San Francisco Brewing Company

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San Francisco Brewing CompanySan Francisco Brewing Company

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San Francisco Brewing CompanySan Francisco Brewing Company

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

155 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, California, 94133-5114
United States

(415) 434-3344

// CLOSED //

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Added by UncleJimbo

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 34
Reviews by californiakulak:
Photo of californiakulak
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I simply love old pubs. They combine my two passions in life; drinking beer and history. This place fits the bill perfectly. It is from 1907 and is just beautiful inside. I would have given bit higher "atmosphere" grade if it wasn't so empty.
The beer was really good. I had a couple of pints of their IPA, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My wife tried their wheat beer and she liked it as well.
We were there for happy hour and it was a good one. Their beers were very inexpensive. I think a pint was under two dollars.
This place would have been perfect if it was a little bit more lively.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I weep for what has sprung up in my absence. I simply cannot believe the wealth of places in my favorite North American city! Located right at the foot of Columbus, this is Ground Zero for Bohemian Weirdness. If you groove on Hippie Weirdness, head out to the Haight. This is well-read, literate, alluding, music playing, poetry-spouting weirdness. It was a small place on the corner of Columbus, Kearny, and Pacific. Man, I totally dig the vibe. Formerly the Albatross Bar, it is now a fantastic hangout. The ancient inverted "J"-shaped bar and the Greco-classic back bar, on the right side, as well as the mirror image of the back with a cigarette-tar stained working (!) clock, all gave a feel of O-L-D. An original (tempting) trough ran underfoot. Add to that the (insert wind-driven mobiles here) pipeline of spinning, belt-driven fans plus Victorian-era lighting fixtures and you got yourself a spot, man! I'd do a east to west remake of Easy Rider out here. Wow, I have devolved. Where next? Just gazing around, looking out the window, I was exported back to my youth. I loved it here then, I loved it here in the Now. I'd do it all over in a heartbeat.

Beers: Andromeda Wheat (reminding me of Tattoo Tommy Orr's old Old Lady, Andra); SFPA; Shanghai PA; Gripman's Porter; Christmas Cheer; Albatross Lager; Emperor Norton Lager; St. Stephen's Bock.

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Photo of soupermirl
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

We had lunch and took the 5 cent tour of the place. Nice atmosphere very olde style pub look with the brewery in the next room. Upstairs they the the Dempsey room named after Jack Dempsey who use to work in the building before he was world champ. Large copper fermentors in the next room with dark wood walls and cool old photos. The bar was all wood and very beautiful. We tried 3 different beers and all were very solid. Very good lunch with typical pub foods and very good beer. Cool place in the heart of San Francisco.

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Photo of Floydster
2.75/5  rDev -24.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2

I literally stumbled across this place on my long walk back from Rogue to the BART station, had no intentions of going here in my short alloted time but excited to see it could happent hat easily, walked in and immediately sat at the bar, had a few beers including their Christmas Cheer, Shangai IPA, and Anniversary Ale, none of which I was impressed with, place was old fashioned inside and reminded me of an old Downtown LA restaurant, this place has been around since the early 1900s, so there is definitely some history here, the two bartneders were nice girls and made sure I was doing okay on several occasions, they even saved me from walking into the women's restroom on accident, did not have many taps and all of them were designated for their house brews, did not eat because I was still full from earlier, glad I saw this place but would not go back here after being to all the other great places this city has to offer, probably worth checking out once

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Photo of jjboesen
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

Built in 1907, this rustic saloon is the last remnant of San Francisco's Barbary Coast. And it surely is part of the atmosphere. History happened here - or at least plenty of drinking, fighting, carousing and whoring. If this is not enough history: heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey was once a bouncer here.

History and Dempsy aside, I just stopped by for a few pints. San Francisco Brewing now sits in the heart of the vibrant North Beach neighborhood and attracts many locals in need of beer, of which there were nine available during my visit. I had the Shangai IPA and the Gripman Porter; these were not overwhelming, but they were fresh. With a 9-Barrel capcity, SFBC is indeed a small brewpub.

The service was efficient and very amiable. All part of a very homey hangout that this tavern seems to evoke.

Although I only stopped once - after having some delectable Honey Chili Chicken at Chef Jia's, which is next door, there is no reason for me to return on my next visit.

The beautiful mahogany bar with beveled mirrors is worth the trip alone. Oh .. the restrooms are down the stairway to the right of the entryway.

UPDATE November 2009: I understand that this place has closed.

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Photo of bobsy
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Strong dive bar feel, but once your acclimatised its actually got a great atmosphere and a sense of history that a lot of north american bars lack. Its pretty dark in there, with a lot of old wood about, including a very nicely carved old-school bar.

