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City Beer Store
Taps: 15 / Bottles: 300
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Store ]
1168 Folsom St
phone: (415) 503-1033
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Reviews by nickfl:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This is an interesting little place. They seem to mostly be a tiny bottle shop, but they have a few tables where you can sample what is on their six taps, or drink any of the bottles that you buy there.
They seem to have a good selection, certainly they are a top tier bottle shop. I was really happy with what I was able to find there since I was visiting from the east coast, though I don't know how they compare to other bottle shops in the area.
The service was the ideal combination of helpful, but unobtrusive. They could answer one's questions but knew when to leave you alone.
This is a really neat little place to stock up on bottles and enjoy a pint or two while you are at it. I don't know that I would head there for evening drinking however, since it seems like such a small place would easily become overcrowded.
04-17-2011 05:06:13 |
More by nickfl
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | $$
walking down into a basement-type setting, considering the size of the room it's a wide open space (kinda horseshoe-shaped) to navigate, bar on the right half, bottles on the left mostly - cool, comfortable atmosphere.... dark, plywood, concrete, pipes, metal - i could see this being uncomfortable in cooler weather, ideal in hotter (but this is SF we're talking about here...).... the keg room is visible to the back of the bar.... gummy bartop the best thing.... very pleasant yet impersonal(?) vibe, professional crowd
a damn shitload of hoppy beer in bottles (maybe as much as 3/4 of the beer?!?!) - surprisingly not enough West Coast beer (at least, being from Philly, WC stuff that's new to me), large representation of the DuPont range (that's novel).... mind-blowing, hilariously-overpriced "vintage" bottle list.... this is my first experience with a "corkage" fee and, no sir, I don't like it - a $ to pull off a cap?! - maybe it's figured into the price at places out here? who knows?
15 great drafts actually, nice variety in style - I didn't have anything spectacular, a wheat IPA and a Brown ale, both good for what they were, a lot of the other drafts I'd had elsewhere
food? crappy fatty nosh - some caramel bacon crud and something else, I forget, sorry - none of the grub inspired my sustenance-centric appetite.... the service was fine, the staff responded when you engaged them - all pleasant demeanor, doing their jobs
hey, if you've never been, definitely check the spot out once - it might be your thing
05-15-2013 05:10:01 |
More by Bouleboubier
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | $$
I visited CIty Beer during May 2013.
A: Atmosphere was typical. Lots of chatter, but more beer centric.
Q: Quality was excellent. Fresh bottles and small tap list.
S: Service was spot on. Both bar tenders were attentive and willing to recommend me selections.
S: Selection, A relatively small tap last 8-10 beers but all excellent. 2012 vintages of RR Sours, Drakes Aroma Coma and a handful of other Bay Area beers. The bottle list was average, although they had some rare bottles behind the bar for a premium price. (Also must be consumed on premise)
F: No food available. I saw a few people brought pizza in but no menu or recommendation of where food could be purchased.
V: Value was very reasonable. $6/$7 pints and the normal bottles were priced as expected $7-$10/ 22oz bombers) I didn't inquire about the rare bottles but I was told $20+ depending on what you were after. ($60/per Cantillon)
O: Overall ,this is another must visit places around the city. I was lucky enough to sit next to a local at the bar who provided excellent beer geek conversation (Thanks Cody!). While he recommended Toranado as the MUST visit, City Beer was well worth the trip. The upside was I was able to purchase a few bottles and head back to the hotel. Sadly, the bottle selection was nothing I didn't have access to at home (or via the net). RR stuff was few and far between, Bay Area stuff was hit or miss as well as the rest of California brews. At any rate, well worth the trip and I would defiantly recommend visiting. Just be sure to eat before hand or take something with you.
05-09-2013 06:48:33 |
More by WesM63
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited on 3/21/13 when I was in San Francisco for a conference. City Beer Store was, without any remotely close competition, the highlight of my trip.
Atmosphere: The store itself is not in a pretty area of San Francisco, but I won't judge the establishment for its unfortunate location. Stepping down the stairs into the City Beer Store is like stepping out of the city into a cave of solitude. Dark, yet very clean, and smaller than I expected. There's a small bar, some tables, and a number of shelves and fridges with beer. They have dedicated areas, including a fridge for IPAs and a fridge for sours, which was quite awesome. The staff were friendly. The place was not busy, but I was there right there after they opened at noon. Overall, a bit dark, except for the sun coming in from the street, which was shining on bottles (not ideal).
Quality: Fresh bottles, with many stored in fridges. Small tap list, but that certainly adds to the freshness.
Service: The woman in the bottles area was extremely helpful in giving me a tour of the store and giving me some recommendations of beers that I have never heard of. I don't know if these recommendations were any good, as my bottles are still in transit, but I will assume they were decent. The guy behind the bar was also friendly.
