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%
 
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 486 |  Reviews: 330
Photo of mobyfann
4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Toronado is a dark-lit pseudo-dive bar in the Lower Haight district of San Francisco...

Atmosphere: It's definitely a hit with the local's and is crowded most of the time, standing and waiting for a table can be part of the experience. It's minimally lit with a capacity nearing 70 people (or so) and the vibe for the three times I've been here has been positive and young... mostly people in their 20s and 30s.

Quality: Half of the features are local Cali brews (Lagunitas, Russian River, Bear Republic, etc.) and the rest are scattered (Aventinus, Dogfish Head, etc.). There are maybe a couple "meh" brews on the large list.

Service: Even though it's a busy place, that won't stop the bartender's efficiency in pouring down the drinks and raking in the massive tips he/she must earn on any night.

Selection: With the quality of brews being first-rate, the selection is vast and varying in styles, some room-temp brews and a few organics pop-up.

Food: This is in reference to the sausage stand next door that is affiliated with Toronado, the sausages are excellent and come with a choice of two toppings (kraut, onions, peppers, chili) with options of potato salad and a few other options. Also, on my recent trip a local lady (The Tamale Lady?) walked into the bar selling various tamales (in corn husks) at $4 and the whole experience was entertaining!

Value: For San Francisco these prices are very legit, most beers range from $4-6 depending on type.

Overall: In and when anyone moves to San Francisco and lives near the Lower Haight, this will probably be one of your hangout spots; especially if you appreciate quality brews and great prices... Excellent bar!

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Photo of tyanow
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

The great American Beer Bar.

Honestly, that should be all that I have to write. I travel more than most and seek beer bars wherever I go. There are great ones all over the place, but there is nothing that matches the pure beer enthusiasm of the owners/staff/patrons of this place.

It is not snobby, pretentious, or otherwise off putting - unless you go Saturday night at 11PM and the place is packed to the gills.

You have college kids drinking cask pumped porters next to businessmen enjoying a Beligian next to a biker drinking a hef.

Long live the Toronado.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.3/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

What a cool area. Is there any other area more cool for a location than Haight Street in San Francisco? Am I overusing the term cool? That might be a sign of my uncoolness, and I realize that.

A $10 cab ride (at breakneck speeds, catching air numerous times) from the Wharf area.

Your first obsticle is the Dutch Door. Do not forget to open it upon entering, and do not forget to close it once you enter.

Tons of beer memorabelia on the wals, along with bottles and tap handles from years past. Nice digs. Not fancy, but to the point. This is a beer bar.

When you walk in, look up and you'll see the tap list, full of fantastic beers. I must admit, on my one and only visit, I did not find anything particularly Earth-shattering. Still, though. Top notch tap and bottle selection.

No food to speak of and the service wasn't all that warm. Maybe this particular 4:30 on a Thursday Afternoon didn't give me the experience of one of the best beer bars in the country. Well, no maybe about it. It just didn't.

Still, with 100% certainty, a place you should check out when in the San Francisco area.

Come with no expectations and a thirsty pallate and you'll walk away happy. And drunk.

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Photo of Gigantis
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Had to give this place a try when I was in San Fran a month ago. I kind of went in expecting some surly service and mean looks from the locals along with great beer. Well, I certainly got great beer!

When I went in (on a Saturday) the place was busy, but not slammed/standing room only. There were a few seats at the bar available and me and my friend took two of them. It's L-shaped really and not by any means gigantic. From our vantage point, we could look up and see lots and lots of tabs hanging from the wall/ceiling. We could not see the beer list, which is a chalk board on a beam that half the bar is not privy to.

This did not matter because I knew I wanted Pliny and I knew they would have it. It was delicious and the bar tender was very warm and friendly and even answered my friend's questions about framboise. Yes, she actually did not make fun of him at all. We were hungry and our neighbor recommended that we try to sausage place next door. They had a couple of buddies there that took our seats - and actually gave them back to us when we returned w/ the sausages (which are awesome at the place next to Toronado by the way).

