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The Old Toad
Taps: 32 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
277 Alexander St
phone: (585) 232-2626
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 54 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Tut:
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 2 | $$$
It's been two years since I reviewed The Old Toad, and I'm still amazed at the number of people who think it's really like an authentic British pub. Having just returned from five weeks in Scotland and England(my 9th trip there over the last 15 years), I can assure you that it's as authentic as a Disneyworld version of a British pub. It's no more real than the many fake Irish pubs all over the US.
I'm also curious what standards are being used by those who claim the Toad is the best bar in Rochester. Have they ever been to the Tap & Mallet?? The selection of beer is larger and much more interesting and varied there and the food beats the Toad's hands down. Come on people - in what way is the Toad better?
I've been going to the Old Toad periodically since the early 90's. Back then it was one of a very few places to get good beer in Rochester. I've not been back since the Tap & Mallet opened because I consider the Tap to be a much better bar. It has a more interesting draught and bottle selection.
The Toad does have 2-3 cask ales and makes an effort to keep them interesting but other than that I'm not very impressed with their beer variety.There's always something I can enjoy, but it's not a particularly great selection.
Having British staff is fine but this place is a far cry from an "authentic British pub" as they bill themselves and those on this site who rave about the Toad's authenticity have obviously never experienced the real thing in the UK. Yeah, they have many of the stereotypical pub trappings and the bar itself was brought over but it totally lacks the feel and atmosphere of the real thing. It's like the kind of "English Pub" you'd expect to find at Disney World. The food is mediocre and nowhere near the quality or variety available in a good English pub.
The bottom line is I can't think of a single reason to go there instead of the Tap & Mallet, especially since they're fairly close to each other.
12-08-2008 18:13:39 |
More by Tut
More User Reviews:
12-04-2013 02:31:31 |
More by meepmeep
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25 | $$$
One of my favorite places to go in Rochester as I live about a 5 minute walk away.
The selection is always pretty solid. About 10-15 taps or so- 3 different tap stations- one with 3 on the right of the bar, 5 on the back wall of the bar, and 6 or so on the left side of the bar. There are 4 cask lines, but not all of them are always used at one time.
They try to have a few European beers on tap most of the time- Guinness and Fuller's London Pride are practically house beers for the Toad, and are always on. Their house DIPA, OT 20, is always on, and is really freakin' delicious. Always a good choice if none of the taps wow you. Good job by CB's on that one. There's sometimes a second house tap made by CB's, right now it's a brown ale brewed with squash, but I've seen a coffee porter, an "apri-bock", and a few others. Usually one or two Belgians, 3-4 NYS state beers, and then a few other specialty beers from across the country.
The service is hit or miss. They're not always good at handling bigger crowds, so if you're sitting down and want a beer on a Friday or Saturday night, you're gonna have to push through people to get a beer quickly. During the week the service is fine.
The food is good, but pricey, lots of great English favorites. The drunken cheddar soup is to die for, one of my favorites.
The beer is a bit expensive, and they don't generally have any specials that I can find. Beers on cask are never under $6, and usually are in the $7-$-8 range.
The atmosphere is very quaint. I can always get behind a bar that allows you to talk to your friends without shouting over loud music/TVs.
11-25-2013 22:01:24 |
More by GreesyFizeek
11-11-2013 21:45:22 |
More by dmbhaggis
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
All furnishings and decor imported from England. All staff are from England as part of a University program. Very authentic, like walking into a pub in London.
Food is very good, lots of traditional English fare. The Scotch Eggs are excellent. Several vegetarian options, however they tend to run out of some things on the menu fairly often.
Huge beer selection, specializing in cask ales. Many vintage and hard to find selections.
Large selection of Scotch, about 80 different varieties.
Located in an entertainment district, which can be rowdy at times. Upon leaving one time, my friend and I were approached by someone who attempted to rob us. Unfortunately for him, the bar isn't actually located in England, where the populace is unarmed. He went to jail after his failed attempt.
11-11-2013 10:10:45 |
More by Mediczod
10-09-2013 01:23:39 |
More by BeerBucks
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
The Old Toad is located in kind of a neat old building on busy Alexander.
The space is kind of cut-up into different areas. It would say it is kind of like snugs you find in many pubs. The bar is towards the rear. It’s small and seats about 10. There are plenty of seating areas for large and small groups.
They have well-worn furniture and fixtures (in a good way) decorated with miscellaneous bar type stuff. Lots of old photos, beer bottles and I liked the clock set to London time.
Service was friendly enough and could talk beer. Note the staff is imported from the UK which adds a bit of flavor.
They offer 13 taps and 4 casks (including a cask cider). I would guess 30 to 40 good bottles. Unfortunately two of casks were empty during my stop, but that can happen.
Food service was very slow, but I was in no hurry. When I finally got it, it was pretty tasty.
I would stop by again for some good beers and conversation.
08-08-2013 16:56:48 |
More by Redrover
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25 | $$
The food was very good. Had the fish and chips, which was their special. They had a great selection on tap as well. The service was very friendly and able to suggests what to try with what I wanted in my beer. I would recommend this place, and I maybe a regular in the future.
05-12-2013 00:52:28 |
More by olivianjeremie
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Great beer selection here, bottles and taps. Great English appeal. Love the food and selection. Great authentic menu over all. The place is a little cramped but generally a nice person crowd. I will continue to go to old toad for the unique experience.
04-08-2013 19:13:08 |
More by DonBar
District of Columbia
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I visited the Old Toad on a Monday afternoon for lunch. They had experienced a busy (or maybe regular ?) weekend and were out of all the popular and highly rated food items.
Quite a disappointment. What I did have was tasty.
The beer selection is pretty decent as far is English pub styles go. At the time of my visit they did not have much in the way of hoppy or 'big' beers. The local staff is knowledgeable.
They decor is unique to the area and interesting. Overall the prices are a bit higher than other establishments in the area, but worth a visit.
12-18-2012 21:14:34 |
More by hungryghost
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The Old Toad in Rochester, NY
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