Toronado

BA SCORE
95
world-class

487 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:
487
Reviews:
332
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
11.63%
 
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 487 |  Reviews: 332
Photo of abfraser
4.3/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

THE beer bar of SF. I can't count how many times I've been here but if you're visiting or new to SF this should absolutely be your first stop.

The place is a little hectic. Gruff bartenders who will blow you off if you order like an idiot and the music is super loud in the evenings so bring your talking voice.

But the selection is usually great--a lot of Belgians, California brews and then whatever good stuff is available (lots and lots). They have a decent bottle list of Belgians but you'll want to stick to the taps, for the most part.

Don't forget to order a sausage at Rosemunde next door (wild boar, please!) and bring it over. There's also a good BBQ place across the street, Memphis Minnie's, if further hunger strikes.

This is one of the few bars to host legit beer-snob worthy events. When Dogfish came to SF, they came here. Same with Avery. Just last month they had a Lost Abbey night with them all--Angel's Share, Older Viscosity, etc... So, pay attention to the (basic) calendar on their website. Oh, and don't forget the Barleywine Festival in Feb. Nothing quite like it.

I'm giving "artificially" high ratings for service and atmosphere, as this place definitely deserves a high rating. If only it were a little more subdued and friendly...but then I guess it wouldn't be Toronado.

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

Visited on a busy saturday evening, the place was packed pretty tight and we had to hang around a bit, but luckily found a table in decent time. I love this place, its a total dive, but with an insane beer selection. If I had more time there I would have gone through everything on the tap and bottle lists. The tap list is prominently displayed above the bar as you walk in, and the bar itself is pretty long with all the taps behind it. Pretty well set up I thought, lots of neat memorabilia on the wall. I started off with a pint of the Moonlight Twist of Fate ESB on cask, and it was fantastic. Had a few other pints over the course of the evening while playing euchre. In true dive fashion, the bathrooms here are legendarily horrible. Hazmat suit may be required to take a piss. But thats a small complaint for such a great place.

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Photo of GJ40
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Toronado is a truly dedicated beer bar.

Atmosphere - It's fairly small but every square inch exudes commitment to beer. The decor is simple but engrossing with lots of beer related signs, bottles, tap heads and stickers. I stopped in around 10:30 PM on a Thursday night and it was pretty busy. The crowd was young and hip (way too hip for me) but they seemed very easy going.

Quality - Every beer I saw listed was of high quality. They don't seem to waste any taps. I had to go with a Russian River Pliney the Elder because it's not available on the east coast. It was fantastic. I considered adding an Anchor Liberty Ale but I had a long drive back to the hotel so I passed.

Service - It's a busy, loud place so there's not much chit chat with the help but the bartender was very quick and efficient. I was pleased.

Selection - The beer selection is fantastic. They must have had 50+ on tap and all were good. It included a good selection of Belgians and west coast beers along with some worthy east coasters such as Dogfish Head. They have a helpful beer list up on the wall. I liked that it was sorted by brewery although it didn't seem to list everything they actually had.

Value - My Pliney was $4.50/pint. I noticed that Anchor Liberty Ale was $4.00/pint. Those are pretty good prices anywhere; especially SF.

I really enjoyed Toronado and look forward to another visit when I can spend more time and really soak the place in (preferably without having to drive).

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Photo of beerjournl
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Let me start by saying that we were really expecting something a bit different. What we found was a small dive bar with a selection of excellent beers on tap. No dogs in that house, and the prices were reasonable. The place is not very big, and as others have said, they have lots of interesting stuff on the walls to keep your eyes busy and spark conversation. If you like a cramped grungy place with lots of interesting locals, this is your place. My wife really didn't like it, and she is pretty adventurous when it comes to our beer travels. Her opinion is that it is over-hyped, and that there were more enjoyable places in the city. I really liked the dive bar ambiance and the feeling of the place. I'd go back with some other beer advocates if I was in the neighborhood. As for the bartender, she fit the place, and was very good. Definitely a place to stop at if you are in the area, but not a highlight of the city.