I had another two beers - Consecration and Twist of Fate from the cask. The bartenders were always helpful and, while I expected a level of sneering enmity, were nothing but nice as hell. The patrons there were also very nice and we had what can only be described as a wonderful time.

The only thing I can even remotely cite as disappointing is the sort of ho-hum atmosphere. I guess I maybe expected a more rollicking, wild place. I'm sure it gets that way at times, but I actually almost appreciate the understated nature of the place. When we left (around 11) there was a line to get in. They probably could use about twice the space. Oh well, I feel very good about my experience there. It lived up to the hype and eviscerated all the criticism I have heard to this point. Lovely place in a lovely city.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

This place is bad ass. It is not very big and it is pretty crowded all the time. It is tucked away also. So I walked in and sat down. I am 21 and was by far the youngest in there by at least ten years. Of course I was given a hard time but I was willing to put up with some shit because of the selection of brews that they have. It was the first time I had Pliny the Elder and it was on tap. Great. I ordered the beer and sat down and enjoyed it. I had another one and left.
The next day I took a friend and the British bartender was an ass hole and gave us a good hard time. Screw him, I got Pliny and Consecration on tap for about ten bucks. Awesome. There is so much to look at and the service, once picked on, is great. You can tell there are the regulars that come there all the time, and why not? The beer selection was out of this world and the environment was great. Next time I go in there I will tell the bartender to go f himself and have a great array of brews all in my grasp.
Exciting place.
J

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Photo of mongodestroy
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I just moved back to the bay area from Fresno where my local bar had a lot to say about the Toronado. Visiting the Toronado was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Great pub experiences are few and far between. We got there early around noon and were able to establish a rapport with the bartender. My glass was never empty for more then a minute before I got served. Even despite my foul of not tipping after every beer and waiting till the end, the service was great. I believe this is because we got there early before it got too busy and were able to chat with the bartender. The music was a bit on the loud side but contributed to a unique experience. I can see how people have gotten bad service since the place is run on their terms and there is certainly no shortage of patrons. Beer selection was amazing as amazing as it could have been.

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Photo of route66pubs
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

After all I had been hearing and reading about this place, I was anxious to finally get a chance to try it. I will say that their tap selection was pretty solid, with some great local stuff and a good bit of rare stuff as well. The service was not outstanding, but not terrible either (I'd heard some horror stories).

This "hole-in-the-wall" reminded me in some ways of my beloved local hangout "The Verdugo." The tap selection was great and the group of people hanging around seemed like a good, eclectic group / mix.

I think that the big down side for me was waiting for the first pour, when it seemed like it took 20 minutes just to be noticed. The next two treks to the bar, though, improved that dramatically. Don't expect any friendly face time from the bartender, though.

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Photo of BevMoPatrick1
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I grew up in the East Bay and was back in town for my sister's graduation, so I had to at least make the trip worth my while in checking out a few beer spots that I never had the opportunity to appreciate as a kid. Toronado didn't dissapoint. This place was amazing, I hadn't been to the Haight district in years so location and atmosphere was awesome. It was packed but service was suprisingly prompt. Selection was great, had the Russian River Mortification, and Sierra Nevada Porter on cask. Will definetely be back. It was happy hour as well so the dollar off the already great prices was an added bonus.

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Photo of BasementBrewerSF
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Toronado is the best beer bar in San Francisco, period.

It is not without its problem though. On most weekend nights, almost every weekend night, the bar is overflowing with patrons and it takes quite a while to get a drink from the one or two bartenders. The bartenders are quick and knowledgeable but expect the customer to know what they want, and questions are not easily answered in the loud bar.

Getting the negative out of the way, they have the best selection in town. A consistantly rotating menu of extremely rare and limited edition beers makes trips to Toronado a regular must, for any local. They also host breweries on a regular basis. This is quite a treat, but again the bar gets really crowded.

Any serious beer traveler must make a stop at this legendary bar. No bar in the city, or anywhere else I have traveled, has this quality and selection of beer.

