116 Reviews

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(619) 282-0456 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by kleffman on 06-29-2008

View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 116 | Ratings: 240
Photo of millerbuffoon
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

one word...awesome...
I went to San Diego for Beer Week the past 2 years, and hit this place 4 out of 7 nights both times.
The events were great...even when an event wasn't going on the taplist was stellar.
The food was awesome, I think I had the BLTA 3 nights in a row.
Nate and Eric were the kings of hospitality, Nate remembering me from seeing him at Alpine earlier in the day, and Eric remembering my name from seeing it on my credit card the night before. Little things like that make you feel special, and bartenders who do things like that make you want to return to the place they tend at. Not that the taplist wouldn't do that already, but I would recognize them on the street a year later, because they took the time to remember me.
Jukebox was super cool with old alternative-grunge-punk.
This place is a home run the other 51 weeks of the year as well. Nothing but positives all acrossed the board...

 913 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

We made a couple of stops here during our vacation and were glad we did. The atmosphere of this place is probably the only negative. Someone described it has having the vibe of a bingo hall and that's about right. Maybe it was the lighting...

Plenty of delicious San Diego area craft beer dominated the taps, more than making up for whatever shortcoming the place may have had vibe-wise. The highlight was tons of Kern River on tap.But there was not a lousy tap to be seen. Service was prompt and friendly. Glad we made it there.


 535 characters

Photo of portia99
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Came here on a Saturday afternoon with a couple of work friends. Having already been to the San Francisco location, I had an idea of what to expect walking in here. Place was laid out much like the SF location with the trademark Dutch half door at the entrance (very cool touch in my opinion), bar all down the right side and half a dozen tables along the left side. Huge chalkboard over the bar with the selection on tap. Lots of great stuff from all over the country and world...southern Cal/SD area was well represented by a number of Stone (3 Ruinations - DDH, standard, cask dry hopped on Amarillo), Alpine, Alesmith, etc. I sampled several on tap and finished sharing a Cable Car Kriek ($55 I think...not cheap but still seemed reasonable)...passed on the '09 Cable Car ($90), and I think I heard there might have been an Izzy kicking around behind the bar too. Server/bartender was friendly, helpful and knowledgable. Took a little while to get a drink as the line at the bar was fairly long and really only one bartender to handle everyone. Crowd seemed a bit more upscale than I was expecting from the surrounding neighborhood (actually more the area a few blocks away that we drove thru coming from the highway...the immediate area around the pub seemed fine). Vibe inside was casual...pretty loud inside and was at times difficult to carry a conversation, but nothing out of the ordinary or unexpected. Definitely a place to return to on a future visit.

 1,464 characters

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

Can't say enough about the selection, atmosphere or food. Funkier bar food that pairs well with their changing beer selection. I started with a local IPA and moved right into a oak barreled coffeee beer. Top notch ownership that results in great beer & food! Could use a bigger venue but it would loose its feel. I had the jalapeno burger and it was prepared well with a nice cucumber side. Also, the vegan option wasn't bad - I would definately make this a stop on a Saturday afternoon. great selection - maybe a little more background on some of the beers for the novices (including myself).

 593 characters

Photo of SoCalStout
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place is awesome. The beertenders are very knowledgeable, friendly and even willing to share their own beer. I was given samples of Hopslam, 547 Haight, and a very good homebrew. Great tap selection with very reasonable prices. The bottle list rotates and is decently priced and on Sundays its a dollar off any pint. Amazed that there was some Cable Car Kriek and Cable Car 2009 still available and got a bottle of each to share with the pals. Absolutely loved the place and even made 3 new friends due to the open friendliness. Great beer, people, food and times!


 578 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.2/5  rDev -27.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5

They do have plenty of beers, and it's not totally obnoxious. Not quite the toilet of the SF location, but they do seem to be working to recreate that special smell of twice-fermented spilled beer, fungus in the walls, and a breeze off porta-potties.

Service? They really don't care if you live. And if you die, do it out on the sidewalk. Uncomfortable chairs. Acoustics designed to blare every scrape and muddled bass note. Ugly little patio out back between the narrow buildings.

Lots of beers, though their board is quite uninformative with just a brewery and a beer name. Uh, Bear Republic Tartare-- what's that? Oh, a Berlinerweisse. Not helpful if you want to know anything about beers you've never heard of. Or how strong they are. Prices are a little higher than some places but not outrageous. Lots of regional beers. Many common ones also available in bottles.

