay through the nose, e.g. $50 for Cable Car. Taps are about $1 more than you would find elsewhere.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited on a weeknight(?) a couple months back.

Toronado is a nice and relatively new place here in SD. They've got a double-decker set of taps occupying the far corner inside, and lots of coolers with bottles behind the counter. It is rather stark inside, though: white walls with somewhat sparse older beer signs. Thus, my only real complaint: it gets LOUD in here! The sound just bounces off the walls, so even when it isn't crowded and people are talking at reasonable levels, it is still hard to hear the people in your company.

The service is helpful and friendly, willing to give recommendations. A great selection of quality beer, with plenty of local choices (plus a bunch of great imports). Food-wise they pretty much just serve brats, and they have a good selection of these too: about 12-15 different types (including vegetarian ones). They're really tasty and are rather inexpensive. (They should just put the condiments on the tables & the bar, rather than at 1 table near the back, however.)

Certainly a place worth visiting. I look forward to heading back here!

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Photo of RodBurg
4.8/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This is pretty much my favorite bar ever. First off, the beer selection alone is worth multiple visits. They always have a great regional and imported tap selection and an awesome bottle refer as well. Its clean, the bartenders are friendly, the music's never too loud, and its never too crowded. Parking can be a bitch, but parking's a bitch anywhere in San Diego. The Linkery, Ritual, and the Pink Elephant are only a stones throw away, making for a decent North Park pub crawl. Still haven't tried the food so I can't comment on that. I live about an hour and a half away and I would make the drive solely to go here. This place alone makes me sad I moved to the IE..

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Photo of jim102864
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Not the lusty maiden whose beer siren song beckons beer enthusiasts like the way its original San Francisco local does, but a respectable iteration of the original nonetheless. Located in a busy urban and somewhat scruffy area of San Diego, it's rather stark interior would take little to improve.  Brewana on the walls here and there, but nothing but hard surfaces make for a noisy factory-like atmosphere in this small space.  Still, we take pilgrimages such as this for the beer and the comradery of fellow enthusiasts.  In this respect, Toronado did not dissapoint.  A humorous and friendly young dude behind the bar. Russian River's Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig, Lost Abbey Damnation on tap.  Roughly 30 or so on tap along with two large coolers behind the bar chock full of brew.  Lots of Belgian, German and Cali brews.  A tad out of the way from the city, but worth the visit.  Parkings a challenge.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.44/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Of all the bars that I visited in San Diego, Toronado was my favorite. It's a fairly clean-looking place, both design-wise, and as in "clean". There are some cool details though, like the Oldsmobile Toronado sign and the exotic wood bar top. The taps are all tucked into one corner which is a little weird, but that was probably the easiest way to do it.

Beer selection. 50 taps and 12 feet of cooler space packed with lots of goodies. Lots of local stuff, and lots of great imports. Hard to find bottles. They really have the best selection in San Diego.

The beer board is huge, and cardboard signs are used to change them out. The only problem with that is that you can't see it if you're sitting at the bar, and with all of the taps in one corner that can be hard to see too. They do have a book, but I wonder how frequently it's updated. I know that at least one keg kicked and was switched over to something while I was there. However, I can say that bartender knowledge more than makes up for that. And, unlike many bars, they seem excited about the beers!

As for prices, I've listed it as inexpensive, given that regular beers will cost you more at a lot of places in San Diego, and some of what they're pouring is stellar and hard to come by (New Belgium La Folie, for example).

I didn't try the food. It looked good but I'm a vegetarian. Besides, who can screw up sausages?


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Photo of Viggo
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in on our recent California trip, it was a friday afternoon and there were only a couple other people in the bar. Looks real nice from outside, very modern. Inside is nice as well, long wooden bar, coolers behind full of beer, with the taps in a row through the wall in the corner, a weird place for them but it looked pretty cool. It's a well set up place, and we had great service from the bartender. Tap and bottle lists are hard to beat there, I recall about 20-30 taps, all of them pretty kickass. We ordered sausages, and they came out promptly and were quite good. Prices were very reasonable. The bathrooms are also nice, something that didn't translate to the SF Toronado, as we would find out. This one doesn't have the grimy/high end hybrid atmosphere that SF Toronado does, but I would be damn happy to live close to a bar of this quality.

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Photo of Floydster
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped here on my third day down in San Diego this past week, right down the street from the Linkery on 30th Street which I have not been to yet, anyways similar to the neighborhood feel in San Francisco but not quite the same, doggie door is almost identical though, place seemed too nice inside to get that same feel from the original too, did have a cool jukebox, everything was super clean, brand new beer fridges and chairs, bathroom had a hole in the wall from a fist most likely but had lots of funny comments around written in various pen markings, had a bratwurst and it was quite good, the other sausages I saw go by me looked great as well so food is good and that is something they have up on SF since they do not sell it anymore, tap selection was decent but again the location up north had them beat, some of the standouts on tap were New Belgium Eric's Sour Ale, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Avery Ale to the Chief, and Green Flash Le Freak, I had a Bear Republic Up in Smoke which is a steam beer, prices are great during happy hour and one dollar off all taps, which makes most beers only three dollars, bottle list was great and the Lost Abbey stuff blew my mind, still had some bottles of Cable Car for $50 but you have to drink them there because they do not have a to go license, also had Cuvee de Tomme, Older Viscosity, and Angel's Share, the three Russian River sours but no more Toronado 20th unfortunately, Abyss, and many more, place is crazy inexpensive and I will most certainly be going back, the owner Ian is a cool guy which helps things out even more, check it out when you can

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Photo of TheMistler
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

My sister and her husband will be moving to the area soon. I had heard that it hosts a number of good beer bars, and looked forward to exploring. Of course the Toronado logo drew me in, and I'm glad it did.