The food is passable and inexpensive, with the big plus of getting me really full.

They had eight beers on tap at time of visit. We did them all, and got varying levels of enjoyment out of them. The lagers were a bit bland for me, as was the porter, but the IPA and winter seasonals were pretty darn good. Everything seemed to be very fresh too, as it should be in a brewpub. Service was friendly and attentive.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Went on a hike around sf, hit up Thirsty Bear, SF Brewing, and ended up at Godon Biersch before hitting up McDonalds and getting back on the train. Hole in the wall is a good way to describe this place. The fact that it was a brewery was obvious by the malt smells coming up the stair case into the dining room. The place was kinda small and cozy, cute waitress.

We tried the sampler of the beers, found one or two that I liked, nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. I thought it was interesting that you could pay them $1000 or something and they would make you a batch of beer to your specifications.

We didn't eat much, just an appetizer to tide us over till we could hike to a fast food joint. The little we did eat was pretty good and I think after 3 samplers and an appetizer + tip we paid right around $20 or so, not bad. Since I'll be in that area again soon I might go back there.

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Photo of DaveDLD
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

of the 4 brewpubs i visited in san francisco, i'd have to say sf brewing company was my least favorite. the building is pretty cool and it's in a really nice neighborhood. the beers were all decent. i wasn't in love with any of the beers especially but they were voted best brewpub in San Francisco by SF Weekly. the only 'complaint' i have is similar to the guy before me and it's that the restroom is downstairs and it's kind of gross. i didn't order any food but i saw the prices and they seemed very reasonable. you can't beat the 1.50 beers for happy hour 4-6pm and 12-1am. good little place but not my personal favorite.

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Photo of bboven
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Little hole-in-the-wall brewpub. There is a huge brewery smell in the restaurant, which I thought pleasant but my wife didn't really like at all, so that's not for everyone.

The food was average pub food as far as selection/variety, but the sandwiches were big and just a bit tastier than your average pub food.

They only had about 5 beers available. I tried them all (sipping the two my wife got and getting pints of whatever she didn't order) and they were all very good, if average with the exception of the stout. It was certainly on of the better brew-pub stouts I've ever tried.

There are a few flaws here, though. The bathrooms are tiny and all the way on the bottom floor beside the brewing operations. There was only one person working upstairs and he did his best, but they could definitely use more staffing.

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Photo of Jaylee52
2/5  rDev -44.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 2

The beer was mediocre and warm. The glasses were warm. The waitress was rude. The food took forever. There was only one waitress and one cook for the whole place during prime happy hour/dinner hours. The food is overpriced for what it is and entirely forgettable.

I've had very similar experiences twice before, choking down a warm porter (and let me clarify, this was not "cask ale" warm, this was just bad beer served lazily). Three strikes and SF Brewing Company is out. I definitely won't go back there any time soon.

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Photo of 0tt0
2.79/5  rDev -23.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2

Pretty underwhelming place. Had a nice IPA, but a unimpressive wheat beer. Decor is old world pub and I found out after the fact that the bar had been rescued from a much older establishment. Points for that.

Bartender had a friend at the end of the bar and seem preoccupied with him. I would have stuck around a bit longer, but the service was less than attentive I knew the Rogue Pub was just up the street. Pretty average, at best, though happy hour prices of a $1.50 are hard to argue with. I would revisit next time in the Bay Area, but not very high on my list.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This is a pretty good brewpub that I used to frequent alot both when I lived above city lights bookstore and when I lived at the St. Paul hotel. The atmosphere is great as this is a classic listed victorian building that has been around forever, the outside is ornate and fabulous and the inside has many nooks and crannies of dark wood and some amazing stained glass and light fixtures. The quality of the food is good, and the prices are pretty low for North Beach on both the food and the beer. The beers are average to good, and always solid with more UK styled offerings in general than the other brewpubs in town. The dark mild they had on for a few weeks towards the end of last year was great, as was the HOWL barleywine, amongst others. However sometimes the selection can get a little light and boring, but usually it's at least slightly above average as far as SF brewpubs go. The selection as noted tends to have more UK styles on draught with some Germans and the ocassional Belgian thrown in for good measure...all in all this is a pretty nice place, and if you live in North Beach it's pretty much just here or rogue anyways...