Best feature is the case of dozens of mostly antique Belgian and German beer glasses. I still don't know why having a long beer list should imply that patrons want it to be noisy, uncomfortable, and hipper than thou. I occasionally stop by on an early weeknight to see if there is anything interesting on tap, but one beer and I'm gone.

 1,212 characters

Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Stopped by here during a recent trip to San Diego. I first tried to go on a Friday night but it was so packed I didn't even go in. I would highly recommended going at night only Sunday thru Thursday or during the afternoon.

This place is basically a narrow rectangular room with a long bar on the right with tables lining the left wall. Not nearly enough seating during the busier times. Even late on Sunday night most of the tables were occupied. The bar had plenty of space available though.

The place is very clean with beer signs everywhere and rare bottles behind the bar. There are also two coolers on each side of the bottle containing a theoretically nice selection. Although this place was more spacious and cleaner than the SF location I prefer the grimy vibe of the original location. Also, the juke box at the SF location is pretty awesome, elevating the vibe.

Service was pretty good here. I didn't go in when it was crazy busy so I can't comment on that but it was busy enough on a Sunday night and the one bartender held it down, taking care of everyone quickly. She was also very knowledgeable and patient putting up with all of my questions about unfamiliar locals. None of the beers on draft have descriptions but she knew about all of them.

Toronado has a great reputation for having an amazing selection but to be honest, I've been kind of disappointed in both locations. They did have 50 taps with lots of one offs, cool locals and BA stuff but the bottle list was pretty weak. Not too many rarities and the ones that were available were very expensive. Lower tier rare beers like the eclipse variations were close to $50! Also, 30+ of the beers on draft were from Pizza Port. They had an event on NYE with over 60 of their beers on and these were the left overs. Fortunately, most of them were excellent and pretty rare. The rest of the list was pretty impressive.

Overall, this place was fun but didn't live up to expectations. Not as cool as the other location but the service is much better. The draft selection is quite nice but the bottle list left a lot to be desired. Maybe I'm just a jaded Philly guy. If you are from out of town, be careful when you go because the place can get crazy crowded.

 2,233 characters

Photo of 100floods
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I've been to the Toronado San Francisco more times than I care to count. So when I finally made it down to San Diego Torondao #2 was a must see destination.
The few friends of mine that have been there said that it's pretty much the same, but way cleaner. A weird common thread of observation, but man were they right! The place was had much more lighting and didn't harbor the smell of stale beer. Compared to the one in SF this place immaculate. Only a small portion of a wall was covered in stickers, and as my girlfriend said, "I don't feel weird peeing in this place." I mentioned commented on the cleanliness to one of the bar tenders and I was met with several, "NO! Don't worry! Give us 20 years and it'll be the same," as if I was insulting them or criticizing the joint, no way. I was impressed!

The crowd had a few people from the SD beer scene (staff, beer geeks, etc), but was mostly college kids. The space was bigger and I liked that I didn't feel cramped. Plenty of room and space to order.

Their beer selection was pretty good. There were a lot of spaces on the menu that were empty (I'm guessing because it was the end of the year and likely just run out stuff, or whatever), but what they did have was a good selection of belgians; a surprisingly small local presence (The Alpine and Ballast Point selections were outstandingly great!); and some other predictable go-to selections that you'd find at most beer bar selections. Judging from the signs Pizza Port Brewing was going to have an event on New Years eve, so the lack of beer was probably a means to make room for the event. I wish I had stayed a few more days.

They had food, too, but I didn't try any.

Overall this Toronado wasn't identical to it's original up north: No stink, really nice bar tenders and no metallica to be heard. I think I still prefer the grit of the SF location, but they was no doubt a great experience.

 1,910 characters

Photo of tastyales
3.73/5  rDev -16%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Well i had pretty high expectations of this place. It is def one of the better beer bars in SD. But it lacks in customer service the bartenders have some attitude. And judging on the craft presence in SD i would think they would try to be a little more inviting. Over all beer selection kick ass Taps and Bottles they will have something you are looking for. Also have some Vegan Food that is a plus. World class bar would recommend but there are other bars in SD with or have better beer selection and less attitude. Maybe i caught the staff on a bad day but the place wasn't really busy.

