Toronado

BA SCORE
95
world-class

486 Ratings
ToronadoToronado
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Beer-to-go

547 Haight St
San Francisco, California, 94117-3406
United States

(415) 863-2276 | map
toronado.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Score:
95
Ratings:
486
Reviews:
330
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
11.63%
 
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 486 |  Reviews: 330
Reviews by ChappyCubsFan:
Photo of ChappyCubsFan
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Twice now I've visited Toronado. It's time to share my thoughts.

My second trip was just a few days ago, during the annual Barleywine Festival. They had a great selection; some 30 barleywines to choose from. I just wish the service was a little friendlier. Both times I've visited the Toronado, the bartender(s) had an attitude. I guess I can understand why the bartender (Paul) had an attitude the other night. The patrons were just not reading the carefully placed signs that explained how to order a barleywine: simply give him a size (small, medium, large) and the number assigned to each barleywine on the "Big Board". Paul finally warmed up to me as I warmed up to the barleywines. I even bought a few tee-shirts, which in itself was an interesting purchase. Paul told me to feel free to browse the t-shirt rack, which I did. Suddenly, another patron (a local, I'm sure) left his seat at the other end of the bar to scold me saying, "Sir. Please step back and let the staff assist you with the tee-shirts". I told him I was given the OK by the bartender, and everything was cool.

However, my favorite moment of the evening was when a young couple sat down next to me and could not decide what to order. I explained the Barleywine Festival was in progress, and then offered to buy them both a small "starter" sample of North Coast's "Old Stock 2002". She (the young blonde) tasted it and said, "I can see why they call this "barely" wine. It barely tastes like wine." That was a great moment.

But last summer when we visited the Toronado for the first time, the lady (owner?) also had an attitude when we ordered our first drink. Maybe that's it. You ain't crap in Toronado until you've ordered a few drinks. But hey, this is San Francisco. So chill out, Toronado!

The beer selection at the Toronado is excellent. IPA lovers, like myself, will find everything to their liking. They have Pliny the Elder, Racer 5, and normally you can find several others. The Belgian selection is great also.

They don't serve food, but I like the fact that you can order food elsewhere and bring it into the pub.

Toronado gets high marks from me. Despite the rudeness of the bartenders, that seems to wane as you keep ordering, this is a great bar. I will definitely visit Toronado whenever I'm in the Bay Area.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of lpteague
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

In town for business and I had heard that Toronado was the place in San Fran guaranteed to be serving Russian River. I walked from my hotel over to Toronado on Haight and Fillmore, keeping a close eye as I had heard it was easy to miss.

For a world class bar, this place is tiny and unassuming. For me (at 4:15pm on a Tuesday afternoon where I was easily able to find a stool at the bar), this was a good thing. I can imagine if I came at a more peak time it would be really frustrating trying to get a beer.

I had read reviews in advance and was fully prepared with my cash on-hand and was expecting a surly reception from the bartender.

The bartender (a delightful lady) was very pleasant and quick to take my order. She approached me in less than one minute, I ordered the Blind Pig, she poured in within another minute and I had paid and was enjoying my beer just like that. I followed that up with a Pliny the Elder (a requirement IMO) and a Drake's beer that the bartender actually helped me select based on its New England style.

I had a couple of pleasant conversations with guys at the bar that were just like myself - in town for a short period and looking to check one of the world's best beer bars / best beers off their bucket list.

Overall, it was an extremely pleasant experience. Even the music was enjoyable... mellow folk / rock and not the death metal I was expecting.

I don't doubt the horror stories I've read, so I would recommend that if you're planning to visit, try to hit an off-peak time to maximize the experience. Have your cash ready and have a good idea of what you want to start. After an efficient order and a nice tip, good chance the bar tender will help you out with some advice if you need it. Cheers!

Edited to add: I was lucky and hit happy hour - $1 off all pints. Blind Pig for $4 and Pliny for $5? That's insane to an East Coaster like myself. Wish I could have made an entire day of it.

