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 Hibernator:
Photo of Hibernator
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

As we walked down to the Lower Haight this afternoon, the sun decided to make a cameo appearance and I made a quick detour stop at Groove Records. After finishing up there, we finally arrived at Toronado. The entrance was a half door with an old school western saloon thing going on. The type of half door that you hope doesn’t hit your balls on the back swing.

The long bar is located to the right and tables to the left. This place was vibrant and unexpectedly crowded at 3PM on Tuesday. Other than a bar in New York City, I’m not sure that I would expect to see a congregation of people enjoying great beers at such an unconventional time. Nevertheless, I completely embraced it and was pumped to have the opportunity to order a fresh Pliny on tap.

It was dimly lit inside with loud metal music thumping through the speakers. A gigantic beer list menu greets your eyes as you tilt your head upwards toward the sign. Beer options are nicely organized and well defined, as it offers all of the 50 or so options available (with about 3 hand pump beers). Selections included Pliny the Elder (oh mommy!), Damnation, Blind Pig IPA, Class of ‘88, Merle Saison, Sculpin IPA, Moonlight Death & Taxes and many more. The beer list appears to favor IPA’s with some interesting European offerings mixed in. All beers are served in appropriate glassware.

Worth noting is that there are some really good deals to be found at this beer bar destination. For example, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Anchor Steam are only $4 and the real mind-blower is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot for $4! Maybe it’s the East Coast in me, but that gets me really excited.

The atmosphere at Toronado is raw and filled with true character. This place is the antithesis of a place like Yard House. If you are looking for a sterile place to go to, you should look elsewhere. You belly up to the bar, pay in cash and are rewarded with a quality craft beer and you repeat as needed. One of the greatest attractions is that feeling of trying something new that you’ve either never had before or read about and are eager to have for the first time.

I felt an immense amount of appreciation for the décor of this place. It’s packed with breweriana such as stickers, tin signs, neon signs, flags, tap handles, etc. I spotted a spectacular collection of Anchor Our Special Ale tap handles. I was also psyched to see the Tennessee George ‘No Show’ Jones plate and ‘Zappa for Ever’ sign. Such appreciation to these musical greats truly resonates with me.

Toronado is an establishment with legendary status in the beer bar scene in this country. A ‘must stop’ on my list for many years and I'm so glad I made the visit.

 2,697 characters

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.

 1,953 characters

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.

 1,353 characters

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