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Toronado

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ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
4.48/5
Outstanding
245 Ratings
ToronadoToronado
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(619) 282-0456 | map
toronadosd.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by kleffman on 06-29-2008

PLACE STATS
Reviews:
117
Ratings:
245
pDev:
8.26%
 
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Ratings: 245 |  Reviews: 117
Photo of slander
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...

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
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?

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

 1,409 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

An entry in center of two overlooking windows with the "L"-shaped dark wood bar to right with 7 coolers as the back bar, as well as a bank of 50 in the back/center corner. A fairly minimal space with standard tables and chairs against left wall with high tables and chairs center. Pressed tin signs on left wall. Lavs all of the way aft, left. Having been to its sister location in SF, the service here was MUCH better. Cuz Colby was well-recieved as we walked in and we encountered some other beer luminaries as we sat and had lunch. I was deeply impressed by the 30th Street area and its bars.

 595 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
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 jaydoc
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of sholland119
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

HV

 535 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've made a quick visit to the Toronado in SF so I knew I had to visit the SD location. As many have noted, the SD location is a very different place but it's no commercial sellout. It still has lots of character and a serious, authentic pub vibe.

Toronado SD has a great selection of beer on tap (about 42 by my count) with lots from CA but also some good ones from the east coast and Europe. And they have many more in the bottle. I went with an Alpine O'Brien's IPA, an AleSmith IPA and a Bruery Humulus Lager. They were all fantastic. My wife had a RR PtE.

We also ate there and I loved the food. I had a Jalapeno burger and it was cooked perfectly and served on a nice soft, bready roll. Others in the group had BLTAs (BLTs with avocado) and a salad. Everything was good.

Toronado has it all... the atmosphere, the draft beer and the food. It's the real deal.

 867 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

One big strength of the San Diego branch is that the tap list is updated on the website with some regularity. I never trust the web information at the original. The taps are all top shelf as they should be: Abyss, Black Butte XXI, Mirror Mirror, Damnation, Blind Pig, Alaskan Smoked Porter, Alpine Uncommon, 12 beers from Pizza Port, Old Rasputin on nitro, Allagash Curieux, and another 15 or so beers. Plus a huge bottle list, including my choice: Cable Car 2009. Much cleaner and more civilized than the San Francisco location. But I still love the gritty feel and beer selections of the spot on 547 Haight, and it's always the first place I go when in town.

 660 characters

Photo of StoutSnob40
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Texasfan549
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of nickfl
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.

 1,060 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Loved this place and reminded me a lot of Toronado in S.F. when I visited that one years ago - except the S.D. seemed much newer, cleaner, yet of course had the half-split front door.

I liked the simple policy of ordering at the bar and seating yourself, though it can be a bit uncivilized when trying to transition from standing to seating when everyone else is thinking the same thing. This brings out the worst in people sometimes, especially if a few beers are already under the belt.

Amazing taps and plenty of nice glassware, though many styles receive the plain pint glass. Bartenders were cool for quick questions and help with unfamiliar taps. Prices were a little high for normal prices, but luckily we were here for the $3/pint special on Monday.

A must stop for anyone who visits San Diego.

 805 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

I had an extra day in cali after the bruery party so I decided to drive down to San Diego and hit up the Toronado. Great decision on my part.

I got there right when they opened so it was nearly empty but as the day wore on it became more and more packed. They had the NFL playoff games on the TV and the music was going. Place was a bit stale when I first got there but once I left it was alive and hopping. My bartender, Eric, was awesome. He was really nice and very knowledgeable about all the beers they had. The ones he didn't know about he opened and sampled so he could learn about it. I never had to wait for a fresh beer and that is saying something because he was the only person working.

The food was good. I got the toronado burger with chips and it was cooked to perfection and tasted great. I noticed a few other things on the menu I would have loved to try but I just didn't have it in me. I really wanted to try the beer cakes but I just plain forgot to order them. The quality was exactly what you would expect, top notch. The food was all fresh and tasty and the beer was served in the correct glasses. They really don't skimp on anything at the Toronado.

The selection is second to none, other than maybe the SF location. Where else can you get a Cable Car? They still had a bunch of pizza port beers on from an event earlier in the week to go along with all the other offerings. I had a cask Big Brown from Pizza Port, a bottle of Redemption, and a bottle of 2010 Cable Car. All were excellent and reasonably priced. I listed this place as $$$ because some of the other bottles were a bit pricy and my sweatshirt cost as much as the Cable Car, both $40. Overall one of the best places for beer on the west coast, maybe in the whole country. I am glad I made the trip down to San Diego to check out this iconic bar first hand.

 1,848 characters

Photo of greenspointexas
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of mrcraft
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!

 586 characters

Photo of jjboesen
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!

 1,618 characters

Photo of BillRoth
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.

 931 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
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 UCLABrewN84
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.

 630 characters

Photo of SimcoeKid
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of halo3one
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of flexabull
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

The "new" Toronado. Very cool place, but hard to match up to the original...

Like the half door and similar beer board to the original. But the newness just feels a little stale here. I just love the funky atmophere of the SF version better. But this still is a nice place to have a great pint of beer.

Quality and selection is great. Just what I expected from Toronado, lots of high quality locals, and some excellent Belgians and Germans mixed in.

Service was good. Quick and attentive. Hard to compare this to the SF version though, this place was relatively "vacant" when compared to the Northern Cal version. (and that's not saying this place was slow, it's just just not like SF where it is usually packed)

Very nice spot, just a little "stale" when it comes to the atmosphere. But that probably has something to do with the newness of this place.

 857 characters

Photo of crossovert
4/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped here on my final night in SD with some friends.

It wasn't too crowded on a Sunday night. The drafts were nice, a good range of stuff, but they seemed to focus on a lot of beers by a handful of breweries. The bottle selection was extensive with plenty of rare stuff. But the problem is those bottles are so expensive that it isn't even worth it. The draft offerings were much more reasonable priced.

The service was pretty good. Overall not a bad stop if you are in SD but a bit overrated IMO.

 502 characters

Photo of markgugs
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

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Toronado in San Diego, CA
Place rating: 4.48 out of 5 with 245 ratings
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