It has a laid-back, neighborhood feel. No air of pretension or snobbery. Knowledgeable, friendly and engaging staff.

While I've been to bars with more beers available (not that the number of draft and bottled beers is anything to sneeze at), the sheer quality of what was on hand was remarkable. I started with Pliny the Elder, draft. Next up was New Belgium Fa Fleur Misseur, also draft (also on tap was New Belgium's Eric). My brother in law had some world-class ciders (all per the recommendations of our bartender, who did not steer us wrong) and a Duchesse, while my sister stuck with Franziskaner Hefe and St. Bernard Witbeir (both draft).

Did not have any food. Very limited, pub-fare menu. Brat, sausage, etc. I heard that they will be expanding there menu in the future, and I will be there to give a try.

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Photo of torchednoodle
4.94/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Stopped in here maybe three times since it's opened. Every time, it's been great prices ($1 off any beer in the house from 11-6 I think? probably one of the best happy hours I've ever seen in any bar, much less such a great beer bar), great selection, and great service. Ian himself was tending bar the last time I stopped by, and it was nice to pick his brain a bit about the California beer scene. Also, the fit and finish of the place improves with every visit; it may not have the atmosphere and set of quirky regulars that SF Toronado has yet, but I have a strong feeling this place will do just fine creating a San Dieg-ish atmosphere and following of it's own.

Seriously though, it really would be great if the website tap list could be updated at least every Friday or so. Or is this going to turn into the 8 year old tap list at SF Toronado as well?

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Photo of PhxHorn
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

This place is in a borderline neighborhood, with no parking lot nearby. We ended up parking on the curb a black away and walking by a lot of folks loitering on the sidewalk. Not exactly comfortable, but we made it. 50 beers on tap, all of them looked great, but a fairly limited food menu, scribbled on a dry erase board that was propped up at the far end of the place.

My wife's ruben was fine, and my sausage sandwich was a little overcooked, but not by much. I was comparing it to the superb sausage I'd had at Stone the day before, which would have been very hard to beat.

Had a Wipeout IPA and a Pliny the Elder. Each was good, bt surprisingly not great. I don't know why, but the flavors were a bit weak. At any rate, it was still a first-rate beer place, and I'd recommend it to anyone in the area. It's about a mile east of Balboa Park.

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Photo of surfer4life
4.78/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Went to this place last night (Friday) around 5 PM with the intention of having a pint, maybe two and then going to a movie. When I looked online at their beer list, it seemed a little above average at best. Much to my suprise when I got there, there actual taplist was no where near what was online, it was great. I immediately ordered a Pliny the Elder and began my heavenly evening. Needless to say I never made it to the movies or even out of this place until close to midnight. They only have about 50 beers on tap and close to a hundred bottles, however amongst these selection are some of the highest rated beers on BA. The staff was extremely knowledgable and very down to earth. Dandy waited on me and my buddy all night and if I were not already married I would have taken here to Vegas, this woman knew her beer. Lastly I had a bratwurst and my buddy had a hot italian sausage and they were very good. This place is a gem. Seeing how its about 40 miles closer than Stone Brewpub, I'll be a regular here.

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Photo of 2LBrew
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in here before the Padres game on Saturday 7/12/08. My buddies got the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse on draught and I ordered the Allagash Curieux. I was glad to see that they had the same in bottle so that I could check out the "specs" on this drink I had. It was simply amazing, being served in the correct glass. I would definitely go back again and have some more without having to drive. The bottle coolers behind the bar seemed to be waiting for some more bottles to arrive. The place is a bit on the minimalist side with decoration, but people are there to enjoy really, really good beer. I believe each beer was about 5 to 6 bucks so not bad. Will definitely be stopping by again soon.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.68/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Since the fabled Toronado has finally opened in SD, it has been the buzz amongst beer geeks and drunks alike. I had my chance to spend hard-earned cash here last night and I was not disappointed. The 50 beautifully mounted taps offer endless selection of choice beer from across the world. The space is quite large and it does get pretty loud, but it is bearable. Behind the bar lies two beautiful bottle coolers, as well. If you're not careful you could go for broke after a bottle or two of the rarities they offer. My trip included a Rodenbach Grand Cru draft and Alpine Beer Co.'s Chez Monieux (bottled). Both were served appropriately and I couldn't have been happier to enjoy great beers such as these. There is a different vibe that other SD beer bars, but diversity is welcomed and it is nice to have another place to go in North Park. I'm looking forward to trying their food, but will wait until they release the full menu.

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Photo of kleffman
4.1/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Checked out the Toronado San Diego location on a Saturday around 1PM and it was mostly empty with the exception of some of the same guys I always see at O'Briens (figures). Decent location, nice interior that they're still working on and a great tap list. 50 taps and maybe 100 bottles. Not sure if they have a beer engine for casks but I'm sure they eventually will. Supposedly are serving sausages like the place next door to the SF location but I didn't have one. Proper glassware for everything. It was extremely loud in there, nothing on the walls yet to dampen the sound. Hopefully that'll get figured out eventually. Yet another great destination in San Diego, the city of Awesome Beer.

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Toronado in San Diego, CA
4.44 out of 5 based on 240 ratings.
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