Toronado

BA SCORE
95
world-class

330 Reviews
ToronadoToronado
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar

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
Reviews:
330
Ratings:
482
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
11.86%
 
 
Taps:
43
Bottles/Cans:
0
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 482
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

The Torando is in a lousy location. If you only get asked a handfull of times about alcohol and drugs on the way there you are doing pretty good.

The inside is wooden and dark. The half door keeps the transient population at bay.

The day of my visit there were a couple of dogs running around sniffing crotches inside which detracted from the whole experience. The selection is very good as was the quality and service when I visited, but the place was not busy.

They do not serve food, but the sausage place around the corner is excellent and they let you bring it in. You can park on the curb at a meter, I parked a few blocks away and will not make that mistake again.

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Photo of WetCoaster
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

The Toronado gets mixed reviews, and it's easy to understand why. Depending on when you go, where you sit and who serves you, the place can run the gamut from sublime to unbearable. The only constant is beer: Unmatched in SF for variety and quality.

Located in the funky, gutter-punk infested Haight area of town, the Toronado sees its share of characters on both sides of the bar. This can be good or bad, and yes, sometimes the bartenders do run a tad on the surly side. Even at their worst, though, they are generally quite efficient and knowledgeable.

Staff and patrons aside, the atmosphere is generally tolerable, though far from cozy. The main room features a traditional wooden bar, with a few tables on the opposite wall. It has a decent jukebox and, as mentioned before, it contains a great variety of beer paraphernalia, including dozens of old taps on its flat gray walls. The barroom is somewhat open, which keeps the place fresh most of the time, but on cold, rainy nights it can be a bit drafty. The bar also has back room which, unless you’re a junkie, you should forget about: dark, dank, cold, packed with uncomfortable metal chairs and ripe with the fumes of the bar’s filthy, graffiti-covered restroom.

Ah, but it’s the beer you came for, and beer you shall have. Listed on a ceiling-mounted menu (possibly salvaged from a ‘60s McDonalds?) are the evening’s 40 tap selections, all top-notch. You’ll always find a few local craft brewers’ collections, some Belgians, some Germans, some seasonals and one or two hand-pulled real ales. There is usually at least one example of almost every genre (lager, ale, wheat, IPA, porter, stout, etc.) available on tap, with many, many more available in the bottle. And all are served in the correct glassware. It’s hard to beat.

If you find you simply can’t stand the atmosphere, or if your date is a real shrinking violet, you might want to check out the slick, upscale Thirsty Bear in SoMa. Otherwise, this is THE place for beer in SF.

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Photo of oggg
3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Walked in, lotsa regulars, long bar, lotsa tables, one tv. A TON of beer paraphenalia -- mostly old beer taps and some posters and such. The wall is lined with magnums of Duvel.

The bartender was this long haired guy who was really impatient. Not really very helpful. But the beer is served in true beer glasses: we ordered Aventinus in tall Aventinus glasses that were widened at the top. Other people were drinking belgian ales from special glasses too. I think I saw 3 beers on hand pump. and like 40 beers on tap. Aventinus, Schneider Weisse Hefeweizen... Several Belgian ales which I can't remember... Maudite, De Konnick, Unibroue, Chimay triple... just a lot of Belgian ales... other good beers -- Anderson Valley, Speakeasy, Moonlight, Full Sail, Deschutes, Hoegarden, Franziskaner, etc.

97% men. two dogs. Bartender kept picking crappy music -- country music or loud/annoying rock.

I gave the place a 3.0 for food because there's lots of cheap restaurants nearby, like Rosamunde and the shawerma place.

Summary: good for wheat beer and belgian ales, not the greatest for hanging out.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

I love this place, this is one of the bars that cut my teeth on Belgian beers. I love the atmosphere in this place, it is a bit dive like, as others have noted, but that is exactly how I like my bars. The beer selection and quality has never been lacking, and with the yearly Barleywine festival thrown into the mix it even gets better. Well known for it's selection of bottled Belgian beers.

My only real complaint here is that if you go at the wrong time you can get some real asses behind the bar. Other times the service is great though. I almost wonder if there is a surley relative of the owner who can't be gotten rid of.

While they do not have food they allow you to bring in food from the surrounding shops, I usually go for a sausage from the place on the left.

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Photo of insomnboy
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I visited the Toronado 3 times last month. Marvelous selection of beers, many things that I've never had a chance to try on tap before. Hop Rod, Racer 5, Black Butte Porter, Ruination, AVENTINUS!!! (so good on tap...), St. Bernadus 12....

