Church Key


17 Reviews
Church KeyChurch Key

Type: Bar, Eatery

1402 Grant Ave
San Francisco, California, 94133-3304
United States

(415) 963-1713 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by funkmaster229 on 12-11-2008

View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 27
Photo of d0ggnate
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

A nice low key spot in North Beach. Made a quick stop in last night for a couple rounds. Their draft list was pretty good, and it was nice to see decently priced bottles there as well. Started the night with a Telegraph California Ale and ended it with an oatmeal stout from Ninkasi. The crowd was a mix of personalities, most of which seemed to appreciate better beer. The bar had a mixed vibe, that of part beer bar and part scene-like. I would definitely like to make another trip here and become more familiar with what they offer from time to time.

 553 characters

Photo of 100floods
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

I finally went to this place on a first date after my friend told me about it, several times. I don't usually go to North Beach, but I'll hunt our a good beer bar any day.

Initially the place was a little hard to find, no sign other than an actual key logo hanging over the door, which I thought was cool. I walked in and they were playing Mission of Burma or Sonic Youth (both were played that night), HUGE points for me. I go to the bar, the guy behind the counter was really friendly and picked up on the fact that I was on a first date and was really helpful.

I was stoked to see that they had Aventinus' Eisbock on tap, but was not too stoked at the price. Cheaper beer was around $6 and that was for Moylan's irish red and Anchor Steam's OSA. Their bottle selection was very good as well, again, pricey. They had a few bottles of Mikkeller black, which I thought was gone forever. The beer selection overall was good, little pricey, and most of the stuff is readily available Bevmo or other craft beer stores around town. The fact that they had a few of them on tap that I hadn't had before was cool.

The overall vibe was pretty hip but laid back. I felt like I was kind of in a upscale bar/lounge, but the people created kind of a neighborhood bar atmosphere, conflicting images, but I didn't mind.

If you got a few extra bucks, check this place out more for the experience than the beer itself. It's probably one of the better bars in the area, if your not into the upscale shwanky stuff North Beach mostly has to offer.

 1,532 characters

Photo of mjl21
3.71/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Church Key is a new beer bar/lounge located in North Beach. For those going, parking around the area is extremely tough. If you are going out later than 6, take public transportation or be prepared to spend $20 to park. They serve only beer and wine and don't do food, but the table next to me had brought in pizza.

It is a fairly tiny space. There are two levels, but I only stayed on the ground floor where the bar is located. There is not a ton of seating room. They have a booth, a few hightops, and some seats at the bar.

They have a few taps that they continually rotate. When you come in they give you a clipboard with their draught offerings as well as their bottle offerings. When I went they had Curieux, Maharaja, Buffalo Belgian Stout, Duchesse, and a few others that I don't recall. The bottle list seemed fairly large, but I did not even take a look at it.

My biggest gripe was that it was a little too loungy for me. Think lots of Eurotrash and crummy Radiohead knockoff bands playing on the stereo.

The prices were in line with what most Belgian beer bars seem to charge (not very cheap). Draught offerings went from $7-$10. I think my Maharaja was $8. The bartender was friendly and quick at getting my beer.

This is by no means a bad place. If you are waiting to eat at Tony's pizza down the street it is a great place to go and have a drink. I prefer La Trappe and Rogue because of their atmospheres.

 1,427 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This place is decent. Pretty nice ambiance and a fairly good beer selection, albeit extremely predictable. They've got some Allagash (White/Curieux), Dogfish Head (90 Min/Midas Touch/Palo Santo Marron), Delirium Tremens, some De Ranke, Nogne, Duchesse de Bourgog....(yawn)...zzz. Ok, maybe I've become too much of a beer snob for my own good. But really, nearby La Trappe dominates this place, and that's not even considering La Trappe's awesome moules frites. Church Key prices are also pretty high, although not unexpected for a high-end North Beach beer bar.

One interesting feature on the menu is the $2 "mystery beer."
It's something crappy, almost definitely some variety of bland American macro adjunct lager. If you're lucky, it'll be PBR. If you're unlucky, well, let's just say I hope you have lots of Advil and easy toilet access the next day.

Still though, it's another place to get a good beer in the city, and is worth it if you just want to mix it up a bit.

 996 characters

Photo of jp11801
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Great new beer place in North Beach. I went there last Sunday for a pre-concert round of beers. First off the service was great and the women bartender was excellent (sorry forgot your name). She had a good handle on the beer and was very nice.

Great beer selection started off with a draft and then jumped to the beer menu and much to my surprise they had the Mickeller IPA. Price as all hell but a great beer and kudos to Church Key for stocking it.

I likely be back to see how the place evolves over time

 511 characters

Photo of Newmerator
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Church Key -

In my honest opinion. La Trappe has this place beat, so far. When I went there, they were serving some appetizers, and the beer selection (book) was pretty extensive. I had a Grand Cru and Saison. But they have a different 2$ tasty libation every night, from Mickeys to Highlife. I thought the bar tenders at La trappe knew a bit more and offered a bit better service. But this place started by one of the owners of another bar in Haight is just what he wanted. They had some rock music playing (i think avenged sevenfold or something to the same melody) and it had the exact environment that I'm certain the owner had in mind. While I do appreciate the menu so much and the food (buffalo something or other was delicious), I might only go here with friends every so often. I highly recommend going here to see if it fits your attitude and beer palate.

This was from 2 weekends ago. I just love seeing more places with good beer. Keep it up!.

 958 characters

Photo of funkmaster229
4.58/5  rDev +14.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This place is great! It is one of the only places to drink better beer in North Beach- and without the crowds.

They don't serve food yet, but along with the developing decor, storefront, and evolving beer menu, I've been assured that it's all only going to get bigger and better. They have only been open a few weekends and I've been in three times.

Unibroue bottles and drafts are all reasonably priced and Aventinus is on tap! Other usual suspects include: Delerium Tremens, xxBitter, Allagash White, Bluebird bitter, Dogfish head 90min, and NC Scrimshaw pils. There's also Hercule stout, DesRocs grand cru, and O winter and saison- some pricier and more rare offerings.

There's enough decent glassware to go around and a push for labeled/brewer intended glasses is underway.

There's a small, chill lounge upstairs perfect for hiding from the world or PDA.

If you like Lucky13 and wouldn't mind toning down the punkrock vibe, check it out. If you love Toronado, but find the smelly crowds to be a deterent, definitely check it out.

Oh, yeah...high life cans $2!!!ha!!

 1,081 characters

Church Key in San Francisco, CA
3.99 out of 5 based on 27 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.