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Photo of NikkiMacBrain
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Well. I finally got around to the Toronado after hearing about it from customers for years. Outstanding taps and hand pumps, great prices, great atmosphere (if you're a dive bar guy like I am). It's cash-only, which is unexpected but no inconvenience, really.

So, the service issue. As an obvious out-of-towner (was on my way out with my bag and all) I felt a little looked over at first. But, to be fair, the place was jumping and there appeared to be one guy on the bar and one working the tables. They were pretty busy. As I got to chat up the bartender a bit and he learned that I worked retail, things warmed up and I realized how curt I can get on the job--especially when someone asks me if we carry IPA or if we have anything 'medium'. We carry over 400 bottles at the shop I work at, I've been doing this for over 5 years now--and I still don't know what that means.

Overall, an outstanding bar and one I'll be spending some time and cash in when I'm in town. Do yourself a favor: get over yourself, be patient waiting for your drink and enjoy one of the best selections of taps in the US.

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Photo of braddo
4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best bartender to ever pour a pint. What you see is what you get. Great prices and great selection. Belly up to the bar and you won't want to leave. Take a pass on the mead in the crock pot behind the bar. They don't serve food but you can buy a sausage next door and bring it back to the bar. This will be the fist place I go when I go back to San Fran.

Sampled:
Pliny the Elder Double IPA (Draught) - Beer Advocate's rating lives up to the hype! Huge floral and citrus taste.

Saison Dupont (Draught) - Refreshing and crisp. True to the style. Perfect for a hot summer day. May be better buying in a bottle from the store. A pint costs a small fortune.

Sierra Nevada Chico IPA (Cask) - Taste of citrus and hops. Heavy hop aroma like many Sierra Nevada offerings.

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA (Draught) - Malty flavor and heavy hop aroma. Worthy of topping any IPA list.

http://www.burrstreetbrewblog.com/2009/03/san-francisco-beer-week.html

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This is about the 6th or 7th time I've been here, and I finally decided to review the place. First off, I am yet to experience any of the so-called bad service that anybody has spoken of yet. To those poster's credit, I agree that the bartenders are a bit "gruff" not unlike old Scottish sea captains in the early 19th century, but none-the-less, I have yet had an experience where I have been disrespected, or not accomodated in any way (and that includes half pints to my g/f, who was most definitely respected as well). My advice for anyone who goes here is simply: read the menu first (it's posted on the wall), decide what you want, speak clearly, and leave a decent tip. Follow those suggestions, and I guarantee you that you'll enjoy your experience here. Well, that takes care of the atmosphere and service...as far as quality and selection, this is also pretty amazing - lots of Belgians and German beers on tap, and some DFH, Marin, RR, and lots of others. I found that going around December is a really good time because you get all the exciting seasonal brews. Basically, if you are in the city, this place is a must, even if you're just stopping in for a pint of Pliny. I'd like to get up here for some of their festivals, but it is a 370 mile drive for me. Last but not least, the place has the greatest prices out of ANY beer bar I've ever been to, period. Happy hour is from opening (11:30) until 6 pm, in which case ALL beers are $1 off their already low price. I will keep coming back here.

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Photo of JoeySchlitz
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5

I've been meaning to write a review of one of the local haunts but just haven't had time lately (until now). The Toronado is a beer institution in SF and in northern California. They continually bring in some of the best brewers and beers from the west coast and usually offer them at great prices (the bottles on the other hand are a different story - be prepared to be gouged). Overall a very good place to get a great beer, but there can be times where it's horrendous. Those are usually when the place is completely overcrowded and the staff is overwhelmed - it happens a lot too. I think that they revel in knowing that so many people will put up with just about anything to get a glass of great beer and that they really don't have to cater to anyone. Given the continual feedback on BA and also other forums (Yelp, etc.) with the service issue one would think that they would act upon it. But that would be if that experience was out of line with their expectations - so I don't expect anything to change. Good and bad - well I guess no place is perfect.