As far as food goes, a few have mentioned the sausage place to the left, but Mystic Pizza to the right of the T is pretty righteous as well.

Toronado is a MUST visit when in San Francisco.

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Photo of jrancan
4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Toronado...where should I start? How about the fact that they don't serve any alcohol other than beer. No wine, liquor, and definitely no macros anywhere to be found. How about $3:50 for most pints which is a great deal in SF. They have at least 40 on tap with 3 on beer engines focused entirely on NW and Belgian beers. This is a good thing coming from the East. I got to try at least 9 or 10 beers that are not available anywhere near NJ. And that's the thing, these guys will give you multiple samples of anything before you buy it.
The place is a dive, which I love! Beer memorabilia everywhere, and punk in the jukebox...one of my all time favorite places. They don't serve any food, but there is a take out place next door that only sells sausage(vegetarian and meat), Rosamunde's. You can order up a nice sandwich and bring it back to the bar to eat while sipping your brew. My wife loved the food so much I convinced her to go back to Toronado so she could have another sandwich.

Bartenders are knowledgable.
Anyway, straight foward, hard drinkin, dive bar that is a must stop.

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Photo of WaywardSeaman
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

It's hard to knock this place, seeing as those in the know often have it on their shortlists as one of the best beer bars in the country. The Toronado does offer an impressive taplist, with most of the 50 or so offerings coming from West Coast breweries (which isn't a disappointment if you're in town for a visit, but not so exciting if you're a regular and have expansive tastes). One of my favorite things about the T is that North Coast's Red Seal Ale is often on handpump, and all beers are $1 off before 6pm.

As touched upon in other reviews, the Haight atmosphere isn't for everyone. Since I'm young, I tend to look past that and try to enjoy the place for the beer shrine that it is. But the music from the jukebox can get a bit loud, the patrons can seem a bit off-kilter, and the staff can be a bit indifferent at times. I've never had an opportunity to speak to Dave Keene (the proprietor), but he's often hanging around and obviously takes a lot of pride in his place.

There are a number of places to eat nearby, so you'll have no problem bringing food in from the adjacent Rosamunde Sausage Grill or any other local eatery to enjoy with your beer. The T is rather small, so it can get crowded, especially when special events like the annual Barleywine Festival are taking place.

All in all, I like this place a lot. I've been stopping in for the past 3 years or so, and I find that the positives far outweigh the negatives. As far as I'm concerned, this is a must-stop if you're ever in the Bay Area.

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Photo of bigbelcher
3.06/5  rDev -28.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5

The reputation of this bar is good, however I was very turned off by the place. The list of beers on the wall wasn't current. The tables were dirty and when I asked a bartender to clean it off they gave me a bar towel. When I took the dirty glasses and stuff and moved them to a spot near where the bouncer was standing he told me to take them to the back. I told him I am there to spend money and drink, not do their work for them. Very dissapointed.

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Photo of SamuraiJack
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Perhaps my favorite US beer bar.
If you're a beer fan - and especially if you're a Belgian beer fan - this is a must visit. The selection is excellent. I've been to places with larger lists -- but none with a better list. Not only does Toronado not serve Budweiser or Coors - they don't even serve Sierra Nevada or Anchor Steam. There were beers on the list I didn't like - but there were literally no Bad beers on there. Period.
Of particular note are the hand-pumps (three as far as I could tell), the correct glassware (even for the Lambics) and the incredibly knowledgable bartender.
The bar is in the lower Haight (grunge and dirt) and the bar itself is definately low on ammenities. Does it matter? Not in the least.
They don't serve food but there is a good sausage place right next door and the best BBQ in the Bay Area is right across the street at Memphis Minnies.
Prices ain't cheap - but they're fair.
Thank god I live 5.5 hours away is all I have to say. I'd look like Mario Battali otherwise.

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

This is a terrific bar. I was really excited to go once I looked at their web site -- 46 beers on tap, 3 of them cask-conditioned, and all of them exceptionally well-chosen. There's also a substantial list of bottled beer, including a few collectable (and expensive) selections. I envy the SF residents who get to attend the many beer-related events at the bar. Just this month I see a tasting with Allagash and a wonderful looking Belgian beer dinner. The atmosphere was surprising -- about half the crowd has lots of body piercings and tattoos, and the other half are very obviously beer geeks. Not much in between. The barkeep was friendly and knew alot about the beer. Great happy hour prices in the afternoon. There's really not much to complain about here! An absolute must-visit should you find yourself in the city by the bay.

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
4.3 out of 5 based on 482 ratings.
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