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Photo of Atlas1
2.88/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2

I was in SF for work recently and found myself up in the neighborhood with my wife so we decided to stop in before a trip to City Lights bookstore for a quick bite to eat. I was a little excited because I'd heard and read good things about this place. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It was a regular old bar, which was okay, and it did have a great old pully fan system running in the main room. Otherwise, though, it was just a regular old bar. I tried their Octoberfest first, and it was a big disappointment. Very thin, very bland. Too bad, because I really like Octoberfest beers. Moved on to the Shanghai IPA, which was alright, but nothing to write home about. I had the fish and chips, which were good but not exceptional. My wife had a Chimay and a chicken pasta dish which was terribly bland. Overall, I wouldn't recommend the SF Brewing Company, unless you're going there to sample the beers because you need to cross them off your list. It's no different than any other brew pub in the country and the beers are marginal at best. Still, the city of San Francisco is fantastic, and the bar is located in a great spot. For what that's worth.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
3.28/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I stopped by here walking from my office in the financial district to my hotel at Fisherman's wharf.

The outside was quite beautiful. As you walk in the bar is to the right with tables on the left. The walls were a bit barren and rather drab overall. As you walk to the back you can go to the right to another room that over looks the street. Nice view and this is the room you see from the outside.

The had about 5 selections and i tried several. They were cold and thirst quenching. True to their styles but nothing of worthy of note. Given all the places in SF, i'd go elsewhere but iif you need a quick pint of some local brew, this place is alrighyt.

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Photo of baiser
3.34/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

This place is on Columbus, pretty close to China town and North Beach. It was open pretty late on a weeknight so we stopped in for a quick beer before heading out for some fun in San Fran. Got a pitcher each of all their beers. Only had 4 available that night. Was a bit pricey for what you got. None of their beers are remarkable, and the temperature was way too warm for draught. Not properly stored at all. Service was nil. If you're in San Fran, you have much better options for beer. Interior was all wooden.

I was also there on a weekend during the day time and it was filled with locals. They do have happy hours with really cheap beers.

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Photo of clickpush
2.96/5  rDev -18.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3

SO.... This is definitely the most accessible of SF’s brewpubs, except for maybe Magnolia. If only they could increase the quality of the experience! The service is pretty lousy - I waited 10 minutes at my table just to order a beer as the waitresses congregated behind the bar and joked around. The website advertises happy hour prices of $1 for a 10oz glass and $1.75 for a pint, but when I got there (during happy hour) the pints were $2.50. I mean, $2.50 isn't a lot of money, but I was really pissed off about the false advertising. After happy hour pints go up to $4.50 which, for the quality of their beers, is too steep (IMO). I really enjoyed their porter (see review), but did not like their Shanghai P.A. whose hops tasted like cannabis, nor their watery attempt at a wheat beer. The San Andreas Alt was okay, maybe a 3.5 overall.
They have a nice big space with some outdoor seating right along Columbus, excellent for people watching, but the feel inside is off. A bit too grungy, no hospitality, and the decor is uncreative.

Anyway, you have to stop and experience it once, but there's no need to go more than that.

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Photo of veech
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This brewpub has a nice location in an historic building off of Columbus Avenue in the North Beach section of San Francisco. There is a real vintage saloon feel with a nice antique, mahogany bar and a 19th century fan on the ceiling above the wood paneled, tile floored barroom. Seating was somewhat limited in the bar area itself, but a separate room looked fairly spacious. The waitstaff was attentive and attractive (mostly college aged girls). I did not sample the food, but the beer was definitely the focus of this establishment. A nice selection of brews and an outstanding happy hour with $1.50 pints was quite impressive. A nice stop for beer lovers visiting the city by the bay.

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Photo of millhouse
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

North Beach San Francisco is my kind of place. One side of the street offers some incredible Italian food, while the other side offers Larry Flynt's Penthouse Club, or whatever you call it.

San Francisco Brewing Company was SF's first brewpub! And, while they don't offer an overwhelming array of beers, I was impressed by each of their offerings. And they are very reasonably priced. I enjoyed their Emeror Norton Lager, especially.

All in all, I'd recommend hitting another area restaurant for dinner and then coming here for some solid beer afterwards. Although, the best fish and chips I've ever had entered my mouth at this establishment. But, a trip to San Francisco that didn't include North Beach would be a waste to me and mine.

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Photo of benito
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

SFBC is in North Beach only a few blocks from City Light Bookstore and the famous, zig-zagging blocks of Lombard Street. When I visited, it was very much summer 2006 outside, but, had it not been for the TVs showing the World Cup inside, I could have stepped in and sworn that I had gone into a time warp. SFBC is in the building that housed a number of saloons at the turn of the 20th century, and the current brewpub pays homage to this past. The ambience in this place is wonderful: their bizarre fan (from 1916) is mesmerizing, the single copper brew kettle is beautiful, the bar and wooden decor is authentic, and the various articles on San Francisco and Jack Dempsey make for fun reading while waiting for a drink or meal. Even with a good number of folks in for lunch and the soccer game, there was an unmistakble quiet to this place that I'd never seen in a brewpub before, as though everyone who enters recognizes and implicitly agrees to revere the ghosts of the past that so clearly haunt the dining rooms and pub of San Francisco Brewing.