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Photo of JoshuaCain
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

definitely the premier beer bar in SF. the location couldn't be easier to get to, and depending when you are there the selection can range from great to mind blowing. the vibe is pretty relaxed, but a fair amount of douchebag type brahs will almost certainly be there, as well as alot of pretentious hipsters. if you are like me and don't like to talk to anyone anyway this will not be a problem. the service seems fine as long as you don't act like a total beer noob and get on their nerves. price is average for the neighborhood.

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Photo of xhcadamx
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

A - this place screams dive bar with a shit ton of cool beer paraphernalia.

Q - There is a lot of beer pride in this joint. Proper glassware, serving temperatures. No beer faux pas to speak of

S - I have only been once and it was a weeknight at 1000pm so the service was spot on. The bouncer was the liveliest guy in there.

S - AMAZING selection. If you want it more than likely they have it. Nice cask selection too.

F - no food served here but you can bring in food from other places. The pizza place is nice and cheap, I have heard great things about the sausage place

V - Great prices.

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Photo of John_M
5/5  rDev +16.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Visited the Toronado today... clearly the dive bar to end all dive bars.

The smallish Toronado beer bar is located in the lower Haight and fits in well with the other smoke shops, hair salons and cafes in the area. Given the fame of the Toronado, I guess I can see where one might come here with certain preconceived expectations. The place, of course, is a complete dive/dump, with bumper stickers, signs, cartoons and paraphenelia plastered every where. If that's not enough to convey the proper vibe, the day I was there the background music consisted of blaring metal music and later ZZ Top. Although I don't think there is anything dirty about the Toronado, the place just exudes a certain seediness. The patrons fit in perfectly with the neighborhood, and run the gamut from beer advocate beer geeks to skid row bums that can barely remember their own name. It just doesn't get any better then this.

The day I was here there was something like 40 beers on tap and the quality level was just off the charts. Three beers from RR (Pliny, Blind Pig and the porter), three beers from Schneider (Aventinus, Weisse and edel weisse), a couple of beers from Drake, Green Flash, Anchor and Speakeasy. There were also a couple of lambics, 5 or 6 Belgian trippels, dubbels and strong ales, and a few German beers for good measure.... and that's just what I can remember.

Pricing here is interesting and I assume represents market price for everything. Some of the Belgians and Barleywines struck me as expensive, but then pints of Blind Pig and Pliny were $4.50, while my 12 ounce tulip glass of Drake's imperial stout and DIPA cost just $3.50 ($4.50 for a pint). The guy next to me purchased a .5 liter of a German pilsner that cost just $3. Go figure. At the end of the day, I have to call the pricing here pretty reasonable.

A number of folks who have reviewed the Toronado have criticized the service here. Maybe they were here on an off night or something else was wrong, because I don't get it. The afternoon I was there I think there were some 20 patrons in attendance, with just the one bartender to handle the crowd. He was quick and efficient, and I never had to wait even a minute for a beer. While he didn't try to come off as my new best friend, he was pleasant enough and happy to answer any question I had. Given the crowd, I can see where he might get pissed pretty quick if you were slow to make up your mind or otherwise wasted his time. Still, considering the crowd, and considering the condition of some of the patrons sitting at the bar (who clearly were somewhat the worse for wear), I was impressed.

The Toronado is as close to perfection as I ever need to get. I'll be back every time and any time I'm in SF.

Edit from recent visit on 8/30/12. Nothing to add, except that if I could increase my score I would. Bartender (Stewert) was easily the most knowledgeable bartender I've ever run into (my jaw dropped when I heard him telling another patron about the maiden the shade beer on tap, and Ninkasi in general). He was also quick, friendly and a good conversationalist... he bought my last beer of Aventinus (he told me it was his right as a bartender when I tried to refuse... so I dumped some cash as a tip, which I told him was my right as a customer. He laughed and we smacked knuckles). I'll say no more, except.... I LOVE the Toronado!!!

Also got a sausage sandwich from the place next door (the Toronado has some arrangement with them, where you can just leave your sandwich basket from next door and the staff will take care of it). The sandwich was good, no doubt, but it wasn't exactly a culinary, life altering experience either. Still, it's nice to have the option of a bite to eat while having a beer or three.