 589 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.53/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Had the opportunity to visit during San Diego Beer Week this year, I've been to the San Fran location so I was really looking forward to visiting this location...which we did...three nights in a row!

The atmosphere is very plain, nothing fancy, just a straightforward beer bar in a hardcore kind of way. The beer menu is to die for for a mixture of craft taps: barley wines, porters, stouts, pale ales, and heavy on the IPA's which no complaints from me. There's no table service so you need to go to the bar to get your own beer and also order your food at the bar. When you order food, your're given a number that's placed on the table and they bring the food out to you, One night I had a burger and another night chicken fajitas, both were excellent. I can't say enough how impressive the beer menu is...reasonable prices, excellent beer selection, good food, what's there not to like about this place? If I want to nitpick, the only complaint would be the eclectic selection of music on the jukebox which is no big deal, I don't pick my beer stops based on the music selection. HIGHLY recommended San Diego beer destination.

 1,130 characters

Photo of coolparrot
4.53/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I have been to the Toronado in San Francisco before this one! I did not try the food, but the Burgers look good! Beer selection is good and the Vibe is great! I love the Monday night beer specials if they are still doing that! I have yet to totally explore the North Park Beer scene but I would recommend this spot (esp. Monday night). They have a lot of beers half off as they try and flush out their kegs. Fresh beer on tap is always the best! That you can find here for sure! Later at night it can be standing room only as it's kind of a small place but I'm down with that! I'll be back soon!

 595 characters

Photo of yayarea
3/5  rDev -32.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4

What a disappointment. This place is mediocre in every aspect. The service is borderline terrible and the bartenders don't know much about beer. In terms of beer selection, it's good but nothing special. They carry several of the better breweries but rarely anything other than the flagship beers that you can find at other bars and stores. Also, charging a dollar for a sample of a beer is ludicrous, especially when the bartender can't tell me much about the beer other than "it's good". Well I would certainly hope it's good, otherwise it has no business being on tap. This has not been a one time affair either. I have tried Toronado SD on three separate occasions and each one has been a letdown.

 701 characters

Photo of ZX6Chris
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This place is awesome. The beertenders are very knowledgeable and friendly. Great tap selection with very reasonable prices. The bottle list rotates and is a little higher priced then I'd like but where else are you gonna pick up some Cable Car?

Great location in the heart of North Park. Special's for SDBW, anniversary parties and brewery nights. Everything you'd expect from a great craft beer bar.

Lots of great beer people to meet here. BA's, people in the industry and others that just love great beer.

 510 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

The SD Toronado is located in North Park on 30th street, and just a few doors down from the Ritual.

Two trips there on this west coast trip have me convinced that this place had the best beer selection (bar) in SD. Five Alpines, including Bad Boy and W.H.Ale, as well as Pliney, Sculpin, Mongo, Speedway, etc. Loads of local stuff and a few Belgians mixed in. Respectable service at the bar, unlike the other Toronado. 2010 Cable car on the bottle menu for $40.00. Loud music and plenty of crowd noise as expected on a busy night. Beautifull vintage tins on the walls and some cool glassware out back.

I just wish there were some hotels in stumbling distance.

 662 characters

Photo of berley31
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Hit this place up last week on a Wednesday afternoon.

A: Very relaxing, clean spot. When we arrived around 1:00, there weren't too many people there, and those that were were sitting at the bar. We sat there as well, and remained there for the 2-3 hour stay. I like how the available taps are printed on little signs, but they're above the bar so that if you want to see them while SITTING at the bar, you really have to get out of your seat and step back, or your neck gets sore quickly.

Quality and Selection: Amazing tap selection. A lot of local CA beers of high-quality, and some from all over. I had an Alpine Duet and Pliny on tap (both very fresh and tasty), and a RR Sanctification and Consecration in bottles. The bottle list is EXTREMELY impressive.

Service: There was one lady working the bar, very friendly and helpful. No complaints at all.

Food: Didn't have any, but it looked good.

Value: Seemed reasonable to me. Prices all over due to the range of beers, but really good (not as low as some other spots, but when you're from Canada, paying 5 bucks or so for Pliny is a damn steal).

Overall: Fantastic spot; I'd head back in a second if I could.