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Photo of daem3384
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of miragetheautobot
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Adamplus4000
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of Spoda1983
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of IanBrock
1.41/5  rDev -67.2%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5

I went to Toronado because I'm into US craft beer, and I'd heard they have a large number of drafts. I was happy to find an English bartender, but things quickly turned bad. The bartender was abusively rude. Okay, okay, so get that attitude is this place's quirk, and it's what to expect, and that's sort of fine... until they start giving you the wrong order. The bartender served the wrong beer three times. The first time, he reluctantly poured a random other one for me. The second time, he swore at me, refused to replace it and verbally abused me, and the third time, he ignored me. Beer people will probably want to seek out this place, but they seriously shouldn't bother. I know Toronado is a chain, and I don't know what the owners think of all this. I'd love to be recommending this place to others, but I'll be doing exactly the opposite.

 859 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of 22Blue
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of ha-sheem
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of CanConPhilly
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.69/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25

Atmosphere: dive bar feel with overloaded walls of beer paraphernalia, loud music and slightly sticky feel. even in the evening on a weekday it was pretty busy and hard to get a good spot. not the greatest set up I've encountered for a bar.

Quality: no complaints on what they had to drink. offering the best of the bay-area. with some very hard to find bottles (for a price.)

Service: no real issues while I wasn't there but they certainly weren't the best/nicest workers there.

Selection: again their selection is tough to beat. nice variety of sours, ipas and stouts. everyone should be able to find something they like to drink here.

Overall: if you are looking for something rare and expensive in SF look no further than Toronado. If you want to have a good time and a great beer I'd recommend somewhere else. Also remaining cash only in a modern city is archaic, especially considering offering bottles of beer for prices well up into the triple digits. I had one beer and headed back down the road to drink elsewhere.

 1,029 characters

Photo of Eman17
4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of flagmantho
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I couldn't pass through San Francisco without visiting Toronado. The atmosphere is outstanding; just the kind of breweriana explosion that I love. 48 taps including 2 cask offerings were available when I visited, including lots of local beers and plenty from farther afield: Belgians and the like. The place was pretty full with the after-work crowd, but service was efficient nonetheless. Be advised: they are cash only, so be prepared for that. Toronado is a great place to hang out, and I wouldn't hesitate to return.

 526 characters

Photo of soze47
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of NickyDee21
3.03/5  rDev -29.5%
vibe: 2.25 | quality: 4 | service: 1.25 | selection: 4

Great draft offerings, though not much I would not be able to find on draft in my home of Philadelphia. Most of the more notable drafts would have been better had at the breweries that are within driving distance. Prices were good. The place is cash-only, but there is an ATM across the street. Place really loses points for the vibe and service. The staff there is horrible. It consisted of a bunch of rude, tiny, old men who treat customers as an inconvenience and literally did nothing to warrant a tip (yet seem to live by the saying, "Tip well, or GTFO."). The place also looks like a breeding ground for Cellulitis. I will never go back. I have heard much better things about the San Diego and Seattle locations, but not sure I would even risk it. On a positive note, I suppose it was kinda nice to be able to check this place off my beer bucket list.

 857 characters

Photo of SmokingWood
3.48/5  rDev -19.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Photo of TheBlueJerzzzz
3.48/5  rDev -19.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of AndybIPA
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5

Photo of cadaugherty
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of sjrider
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of domdomdomdom
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Tmwolfe
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of Rockjocknroll
3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4.5

I was so stoked to finally visit this legendary location. Although I live close to SF it's just never been in the cards for me until last week. Walking in felt like visiting a holy place.

The selection is incredible (3 casks at once and not one bad beer), you'll probably contract hepatitis from the bathroom, and if they're at all busy don't bother asking any questions. They'll ignore you for 5 minutes and act like it's your fault you don't know everything about the beers they serve when you walk in the door. I understand being a busy server (10 years experience myself) and dealing with difficult people, but asking a question about a local brew and getting no service?

I love metal and dive bars as much as the next person but the staff are first rate (insert expletive here). One table of quiet folks near us moved a chair 6 inches around their table (not kidding...half a foot) and the bearded metal dwarf at the door walks over, grabs the chair and slams it as hard as he can against the floor to make a point none of us understood. I couldn't figure out why he was so angry at folks who were keeping to themselves. Oh, and the 'locals' might take offense and anything you do and possibly try to fight you.

I hear that it's much better if you're lucky to go when it's not busy. Too bad they're not doing their barleywine festival anymore.

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
4.3 out of 5 based on 486 ratings.
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