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Photo of ipa247
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5

Yes another review of the famed Toronado. Where to start? Well I have been going here since about the mid-1990's and it really has not changed other than to get a little more crowded.

Atmosphere: a dark and dank front and back room that is perfect to hide away from your problems and the rest of the world. I have spent many a past winter day doing just that. It doesnt appear to be the cleanest of drinking environments and the restrooms are atrocious, but I do not go there for its hygienic qualities. You are gonna see lots of long hair, piercings and tatooos at this establishment. However, I do not feel uncomfortable being in there in the slightest despite being a clean cut, no ink, white male. Given its small amenities, one of my only gripes is that it can get ridiculously crowded at events like the Barleywine Festival. Just the fact that they are having an annual Barleywine festival says enough about this place.

Quality: excellent to outstanding beer selection on tap and in bottles. Lots of things on tap that are extremely hard to find including on my most recent trip, the Abyss and a host of Lost Abbey/Port Brewing products. The happy hour prices are phenomenal when compared to the quality of the beers they are pouring. Most beers only go up 1.00 per pint at the close of happy hour. Excellent Belgian beer selection in bottles at reasonable prices.

Food: none in the bar. However, there is a pizza place and a sausage place right next door which are perfect for creating that necessary food base.

Service: as most have described. Anywhere from indifferent to downright rude and combative. Not sure where these bartenders receive their training as the owner appears to be a super nice guy. I will give you a example of the wonderful service that my friends and I were provided on a recent visit. I left a 1.00 tip on three beers and the bartender went so far as to come out from behind the bar, walk over to our full table, and in a rude, aggressive tell me "I think you left this on the bar." Believe me there was no misunderstanding and he wouldnt look my way the rest of the night when trying to order beers. Had to have my other buddy order them who incidentally tipped the same amount and received no guff. Sorry buddy but you are not curing cancer, you are pouring beer. Enough said on this topic.

Anyway, I will be back again soon. Too many good beers to try and too many Tnado festivals to attend. A recommended spot if you want to get your beer drink on. Just be sure to tip well and be prepared for some potential shrapnel.

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Photo of waltonc
3.71/5  rDev -13.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 5

I won't belabor the point, as there are plenty of Toronado reviews. The atmosphere is a dingy dive bar. Which is fine, in my opinion.

Service is not good. It seems that the service is intentionally not good and that Toronado makes no apologies for this. The bartenders generally have a surly attitude. That's their prerogative, however there have been occasions where friends of mine have ordered beers and been told by the bartender that they don't have the requested beer, then the bartender immediately turns to a new customer to take their order. When in fact they did have the particular beer. A specific example of this occurred on the Firestone 12 release night. A friend asked for one of the Firestone beers that was specially on tap for the occasion, and the bartender gave him a reaction like "no, you idiot, can't you see that it's not on the board and we don't have it? Next customer!" A few seconds later, we saw another bartender pouring the requested beer for someone else. As I said, it's their prerogative, but you don't come across very well when being surly and wrong.

That said, the selection is always good, and occasionally exceptional, such as that Firestone release event, where they had a keg of Firestone 10 and a firkin of Firestone 12. Another example was the Lost Abbey Cable Car release last August. The list goes on and on.

Prices on tap beer are usually very good. However, Toronado charges quite a bit for some of their rarer bottles. For example, last August they were selling the 2007 Cable Car for about $80.

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Photo of CheeseTurds
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Does Toronado really need any more reviews? Probably not, but here goes anyway.

I live in the neighborhood and this is where I drink most often. Why?

-great selection of beers that rotates frequently. Even when I'm there a lot, I can always find something new to try (and that's totally disregarding the bottle list!)
-tap beers are cheaper than most other bars and are therefore even cheaper if you get the pre-6 pm happy hour price
-lots of special events sponsored by local breweries means you get a lot of limited brews that you may not see anywhere else.