 1,168 characters

Photo of SDtastentune
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

A - Great cherry oak style pub chairs and tables wrapped around the south side of the bar and front area, old style pub swing half tall style door that is pretty cool. Lots of stickers on the north front wall, good stuff. Beer list is hard to see from the bar, gotta get up and look up in front of the bar... kinda awkward. Back area is cool for the smoker crowd or for people needing "air". Bathroom is small, but clean'ish. Long hallways leading to bathroom and back area.

Q - Great for beer, tenders know there stuff and can answer the best questions, Nice people. Can get busy so be patient on a Friday, Saturday or Monday. Quality is hit or miss on food, don't get much so can't be a great reviewer.... but its hit or miss.. hit being great... and miss being a miss. Beers can range from best of the best IPA's to best of the best everything. Cask pours have been foamy and warm so watch out.

S - Service has always been great, fast for me, first in line gets exactly what they want or desire. Great beer knowledge, unknown to me beer pairing knowledge.

F - Food is hit or miss, will not get into detail, but I have had some "good food" and some "what is this food". I recommend they introduce pub fries and beer battered fries.... app's are kinda pricey and ???

V - Great deals, Monday night local beer night is the best, $3 local pints of Mongo etc., Imperial stouts still in snifter glasses though. Ok app menu but I still want pub fries! I also came though with a deal on Citybeat for Half off beer ($12.50 for $25 that was pretty cool). So yea it can be worth it.

 1,579 characters

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

Okay so I went to the one is San Francisco last month and was highly disappointed at the atmosphere and service. However, this time i was nearing the end of my trip in San Diego, and I needed to find a place with Pliny of draft, and i figured i would bust through the grossness and rudeness to get one here, but oh wow was i surprised!

Atmosphere: small bar and very busy, however it did not smell like stale beer, something i can't say for in the SF location.

Service: very friendly and patient....two things that the SF location absolutely did not have. I was very relieved when dealing with the 2 female bartenders here, both were very nice and alert.

Quality/Selection: i hate using this word, but the selection is "epic". there aren't too many places with this impressive of a list of rares both on tap and in bottles. there were so many rare beers, that it really made me groan quite a bit.

Food: just perfect. I had cajun style sausage along with the macaroni and cheese. Paired with my HOTD Adam and RR PtE....I was in heaven....

 1,042 characters

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

Visited Toronado at the end of a San Diego beer trip on August 6th with a fairly large group (15). We arrived at about 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday, and had no problem finding a place for all of us to sit, and with little to no wait at the bar to order either.

The bar has an interesting look and feel, with both dim lighting, and dark wood bar & tables, but also two Large windows up front, and a half open split door, that allows both light, and fresh air in from out side. The very back has a covered patio (already occupied) which also appeared to be a comfortable, well lit area.

The walls are adorned with a various beer posters (both old and new, an example being Ovila) and a small assortment of neon lighting. There is also a display case in the back filled with a large assostment of glassware.

Huge amount of taps, and the bottle list was very impressive, as was the tap list this day, ranging from Ovila Saison (served in a Ovila goblet, just like the poster, nice touch) Speedway Stout, Alpine Tuatara, FW Robust Porter and many others.

Also had food, a veggie burger with all the fixings, and a side of potato salad. I ate all of it, so it was pretty tasty, though after having a few beers this day over the course of many hours, and being pretty hungry, a lot of food tastes great at that point, so take that for what it's worth.

My only ding is that the restroom was pretty funky. Not in the look, but in the smell, almost made me and a few others nauseas. Granted, it's a beer bar, and gets used A LOT, but wow was it pungent in there. I've been in my share of both high end bars, and dive bars, and a little air freshner in the urinals, and on the sink goes a long way. An air vent to the roof might not hurt either, as the smell was also prevelant in the hall outside of the restroom.

Value was fair for both the beer and the food this day and overall, Toronado is a great bar in San Diego, as many already know. Glad I got to visit, and I would certainly go back.


 1,994 characters

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Stopped in here with some friends around 11:30pm this past Friday. We ended up sticking around til close (2:00am).

This Toronado is like a born again Christian version of the original. That loud, dirty, thumping beer pit to the north has been reincarnated as a clean, comfortable, beer café (note the "é") here in America's Finest City. Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about this. Toronado has cleaned up it's act; started caring about how others perceive it; added some charm. But hanging out with this new Toronado just isn't the same... it feels like something's missing. Is it just me, or is this new bar just kind of boring? A bit too nice? Don't get me wrong; it's cool and all. Just... not what it used to be.