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

I went to San Francisco for a day trip with my girflriend and her family and this was hands down the highlight of my experience, the atmosphere does not get any cooler, they have a sweet old jukebox, old run down and just flat out awesome, everything is clean and it is in a cool part of town on lower Haight, service was great and even though the employees come off a little rough, they are really cool once you start talking to them, slection of taps was unbelievable, not even mentioning the five and half hour happy hour starting at 11:30 am, I got spoiled by being there on Lost Abbey night, so I got to drink Cable Car for four dollars a glass from the tap, pretty ridiculous and I lost track of how many I even had, I did drink two other beers and they were New Beglium's sour they brewed specifically for them and Moonlight Twist of Fate on cask, both were amazing, wish they still had food but you cannot have it all, bottle list was great too with Russian River 20th Anniversary for sale along with Beatification, Supplication, and Temptation, also some Bottleworks stuff on there as well as some very hard to find Cantillons, the place was so inexpensive and with exception of two taps, everything was four dollars or less, other draft beers that stood out when I was there were Bear Republic Black Mamba, Speakeasy Hunters Porter, Firestone Little Opal Saison, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Lost Abbey Witch's Wit, and Port Brewing's 2nd Anniversary Double IPA, this place is beer paradise and is a must stop, I know I will be going back every single chance I get

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Photo of thielges
4.66/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Disclaimer - I'm local and this is my fave place.

I've read the reviews of this place and I can understand the concerns about the service. Toronado runs a tight ship with often just one tender behind the bar so service can get tricky when crowded. If you think of being in a busy German pub then you'll have an idea of what to expect : the barkeep is attentive and hard working, but you better know what you want when they ask : there's no fooling around when the place is jumping.

Toronado has the best selection of west coast micros around. But the killer thing about this place is that *all* of their taps pour fresh beer in good shape. Usually any place with 10 or more taps will have a few dud kegs with beer way past its prime. Those places will pour the bad kegs until they are dry. Not Toronado, it is clear that the folks that run this place know good beer. You can find an amazing selection of foreign beers on tap too, but know that Toronado excels on the local stuff.

To those put off by the trendoid patrons, this is a San Francisco phenomenon and not limited to just Toronado. Those hipsters and punks are like anyone else, just ignore them or make conversation, your choice. You might meet some really nice people.

As for the food, the sausage place next door is good but know that Toronado doesn't mind if you bring in food from anywhere, even some stinky Indian food from around the corner. That's pretty cool, no "naan-age" fee.

To avoid crowd, you have to know about happy hour which ends at 6pm. The place gets crowded starting at 4:30 and then empties out at about 6:30 as the last of the cheap beers are emptied. Then it gets crowded again later in the evening.

I'd score the place better on vibe if there were an outdoor patio. Actually I'd probably never leave if there were a patio.

To out of towners, yes Toronado is a little out of the way and even a 15-20 minute from the nearest tourist spot : the upper Haight (Toronado is in the _lower_ Haight). But there are several busses that run up and down Haight. Busses 6,7, and 71 go right past Toronado : get off at Filmore. Bus 22 runs on Filmore. Check out sfmuni.com for more info.

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Photo of dbONE
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I have to say my expectation for this place were pretty high from what I have been hearing.
I was reminded of the local dive bar when I first approached the door but then it turned into a puck rock micro brewery. The decor brought me back to some place my parents took me to growing up. the tap selection was a wonderful sight for hungover eyes. A glass of DFH Midus Touch got me in the mood quickly. The patrons were mostly enjoying lunch and having a great time with the bartender. No waiting here he was on top of everyone. If you happen to have to use the restroom, bring a Sharpie and leave your mark in another way on the scenic walls. A most to check out at least one time. Can't wait to get to the San Diego location to see how it compares.

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Photo of THEBEERBAR0N
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

OK, so this is a place you have to take with a grain of salt and an open mind. I've been here a lot, seen people get kicked out for near nothing, and seen some really poor service and treatment of patrons going down. That being said, my personal experience has been quite different.

The place is like a punk/dive bar with every wall covered with beer trinkets and eye candy, the bathrooms can be risky. I went there knowing these facts and found it very cool-tons of history on the walls. And an added bonus- next door to an outstanding sausage place along with some other decent joints.

My experience with service has been good- then again I have tried to be respectful at all times, understanding, and willing to conversate. I've seen people act slightly disrespectful, get kicked out, and then make a big deal about it. Its a popular place and they don't really need the business, so I understand to just be chill and it comes back around here.

Selection is the best in the Bay Area. List has some excellent constants like Pliny the Elder or Moortgat 8, along with an extensive bottle selection for consumption there or take-home.