For anyone who's never been there, here's the quicklist of things to know:
-cash only, no tabs.
-the seating usually gets taken quickly and it's not the easiest bar to stand in. So, if you're visiting with more than 2 people, you might end up standing around uncomfortably
-yes, you can bring food in from outside
-no, they don't serve liquor. Also, the wine options are really slim.
-they're really strict about the "no kids" rule. It's 21 and up only here.
-and the most common topic on these reviews: service. Well, it's important to remember that this is as a BAR in the Lower Haight. Sure, the staff and patrons know a lot about their beer and you can ask questions, learn something, have great beer conversations, but that does not make this a beer education center. The majority of patrons are locals who are there to unwind and/or get their drink on. Therefore, the bartenders are there to sling drinks, especially when it's busy. Yes, they get testy if you're being a square peg with your requests, but what bartender wouldn't? I know this can be disappointing for those who would like a personal, well-attended experience, but that's not what this place is about. Also, it is the Lower Haight. You will be rubbing elbows with all kinds of interesting folks who are up to interesting shit, but it's definitely a safe bar. The only violence I've seen has stemmed from jock types who get pissed that they can't use a credit card or order a jack-and-coke. I think if have good bar manners and any kind of dive bar experience, you won't find anything odd about the service or atmosphere here. Just grab a drink, hopefully you can grab a seat, and take in your uniquely Toronado experience.

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Photo of errantnight
4/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

A the Toronado. What a mix and a mess... and certainly not what would spring to MY mind if you were talking about one of the world's great beer bars... until you enter. Some heavy metal blaring in a room with well maintained stools and tables, walls festooned with stickers and empty 3L Duvel bottles. It's a dive bar, basically. It's not super dive-y, but it's fine. Atmosphere gets bumped up a bit thanks to an awesome, eclectic crowd with a ton of friendly locals and regulars.

Lines seemed well maintained, selection was all superb. Draft beers were as inexpensive as can be, although the bottle selection was more limited and was routinely very pricey, there were some gems on there that serious beer hunters will want to check off their list.

Rosamunde's Sausage Grill next door gets an A++. Just phenomenal. Don't miss out.

Overall a fine place, busy, with a good crowd, great beer and a nice variety with the opportunity to really go wild with some awesome rarities if that's your deal.

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Photo of mattffrost
3.74/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

My wife tried this place and it had its goods and bads.

The happy hour was great. I got to try Pliny the Elder and Blind pig for 3 dollar pints, just great. It was very crowded when we were there. Did not get a place at the bar until the very end. A lot of standing. We met a regular at the bar whom was very nice. Two women with dogs were in the bar. Its a little annoying that people get up a lot to go get food and save there seats. There is a sausage place right next door where many go to get there food and bring it back.

The bartender was not really friendly but it was my first visit so maybe he would get better with more trips. I had to keep putting in quarters and the meter and I asked him for some change he did not do me this favor. I had to ask some else for change.

Overall don't go for anything but to try a lot of micro beers on tap. Very good place to do this. I liked it overall.

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Photo of WeeObese
3.31/5  rDev -23%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4

I have been waiting to go to this bar for about 3 years now. I finally had the chance yesterday. I was in the bay area to visit my girlfriends family and we had a short amount of time to go into the city and the one thing I wanted to do was go to Toronado. I got there at about 2 pm on Friday afternoon, busy but not crowded.

Atmosphere: The place is cool, a little dirty but hey the place is a 20 year old bar. Good selection of music, nice patrons and what I thought was friendly staff. Pretty standard beer bar, but with tons of memorabilia.

Quality: The beers were poured well, in the appropriate glassware, they were fresh, from clean lines and just well served. They know how to serve quality beer in the appropriate manner.

Selection: Good, they had a wide range of beers on tap, lots of locals (moonlight, half moon bay, RR, Drakes), a good amount of Belgians, but no sours!! I guess I am spoiled living in San Diego (Hamilton's, Toronado SD, and Obriens), but the selections just was just good, not spectacular.

Value: I was in at happy hour so everything was a dollar off, very nice. Belgians were pricey, but they usually are and locals/domestics were reasonable.