This is, in fact, an excellent beer bar. Expect to find tons of top-tier San Diego ales, from the likes of Alpine, Stone, Ballast Point, Green Flash, etc. Expect those beers to be reasonably-priced and served in appropriate glassware. Also, expect friendly, knowledgeable service from the bartenders. And expect to enjoy all of this in an open and comfortable environment.

Toronado - San Diego simply lacks the bold, unique character of Toronado - San Francisco. This version could easily be mistaken for any other upper echelon beer bar. Worthy of a visit? Of course! Just realize it's not the original.

 1,330 characters

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

Went (quite a bit) out of my way for a couple of pints at Toronado on a recent trip to San Diego.

Tap list was outstanding with about 40 or so different beers, most of which were from the likes of Alpine, Russian River, Stone, Ballast Point, etc. I decided on a point of Alpine Duet (OUTSTANDING!) and RR Pliny before having to head back downtown. The bottle list was very lengthy too.

Had the pulled pork sandwich with my Pliny, which was also excellent.

Service was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Would definitely go back.

 536 characters

Photo of hamilton23
4.66/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

I finally got to visit Toronado. It definitely lives up to the hype in terms of selection. In addition to what appeared to be about 40 taps of amazing beers, they have a bottle list that is really quite amazing. I counted 6 pages of single spaced bottles. The vast majority of which were from Belgium. However, I was also surprised to find some harder to find US beers like Silva Stout, 2 Turtle Doves and a few others.

If you like sours, they have Cable Car for $40 a bottle. In addition to loads of other sour favorites like Cantillions and Lost Abbey offerings.

The bar itself is decent size, but not big. There is a nice sized outdoor patio in the back that was dominated by smokers. While it would have been nice to spend time out here, I just couldn't handle the smoke.

 778 characters

Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I love Mondays, and this is the place to be. Great Happy Hour. Their tap list is always satisfying from great local beer STONE, GREEN FLASH, PORT, LOST ABBEY, BALLAST POINT to name a few and there is so many to choose from out of town beers RUSSIAN RIVER, DESCHUTES...etc. Check this place out. I know I'm forgetting so many other great beers. They also have an awesome bottle list of almost everything. Even hard to find gems that you cannot get in most places. The food is great too. So when in SD you will be happy when you find this place.

 543 characters

Photo of mrkun
4.16/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This a nice place with a long bar, wood tables with chairs on one side and wooden benches on the other side and there's a back patio with heaters. They have loud music playing that can somewhat drown out conversation with your friends. The bartenders here are way nicer than the ones in San Francisco. They had a pretty good selection of taps and a very nice selection of bottles. We had some '08 BCS but couldn't bring ourselves to dump $40 for a bottle of Cable Car. I didn't try the food, but it looked decent; don't know about the prices. The beer prices however were fair. Overall, this a fun place to come for a beer, and they have some rarer stuff that will be difficult to find elsewhere.

 696 characters

Photo of tjensen3618
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I came by this place with a pretty large group of friends after a beer fest. It wasn't terribly crowded which I kind of wasn't expecting for a Sat. night.

The tap list is pretty amazing, as is the bottle selection in the coolers. I got a bottle of Sanctification followed by a bottle of Cable Car split between a buddy and myself. They had Alpine IPA's and New Belgium Sours, just a flat out phenomenal selection. The prices were a bit on the high side, but to be fair we weren't exactly ordering the most common or cheap beers in the place.

I have heard that the SF version of this place has real bad service, this was not the case at the SD location. I was admiring the glassware in the hall (specifically a Fantome Tulip) when a bartender and I had a brief chat about the cool glasses in the display case.

I only got fries which were good so I wont rate the food for now.

Overall I would consider this as close to the perfect beer bar in an urban setting as you can get.

 977 characters

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

I was in San Diego for Memorial day and did a search and realized I was only 3 miles away. Sorry honey cant go to sleep, have to go to Toronado and get a Silva Stout.

Atm- I like the farmhouse door for the entrance. Nice touch. Allows some airflow and just looks cool. Nice decor on the walls, glasses for every type of beer on the wall.

Quality- Simply a great dive/indy bar.

Service- A little slow on a weekend night but it was good and friendly.

Selection- I wish I was made of money for all the high class beers in the cooler.

Food- N/A

Value- The big bottles of Cantillon and Drie are pricey but it was to be expected.

 630 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.