Prices are pretty good- happy hour is most of the day, every day, and brings most pints to about $3-$3.50.

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Photo of ibbjamin
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5

Went here for the first time this past Saturday which was a hoot of a good time. Went to get sausages first which were excellent and they let you take them into the bar to eat. A great partnership between the dank beer bar and the dank sausage shop directly next door.

Was throughly amazed by their selection of beers upon entering. Looked over the menu for a while and noted the following brewery selections; Dogfish Head, Russian River, Drakes, Sprecher, Bear Republic, Petrus, Chimay, Moonlight, Anchor, Anderson Valley, Speakeasy and more. I also noticed someone cracking what looked to be like a Belgium Longneck bottle of something heady. After a few pints, I saw that they also had a beer menu besides the one hanging on the wall. They do have a website which has "current selections" on it, but I noticed that the list has not been updated in eight years.

I may have missed out on some rarities, but I was not disappointed with the selections we chose. Between the four of us, we each had 2 pints and shared sips of each others. Pliny The Elder, Midas Touch, Damnation, Death and Taxes were noted as being really fresh and tasty.

The glassware selection was superb. The bar is not too large and from what I've heard really starts to fill up at night. Luckily we were there early afternoon, but I did notice it starting to fill up rather quickly. The lighting is somewhat dark and the decor was a history book of heady beers. They keep all their previous taps and I must say there are a lot of them. These were in addition to the 30-45 taps they currently were serving. My only complaint was the bartender could have been more polite and attentive. She didn't acknowledge me at the bar when I went up twice and served a couple others before me that came up after me. From what I've read, this is part of the M.O. of the staff. Not sure if I can get on board with that, but it's something you put up with I guess if you want some excellent choices. It would not have hurt them to have a 2nd bartender working either.

If you visit San Francisco, this is a must stop when vising Haight Street. Check this place out in Lower Haight, grab a pint and a sausage and then head up to Haight Ashbury to check out Amoeba Records.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.6/5  rDev +7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Perfect place for a pint in San Francisco, especially during the day at happy hour prices.

Atmosphere is casual, with plenty of quality beer memorabilia on the walls. Nice open access to the street for that perfect Northern California breeze to sweep inside.

Selection and prices are hard to beat, ranging from the hard to get West Coast beers to outstanding Belgians. On my visits the beers were served in proper glassware, unlike some other top rated BeerFly places that used the standard 16 oz. pintglass.

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

Final stop on my Bay Area beer tour.

Stopped by here about 2 or so on Sunday. Pretty easy to find once you manage to get to Haight Street, which isn't really that close to the "touristy" part of town. Inside revealed a dark place with a big bar and some tables. There was a nice little crowd, but we were able to get a seat at the bar, which was nice. Some typical dive bar things....a variety of tunes playing on an old jukebox, bar is sorta old and dungy. However, what really impressed was the number of tap handles hanging from the walls and ceiling. I mean, there were tons. This place has clearly served it all during their 20+ years.

Only one guy was tending the bar, which meant he was staying pretty busy, but he was nice, helpful, and amusing. Seemed genuinely sorry when the 90 Minute IPA I ordered was gone, and answered all my questions well.

The selection here is pretty damn amazing. I'd say somewhere in the realm of 35-40 tabs, which included four beers on handpump. Most of the stuff was from bay area places, including hard-to-find stuff from Drake's and Moonlight, but also Russian River, Anchor, Speakeasy, Anderson Valley, etc. Plenty of stuff that you won't find in bottles and will probably not see many other places. Also a decent selection of Belgian and German stuff. They had Dogfish Head, but I don't really remember seeing any other non-California micros. I had a Moonlight Twist of Fate on pump and then a Speakeasy Big Daddy. Prices were amazing. It was 3 bucks for the Moonlight and 4.50 for the Speakeasy. Nothing was over 6 bucks that I saw. Also a huge bottle selection, but I don't even know how you'd get to that, unless you were looking for something particular.

No food, but it looked like they would let you bring in stuff, or even order from the sausage place next door and they would bring it too you. Didn't do that personally, but I guess it's an option of you're there and hungry.

Not all places live up to the hype, but this one did.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere: We got there around 2:00 in the afternoon. This is just about the only place I could tolerate blaring music in a small room. It just goes with the whole feel of the place. People just casually sitting around talking, having beers, dogs walking through the place, etc. Really unique.