Service: Wow, what a let down. It started off well, the bartender was friendly at first answering my questions about what styles the beers were, he was also quick around the bar and made sure everyone had beers in a reasonable time (that's why they got q a 1.5). Then it changed. The bar started to get more crowded but not out of control remember that it was about 3:30 at this point. He came over after my second beer and says in an condescending tone "do you wanna ask me anymore questions?" Well excuse me!!! I 'm sorry I wasn't ordering a Pliny or a Hefe like 90% of the people in there and oh yeah, your board doesn't say what styles each beer is. So I figured asking what the style was wasn't asking too much. I was upset and said to the guy sorry I am not trying to f**k with you. He then tells me he and nobody else in hear thinks it funny. What?!!! At this point my happy experience dies and I am just pissed and upset. I saw that it was a little crowded so I figured the guy was just slammed, so I waited for the bar to clear out a little and then tried to clear the air, so I asked him if is usually this crowded on Friday afternoons, to which he responds in the same arrogant tone "I don't usually work on Fridays and the Toronado is always crowded mate". So its not the fact that the bar is crowded and you are slammed your just a total dick. Oh and I heard him trash a few other patrons as well, real class pal. I drank my last beer and walked out thoroughly disappointed in my experience.

I have met the owner of Toronado and he is a really friendly guy, the Toronado staff in San Diego is always super friendly and helpful. So I don't know what gives. But I also have seen other people trash the service, so I figure its not just me. If I wanted to be treated like shit at a bar I would go to a night club in Vegas or LA. I liked most of my trip to Toronado, but I would definitely warn people of the possibility of a rude bartender. I would also have to have extra time to go there again, and wouldn't make it the main focus of my trip.

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Photo of midaszero
3.15/5  rDev -26.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I stopped by on my cross country road trip some Austin TX to Seattle WA. A two hour detour that all my friends told me was worth it and that I had to go.

After spending 30 minutes trying to find parking I showed up on a Monday at 1 pm and the place was jam packed. I wouldn't want to show up on a Friday evening as it was hard enough to move around while I was there.

The space it self is cool but I didn't get a good vibe from the people there. No one seemed very friendly.

The tap list was pretty good but I wasn't overly impressed. On the up side they had a nice bottle list and I got to buy a Cuvee de Tomme and Older Viscosity to go with me.

If I ever end up back in San Francisco I'll probably try to swing by again but I won't be going out of my way to come back. I might have just hit it on a bad day.

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Photo of groovy24
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Once my wife and I stepped into the Toronado we didn't ever want to leave we were looking for For Sale signs around the neighborhood. The atmosphere was great "Dive Bar" with all of the stickers on the walls and the nice chalk board hanging from the ceiling with the exceptional selection. The quality of the beers when we visited seemed to be very good and I would assume that with the number of people that were in the bar that the place goes through kegs frequently. The service was a bit raw when asked about the area but once the bartender new we were from the Midwest (he's from Iowa) he was more than wiling to give some time to us. The slection was great with around 50+ taps and though they do not serve food I was told that you could bring your own in if you desired. The value of the place was great espeically being a traveler, the happy hour prices were great and was much more than an hour long.

Overall I would recommend this place to anyone thanks for the great experience Toronado!!

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Photo of pkpdogg
4.81/5  rDev +11.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place is one of my favorite spots in the Bay Area. Its appearance is that of a dive bar, but the selection of beer and the quality of service will surprise you. It's in the Lower Haight district, so be prepared to drive in circles for 30min trying to find parking. Once you make it there, however, you will not be disappointed.

The bartenders are amazing. Even when the place is packed with people, I somehow manage to get a drink within a reasonable amount of time. It's not like I'm receiving preferential treatment, they're just that good!

Their selection of beers is impressive with some 30+(?) on tap, and although there have been times when I haven't found anything new that I was dying to try, there's always something that I can fall back on.

One of my favorite things about Toronado is that it hosts the Barley Wine Festival, which is one of the few opportunities to taste a type of drink that you'll find nowhere else. From Old Thunderpussy to Hoptimus Prime, they'll have it all!

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