To call SFBC a 'time warp' does do it a bit of a disservice, as they have some quality contemporary elements as well. Their modernist logo is beautiful, and their motto 'From Grain to Glass' suggests that they take the ethics of their brewing and eating seriously.

During my visit there were seven taps on, all the usual suspects in terms of style. All of their brews are served unfiltered and at cellar temperature, another nod to the au courant-ness of the folks behind today's show at SFBC. I had the pale ale (average) and the Emperor Norton Lager (very good, listed here as an all-malt lager, but it is either a steam or american amber lager). And my ribs were very tender and well-prepared.

Compared with its craft brewing bretheren in the city (Thirsty Bear, 21st Amendment), SFBC is decidedly old-fashioned and less glitzy. It makes a visit their that much more interesting--if even to only enjoy the ambience.

Don't miss this place while beer touring the Bay Area.

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Photo of Skidz
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

You could run your eyes all around this place and never get bored. The old-fashioned drive axle fan is incredibly ornate and funtional. The restrooms look like something out of the Godfather series, but I can deal with that.

About 8 beers on tap, most of them decent, but not impressive. IPA and the Scotch ale were both strange in their own right, but were drinkable.

Great music playing the entire time. Good crown for four in the afternoon on a Wednesday too. I'd make a stop back, even if it was only to look at the interior again.

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Photo of copasetic
4/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Walked by around lunchtime as I was strolling through San Francisco during a break from a conference. Didn't even realize where I was until I caught the aroma of boiling wort, which stopped me in my tracks. When I figured out where I was, I went in for a few beers. The place was pretty empty during my visit, but the waitress was very friendly and brought me a number of samples. Pretty wide selection and I happened to be in town around the end of "Big Beer Month," so I sampled a few barleywines and had two glasses of their fantastic IPA. Just had a basket of fries, which were tasty. Good prices, nice place, good experience. I'd recommend them.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

The atmosphere would have received a 4.5 but the music was way too loud so I had to dock it a half a point. Seriously though, this bar looks good. It’s old school in an authentic, well rehabbed sort of way. Everything about it screams classy turn of the century saloon. 8 beers on tap. I tried the stout and the wheat. Both were just a touch better than mediocre. Service was really enthusiastic. Didn’t stay long because it was too loud to hear myself think let alone speak with my compadres. Worth a stop but not high on my list of places in the area. It’s in a neat, albeit, touristy neighborhood that’s worth checking out too.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.94/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I walk in the door, and step back 100 years. That was the feeling I get from this place. It had a ton of old charm, from the tons of woodwork and massive bar to the really cool old fan that stretches the length of the bar. It looks more like the paddle wheels on a paddle boat than a fan to keep people cool. It took no more that 10 seconds after I sat down before I got served, and it was fairly crowded. Service continued as such all night. The beer selection was pretty good, about 6-8 beers on tap of different styles, and the prices were really pretty good. But the quality of them was off, and I was a little disappointed. That said, I'd make it my regular watering hole for the character, the rotating beer selection, and it sits on prime real estate off of Columbus, right outside of Chinatown and a little north of downtown, with plenty of bus routes. Overall, quite impressed.

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Photo of vitesse
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Located on Columbus Ave. in North Beach, this small brewpub is located in a former saloon that claims it once employed boxer jack dempsey as a doorman. The inside is kind of dark and woody with an antique bar running the length of it. the service was friendly.
the beers were excellent. I tried the really great ESB and the hoppy, crisp lager. they offered about 8 different beers on tap, plus a selection of their own vintage barleywines from past years, which was cool.
the food was also excellent. i recommend the spicy gumbo.
Definitely worth stopping in here after hitting up nearby city lights bookstore!

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Photo of brewbacca
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

San Francisco Brewing company is wedged between chinatown and the start of north beach, which is SF's little italy for the out of towners. the bar it self is great, walking in you the smell of history hits yeah, followed by stale beer funk, you know right away this place has got character and characters to it.
(I once new a guy who's father lived in the basement.)
either way I went on a week night and it was still pretty busy for this place, they have cool old school fans above the bar, and brass taps, definalty old school, the crowd is a mix of business people, locals, and tourists, but mostly locals.

I ordered the samplers, which included eight different beers, and one seasonal, I personally tend to like more full bodied beers, but even thought most of there selection lack just that they had a good selection and most of there beers went done well. the ipa, porter were probably the best.

this place is a nice place to hang with college friends or anyone who is, in town to visit and even thought it's surrounded by the hustle and bustle of north beach, entering this place is a quiet refuge to the outside world.

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San Francisco Brewing Company in San Francisco, CA
Brewery rating: 0 out of 5 with 0 ratings