Quality: They know how to serve their beers. Belgians get Belgian tulips and the rest get pint glasses.

Service: The bartender was right there when I needed and he filled out order very fast. I also gave him way too much money for our first round cause I didn't know it was happy hour and he promptly told me about that.

Selection: Really really good. Lots of NorCal stuff... some interesting belgians. Personally I would have liked to see even more NorCal stuff on tap that we may never see down south.

Food: I guess the sausage place next door is practically the Toronado's. The sausages are awesome. I had the beer sausage with chili and mild chili's.

I'm sure my rating could change if I was there on a crowded night, but I wasn't, so this review is based on my experience on a weekday afternoon during happy hour.

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Photo of xagent
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 1 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I went in here with a lot higher expectations. I assumed an awesome beer bar with a ridiculous selection on tap, a *bit* more spacious, place to smoke outside, etc...

But I guess I'm not being fair.

+ All the beers they had on tap, awesome. Had a few I'd been dying to try and couldn't find elsewhere.

+ Bartenders - just as awesome. One of them recommended a good alternative when I named a belgian they had on tap that I'd already drank hundreds of times before. Another bartender gave me a drink for free, because she saw I'd been waiting for a while at the bar (and believe me, I was shocked, I';ve waited longer plenty of times!).

- My biggest complaint is the space. Too small, and for a good bar like this it gets WAY to crowded. This would be a small, shitty dive bar I'd avoid, were it not for the beers they serve.

- Also the fact that you couldn't drink outside to enjoy some fresh air, or a smoke.

- Cash only???!!! I came here with only a few bucks, and was expecting to just open up a tab for the entire night. So be warned.

I'm just comparing it to a bar in Denver I'd been to a few weeks ago, that was 10x bigger, had a bigger selection, outdoor beer garden, and a printed menu organized by styles ( http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/989 ) and the bar I'd been going to for the past 4 years while in Illinois ( http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/10517 ) that offered a weekly printed menu describing EACH beer, including the ones on bottles, and it's ABV %, outdoor patio, more seating, and definitely *slightly* more classy - modeled after an old english pub.

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Very cool SFO stop, great selection, counter-culture vibe with loud music. There's a great, super-casual sausage place next door where you can then take your food inside the Toronado. While the one guy cooked my order he was swigging a bottle of the Big Daddy IPA -- welcome to San Francisco, huh?

Expected offerings from Sierra Nevada and Moonlight, along with a bunch of others (40+).

For a huge national name, this place has a very neighborhood feel which is interesting. There's a swinging gate type thing at the entrace, people were bringing their dogs ... interesting but excellent.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Went with my buddy Pipmeister who reviewed below. It was everything I expected due to the reviews I read. Service was good but nothing special. Probably more special than usual since the bartender (the guy with the army pants everyone talks about) was actually talking to us and giving suggestions. Pretty crowded for 1pm. Almost all the seats were taken. Sausages next door are a must and I guess have wine alot of awards and are raved about. I was there during Belgian beer month and they had alot of great and rare Belgians on tap. Would go back for sure but if its that crowded during that time of day it has to be nuts at night. No wonder the bartenders don't talk much and are precieved as jerks. I'm surprised we got any attention since he was pretty much the only bartender serving customers. It was great just to be at the legendary place...

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

Stopped by on a recent trip to San Jose.

A: The two times i went there, it was an afternoon so it was great - I could have a conversation and not scream, getting beers was not a problem. The Toronado has a decidedly anti-mainstream feel and has a great atmosphere in that respect

Q: Great. It's not the most comfortable of bars but it's great for what it is - a beer bar with a dive bar feel

S: No problems in this department. Got my beers within minutes, which is always great.

S: Great selection. I went here looking for Russian River and Moonlight and they had a ton of each. Lots of good stuff on tap and at happy hour, this place is ridiculous - 3$ pints of Blind Pig?

F: Though they don't have food per se, Rosalinda's next door has the most exhaustive sausage menu ever.Delicious stuff, this.

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Photo of
4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped in on a Thursday night. Standing room only when I arrived around 9pm. Tables down the left side, bar down the right. Lots of interesting stuff on the walls to look at, lots of character, in general. Big board on center wall showing you all of your draft options! Dress is casual....I was coming from a business function and was just a bit too formal.

