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Toronado

Your Rating: None
ToronadoToronado
BA SCORE
4.29/5
Outstanding
488 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
Reviews:
332
Ratings:
488
pDev:
13.29%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 488 |  Reviews: 332
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Torofuckinado, during San Francisco beer week. Oh, apparently there’s an event tonight...

You receive a ‘welcome ID’ing’ (yes, the 1960’s, and thank you) at the ½ open corral door (very Mr. Edesque), and then you go inside and drink beer. The place was packed but almost immediately, we snagged a table of which there are not many; a highly coveted piece of real estate to be sure. It was all Ben’s doing, truth be known. He scoped out potential departures, performed the set up and put the helpful departure suggestions ‘lean on’ where necessary, and then moved in to seize the table just when they showed the slightest inkling of heading out. It was most impressive. I have decided that ‘sizing up when people are going to leave and positioning oneself to be right on top of them when they do, thereby snagging their table’ is Ben’s super hero skill. I’m sure there’s a better name for it than ‘guy who makes people want to leave’, though.

Long narrow space with a tiny room around the bend to the rear. “L” shaped bar to the right disappearing under the overhang to the rear seating who knows how many in this crowd. 2 rows of 9 taps each on a wood box on the barback, and an alternating row of 24 below the bar. Glassware shelved a good length along the barback, and stemmed from the underside. Pics & photos, signage, tap handles, trophies, toys, cans, and figurines, lining the around & up over that. Good “In loving memory of Frank Zappa” page.

Green walls all around, and a grayish ceiling (impossible to tell in this or any light), with wood, what would be crown moldings. A couple of ceiling lamps, and light strung baby spots to the rear. 6 hightops adjacent to the bar, running front to back. The wood panel half wall along the hightops is done up with brewery placards; the length of its trim lined with Duvel magnums (with some Russian River play in there for laughs). Brewery placards, pub signage, neons, & mirrors above, and tap handles displayed atop. The opposite wall, forward the bar is just completely pasted with stickers of everything from everywhere.

Schneider flaggings from the ceiling up front, and neons in the logo windows to both sides of the door, with smaller horizontal windows running above. The taps listed on a big hop lined slat board over the rear hang, and a single TV in the corner. Rear space below the hang holds more magnums shelved, and tap handles above all the way around. A row of a good 20 Anchor OSA handles provides bad flashbacks of that OSA tasting we did back in the day. And I kind of thought I’d see old Grant’s handles up there, but no. Interesting shirts and schwag scene back there. And a small room off the rear to the left with a half dozen tables. People; they sit at them. TV’s and beer trays adorn.

Currently, all 42 taps are occupied. 1/3 of them (yes, that’s 14) are from Russian River for this event, by which I mean, “Fuck!” (Damnation, Damnation Batch 23, Supplication, Supplication 2010, Consecration, Defenestration, Temptation, Temptation 2008, Sanctification, Sanctification 2010, Framboise Cuvee 2010, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, CBC Symposium Sour Brown). The remaining 2/3 are craft (5 from Lagunitas, 3 each from Upright & Deschutes, a pair each from Moonlight, Ninkasi, & Widmer, and one offs Anchor Steam, Allagash White, High Water Aphotic Baltic Porter) and imports (Rodenbach Grand Cru, N’Ice Chouffe, Mort Subite Kriek, Radeberger Pils, Franziskaner Hefe, Schneider Aventinus & Edel-weisse), at a 3 to 1 ratio, and the Two Rivers Pomegranate Cider. And 3 handpumps on the far end of the bar back there (Moonlight Twist of Fate Bitter & Bombay By Boat IPA, Sierra Nevada Celebration). We shared the Consecration (duh!), Defenestration (Belgian Pale Ale, dry, hoppy, lovely. ‘A wild ale of good’, says Ben), Temptation, Sanctification (aged in Bretty not suck), CBC Sour Brown (yeah, uh huh), and I had a Deschutes Black Butte XXIII (because because).

On return just a day later, seems they’ve moved onto a New Belgium event (Russian River was sooo yesterday, literally). We slummed it with such slouches as the Lips of Faith La Terrior, Eric’s Ale, Super Cru, Transatlantique Kriek, Tart Lychee, and the Love (Felix), and agreed that the Eric’s Ale, Tart Lychee, & Love (Felix) were the best of ‘em.

Gave them a day’s breather and returned on Sunday for the Barleywine fest. Some real nice offerings. Hey! Can you not read the sign? (Order by number, douchebag). Sampled a few and then had another Moonlight Twist of Fate Bitter (just goddamn stellar).

It’s a cool scene. I had zero problem with service and they’ve got a good crowd of kids drinking better beer. There is a tamale woman wheeling her wares through, hadn’t seen that one before. Wait. There’s a bottle list? Didn’t need to get at it, mind you we were in full beer week event flail. Ben described this place as being “fucking awesome”, and Bethy added, “The awesome is prominent”, as she knows what’s what. Who am I to disagree?

 5,069 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Nrod
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of mrcraft
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

Toronado is a craft beer institution in the Haight-Asbury neighborhood. It's an unique area with Victorian rowhouses, mixed in with eateries and other businesses. Parking can be tough because it's mostly limited street parking. Uber is probably a better means to get here if you're a visitor, like I was. As others have mentioned, it's cash only.

I visited after work, and it was pretty crowded, but the bartender was friendly and I was served quickly. I heard some bad stories but didn't experience any of it. The inside was split into sections. At the main entrance, you find the bar area with tables and chairs. There's then like a connecting area with some tables and space to enjoy your beers and mingle. And, then there's a third space, more open, lighter and maybe a tad quieter.

I went with a co-worker. She doesn't drink beer, so she was a trooper to hang out with me while I enjoyed my tart cherry sour.

 928 characters

Photo of lpteague
4.88/5  rDev +13.8%
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 +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of miragetheautobot
4.54/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Adamplus4000
4.64/5  rDev +8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Photo of Spoda1983
4.68/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of IanBrock
1.41/5  rDev -67.1%
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 +15.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of 22Blue
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of ha-sheem
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Photo of CanConPhilly
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.69/5  rDev -14%
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 +3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of flagmantho
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
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 +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of NickyDee21
3.03/5  rDev -29.4%
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 -18.9%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Photo of TheBlueJerzzzz
3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5

Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

A true original, and a venerable institution in the craft beer world. I have only been here a few times, on visits to SF, but have had an excellent experience every time I did. YMMV, as everything is always in flux.

 215 characters

Photo of AndybIPA
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5

Photo of cadaugherty
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of sjrider
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of dddddddd
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
Place rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 488 ratings
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