Beer heaven. 46 taps. Incredible selection that emphasizes West Coast seasonals from top-of-the-mark breweries, but also has a few German and Belgian and other. Huge, outstanding bottle menu with more than 75 Belgians.
Loud rock, seedy biker bar style atmosphere with surly service if you mouth off, are impatient, or disrespect the Holy Temple of the Toronado. I never get bad service, but some people do, and they probably deserved it. I, like many, many others, get treated with nothing but respect, friendliness and generosity. If you don't like it, please visit their competitors, no one is making you stay...oh, except the beer, the beautiful beer!
Also, excellent food of all types within a block. Sausage place next door is a favorite, but vegan fake meat deli on other side usually gets my business
This is THE beer geek's bar! Echoing another reviewer, the only disappointment was not being able to try everything I wanted in one night - cause they have so many good brews. Definitely a focus on California beer, but they had a few imports on tap too. The place was actually bigger than I expected and I heard there's a small patio out back (but we didn't look for it). It was hopping for a Thursday afternoon, but we got waited on right away and found a clean table. I asked for a recommendation (the hoppiest on tap) from the bartender and was very pleased with his choice: Pliny the Elder (Russian River Brewing). My friend had one of the cask ales (I think they had four this week) and said it tasted very fresh.
Its SF, so no parking, but we easily found a spot a couple blocks away. I'm sure you could get there using one of the many public transportation options as well. No food served in the bar, but there are delicious grilled sausages next door ($5-6 each) and many other restaurants on the same block (indian, mexican, pizza...).
SF is full of upscale bars and breweries, so it was refreshing to find such a chill place to get a good beer. If I ever live in SF, it will be in walking distance of Toronado!
Beer geek bar in San Francisco. Great local brews on tap, great selection of Belgians and even some sours. This was the only place i was able to get Pliny the Younger (limited release from Russian River Brewery).
Staff is very helpful, they know their stuff. Service can be a little slow when busy, but if you treat them with respect the staff is always a pleasure.
Loud and down to earth atmosphere, more in the rock and punk vibe. I always meet fellow beer geeks here.
You can bring food in from the neighboring restaurants which is GREAT cause there is a sausage place, a middle eastern falafel joint and a deli all on the same block.
Every time I am in San Francisco, I try to work a Toronado visit into the mix. If you are driving, start praying to the parking goddess cause its difficult to find parking in Lower Haight.
I have been there once, and I definitely want to keep going back. They have tons of beers on tap, sports playing on multiple screens, and a lot of friendly people. There was only had 1 bar tender when I went, so he was kept incredibly busy - if you didn't know what you wanted he would move on to the next person who did.
If I remember correctly, they do not serve food, but they do not mind if you bring food from other places in.
The Toronado is definitely a must for any beer lover in San Francisco.
World renowned and locally loved, Toronado is a real beer drinker's paradise. This service can be slow and surly, but do you really want to rush through the experience of being in San Francisco's (and perhaps the West Coast's) best beer bar? And hey, if you are just a beer tourist then a little rough edges with your service will help polish you for future forays into real beer bars.
I have had slow service but have never experienced bad service. When I get the bartenders ear he will give me my five seconds of advice and descriptions and then move on to someone who knows what they want if I am not ready.
If it's rainy or foggy or even sunny, there is no better place to spend four hours drinking beers. Awesome selection of eclectic beers that is a must go to in SF if you are seeking great beers. Oh, and the beers are VERY reasonably priced - especially during happy hours.
When I first went in, I was surprised at how small the place was. There are only a few tables and a decent sized bar. It's definitely a "dive bar" type atmosphere, but with a punk edge. Stickers are stuck everywhere around the bar and NOFX (among other things) was blasting from the sound system. I actually liked the atmosphere, but it's probably not "family friendly."
The service was less than stellar. It took between 10-30 minutes to catch the bartender's attention each time I had to get another beer. When I finally got their attention, however, they were actually quite nice and helpful - even taking the time to answer a couple of questions despite how busy things were. I went here on two separate weeknights and both times it was very crowded, but each time there was only 1 bartender. They really ought to have 2 or 3, IMO.
Now, about the BEER! The selection on the nights I was there was definitely heavy on the West Coast beers (which I appreciated) but they did have a nice Belgian selection as well. This was the only place I went to in SF that had Russian River beers on tap (Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder). They also had 3 handpumps that were serving up 3 west coast beers in very good condition. The most frustrating part about going here was seeing so many beers I wanted to try and not being able to do so. It would take me a week to get through everything I wanted to try and by that time they'd probably rotate on a bunch of new stuff that I'd have to try too! It's a good thing that there are several MUNI buses and the N & J line that runs close by.
There is no food served here, but you can bring in outside food. There's a sausage place and a pizza place next door (among other things on the same block).
If I lived in SF, I'd have to come here at least once a week. If I could only visit one place in town, this would be the place! This is a definite do-not-miss.
Lots of taps but the beer list was very out of date. The service was horrendous and downright rude. Sat down at a dirty table and was forced to clean it ourselves and it wasn't even that busy. Won't go back and wouldn't recomend a visit. The place is very small and located in the Haight Ashbury district. Easy to get to if you do decide to go.