Quality was fine. Between the four of us, we probably had 8-10 different beers, and all of them were just fine.

Service was pretty good, but it was a little hard to get a beer when we first arrived. As the crowd thinned out, this became much less of an issue.

Selection was great. 30+ offerings on tap, including a couple of cask options. Bottle list probably added another 60 or 70 options for you. We tried some Moonlight, Russian River, DuPont, and a couple of others.

No food option at bar, but the next door sausage shop was quite busy, and there was another place serving Mexican food a few doors down. The Toronado doesn't seem to care if you bring food in.

Value was reasonable. I think pints were about $4, and the couple of bottles we bought were around $6.

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Photo of Pipmeister
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2

I recently visited this historic beer bar this past weekend and to be honest, I was very impressed with the beer selection but the atmosphere and the service, in my humble opinion, were lacking. I completely agree that the service is not a main of the point and I completely understand the need to be quick about it to get to all of the customers. However, having a personable bartender who is engaging can make a very large difference between a great experience and a bad one. Thus, I don't want the the service to be a sticking point but it did play a role in my evaluation.

The beer selection was amazing, especially considering that me and a buddy hit this place up during their belgian beer month and I love belgian's. After looking over the beers that were on tap I was extremely impressed, I started off with a simple Abt 12 and followed with a N'Ice Chouffe which was absolutely phenominal. I then had a 5 year old lambic, that honestly tasted like diluted floor cleaner, but I can appreciate the beer and finished the glass to make sure I had the full the experience.

Overall, I can understand why this establishment is so highly regarded as it does provide an excellent selection and strives on providing beers that are rare to find on tap of the highest quality. But I find myself in no rush to return to the Toronado. Don't get me wrong, I know I will go back eventually, but I am definitely not planning it out anytime soon.

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Photo of ubermick
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

The Toronado, like any bar in a big city, is hit or miss depending on the night you venture in - the owners and employees can't really be responsible for the type of folks who are in there on any given evening. Alas, every evening I've been in, I've found the Toronado full of younger types who are there because it's developed a reputation of being a really great spot for a beer, and large groups who seemed to want to outdo each other in terms of the amount of noise they can produce.

Clientele aside, they have a phenomenal beer selection. Excellent range of class beers you'd expect to find, as well as brews on tap from ultra-micro sources like Russian River. ('Twas here I first discovered Pliny!) and beers are served up, as someone already mentioned, in their correct glassware.

As I mentioned, the evenings I've been in there, the place has been extremely busy, and it took some time to get served. They definitely had an air of snobbishness about them, and if you haven't made up your mind by the time they call on you, be prepared for a tongue lashing. Thankfully I had the foresight to look over their beer menu (note - it's not over the bar, but sort of at a 90 degree angle to it as you walk in the door, so it is easy to miss) but witnessed many a poor soul on the business end of it, when all they want to do was enjoy their night out.

Don't buy into the hype too much. Be prepared to deal with the bohemian wannabes (including some of the staff) and bear in mind it's a bit of a dump, but outside of that... a great place to check out for some tremendous beers.

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Photo of m1ked
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Expectations
1) Crazy mad selection from beer mecca
2) Total prick bartenders/ shitty service

Reality
1) Good ass selection, but not unsimilar to my hometown spot. I did enjoy the thick feel of history. I do realize that this dive bar is actually a cultural landmark. I am glad I for the one night's experience at the famed Toronado Bar. But....I prefer my kick ass beer spot. Hamilton's in South Park San Diego. Check it.

2) If you are not ready or aren't paying attention, the bartender is on to the next guy. I mean you got like a 2 second window. And I LOVE that. When I went to order a beer, never waited longer than 3 minutes. They are not pricks, they are just very busy and concentrated on getting good beer out to the quickly packed bar.

If you are in SF and enjoy beer nirvana, a must.

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Photo of belhav0322
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

First visit on my Northern Cal beer tour.

Ok, so my first visit here was during their barley wine festival, so I guess that can be considered a wash. Yeah, it was packed, but I still got my beer in a timely fashion and the bartender did not take my head off or anything. I am not sure what is up with everyone complaining about the service here. As I found out on a couple of subsequent visits, the bar tenders can indeed be curt on occasion, but even during a packed house they get you your beer fairly quick and even answered questions regarding beers I was unfamiliar with. Nothing to complain about there.

It is pretty a good idea to get here early if you want to snag a table or a bar stool. This place gets filled up fast. Great divey atmosphere, with plenty of beer related eye candy on the walls. Sure, they don't serve food, but there is a little take out sausage shop next door and Toronado lets you bring outside food in. Beer and sausage. What more do you want?

Quality on all of the beers I tried was phenomenal and served in the proper glassware. I was not blown away by the quantity of the selection, though they did have a nice selection of left-coast beers not available on the east coast, including my first Pliny. The bottle selection was heavy on Belgians, including a few aged goodies.

All in all this is a wonderful beer bar and a must visit if visiting SF. Not sure what all the complaints regarding poor service are all about. If you are looking for a hug and a handshake from the bartender, go elsewhere. If you are looking for attentive service even during a busy Friday night from a knowledgeable bartender, than you will be fine at Toronado.

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Photo of BrewnZ
2.86/5  rDev -33.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4.5

14 Feb 08

"Pull your head out of your ass. This is the best beer bar in the world!"

At that point I couldn't take any more, started to laugh and replied, "Well you haven't been very far have you sister?" . . . I was then kicked out by the bitchie bartender who turned out to be the owner's wife.

What provoked such a comment? My compliment made to the newby from Philadelphia who sat next to me and asked what to order, "You in luck, this is one of the best beer bars in the country."
I guess some people really can't take a compliment eh?

Wanted to visit again, and before the madhouse that passes as a barleywine festival.

So yea, the service was awful, the selection, better than good and the atmosphere just average . . .and I like dive bars and am glad I don't have to sit down to pee. So what makes the best beer bar in the world?

For me its Selection, atmosphere, food, and service - in that order. I am no stickler for service. The Kulmanator in Antwerp gets my vote. Brower's in Seattle, O'Brien's in San Diego also good places. Not so much the pretentious Toronado, even though I went back to this place with found memories and a thirst for good beer.

The patrons were great, loads of regional beers and a few imports, but the service started out slow and surly and did not improve despite the dollars I was laying on the bar after each round.
To bad a different bartender was not on shift, could have changed my whole experience. I am in no rush to give my money to the Toronado, San Fransisco now has too many other options.

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Photo of bbothen
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Been coming to the Toronado frequently for many years. Since mid 90s.

Obviously the selection is phenominal. World class I'd say. Every time I'm here there is always something you won't see elsewhere.

Fantastic events. Belgian beer month, Wet hop fest, the almighty barleywine festival, special brewery nights, etc. This is the prototype beer bar.

My wife has an issue with the bathrooms. They have the Tijuana dive bar feel to them. Not a problem for me, but women should be aware.

I've never had an issue with the service as others do. Although some employees obviously have a bit of attitude.

Oh yeah, the jukebox kicks ass. Queens Of The Stone Age, Mudhoney, Supersuckers, Ween, etc. Indeed.

Lucky to live so close to a place like this. If you are on this site, you owe it to yourself to make it here if ever in SF Bay Area.

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

About 50 taps: 4 are cask beers. Great selection representing California (and other US) craft beers, with some very nice Belgian and European selections as well. Not the biggest selection I've seen, but certainly one of the best. No BS place serving great beers in an unpretentious atmosphere. Hundreds of tap handles, beer glasses, stickers, etc. decorate the walls. Dozens of empty 3L Duvel bottles lined up along back wall. Seems like CBGBs would have been like this had it been a beer bar. Service is not warm, but is generally very good.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.66/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped by a few times while in San Francisco for a week. By some brilliant stroke of luck both Pliny the Younger and The Abyss were on tap while i was there. Yikes!

Basically a small dive bar, well lit, interesting mix of people, cruddy unisex bathrooms. Everyone seemed friendly, nice place to drink a beer. Like last review said, appropriate glassware is used. Unlike other reviews, I did not find service to be terrible, but it wasn't overly friendly. There was some confusion at first with the wrong price being listed on the board for The Abyss but he warmed me before pouring so not really an issue.

Selection. Well, it's amazing. 60 odd taps and like I said before great selection of Deschutes and Russian River beers (which I spent my time on), also 4 or 5 on handpump. Didn't look over bottle list.

Great place, atmosphere and selection. I don't really have anything new to say about the place. If you're in SF and have the time this is a must visit.

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Toronado in San Francisco, CA
4.3 out of 5 based on 487 ratings.
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