Selection: The emphasis of this store seemed to be quality over quantity. Honestly, the selection wasn't that huge. Something like 6 big shelves, and 6 fridges. I was happy to find some Russian River, Midnight Sun, Drake's, and Deschutes (all certainly unavailable on the East Coast). I didn't have any issues blowing $90 here. Oops. I got Supplication on tap after shopping, which was quite memorable.
Value: Compared to pricing in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the prices seemed pretty reasonable. Tap prices were also fair.
Final comments: It's worth fighting through the hoards of the living homeless to visit this lovely beer store.
03-27-2013 05:40:51 |
More by angrybabboon
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | $$$
This place is amazing. They don't have a ton of taps but what they do have is really high quality stuff. I had an '08 Serpent Stout and a few other really impressive taps. The place has a really laid back feel and a ton of bottles to pick from. I got there on the day of a Pliny shipment which was also really cool. I cannot say enough good things about the place!
02-19-2013 22:39:34 |
More by Hopsiam14
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | $$$
As a Belgian beer lover, this place was a disappointment. They seem to place a big emphasis on US beers. I came by here to pick up some Belgian classics for a tasting to introduce a co-worker to Belgian beers. They did not have Orval in stock. They did not have any Rochefort in stock (6, 8, or 10), they didn't have St Bernardus 6 or 8 in stock. I didn't see any Westmalle in stock... No Saison Dupont in stock... etc... I was a bit shocked, having heard that the selection here was amazing.
The girl who helped me didn't seem particularly knowledgeable, and she wasn't all that helpful. I bought a Gueuzerie Tilquin glass and she was going to charge me extra to wrap the glass separately in its own little paper bag (city of SF passed a law requiring a $.10 fee for a paper bag, but for some reason they charge $.15, which honestly is a bit cheap in my mind). Also, when she was done charging my card $35 for 3 12 ounce beers and a glass, I didn't get a "thank you" - she just walked away. Weird.
Atmosphere-wise, the "bar" portion of the shop was quite busy as I went in on a Friday late afternoon. Seems like it might be a decent place to have a beer, but the atmosphere as a shop is lacking.
All in all, I have no urge to return. Healthy spirits has friendlier and more knowledgeable staff, and a much, much better beer selection, especially for Belgians.
12-15-2012 18:19:19 |
More by od_sf
British Columbia (Canada)
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Well, what other place can you walk around drinking Dogfish Head 120 minute on tap while perusing the best selection I've ever seen. Walked out of there with Alesmith Speedway stout, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout, Highwater Campfire Stout, Sculpin, DFH Punkin, Alesmith Wee Heavy. What more need be said? Well also that two lovely and friendly women were the servers. I plan to go back to the bar to try some more of the taps. The only way to push this place over the top would be to get more space, but still, what more could they offer? It's all there. I had to leave Pliny on the shelf.
10-11-2012 21:05:04 |
More by 604growler
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited on September 9 during my road trip of the States. The space isn't that large but they packed a nice sized selection into it, with options for a chilled or room temp version of the beer you want.
Seem to remember four five level racks along with six to eight coolers. It's a good spot because they don't overwhelm you with quantity of each beer like other places (usually there's one or two bottles of each beer constantly refilled when bought) so when you see the number of bottles it truly speaks to quality.
The bar seats roughly 10 with seating along the walls for another eight to 10. Tap selection was good and filled out from all across the country. Service on my visit was very good both from behind the bar and on the floor.
Picked up a Knee Deep Hoptologist and Logsdon Kili Wit. The former I know can be found around but not so much for an east coaster and the latter certainly can't be found on this side. Limited my bottles here because I spent the dollars on the taps instead but know that I left some goodies behind on the shelves.
09-28-2012 15:52:47 |
More by JosephThompson
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
I had another review of City Beer ready to go, but now that they've *finally* enlarged the premises to an appropriate size for a bar, I guess it's time for a new review.
There is a lot more space here now. No more sitting on planks placed on top of kegs or squeezing into the miniscule space of old. We've got more room to move, and more important than that, we've got a lot more taps to choose from. We're up to, what is it now, 10 or 12 taps? This works better than how there were 4 previously. I mean, sure Spuyten Duyvil had a minor amount of taps, but they also had atmosphere. City Beer was always lacking in the latter. It's a nicer setup now that doesn't scream urban functional. Service now seems mixed to me. One of the guys is a total asshole to me every time I come in now. I noticed the coolers behind the bar carrying some extremely rare and interesting beers. I asked if they were available for purchase to take-out. He went into some discourse about beer not being a commodity or some shit like that. Give me a break already. Here's a fact: you're a pretentious dipshit when you're preaching to your patrons and talking down to them. Go fuck yaself. Dick. All I want is to show up and drop some (hard earned) coin on some beers and enjoy my free time. But apparently some people don't give a shit about that. (Others are more chill and welcoming.) Bottom line is that with the new expansion, City Beer is looking better now than in its over-glorified days. Things are looking much more legitimately respectable.
07-30-2012 04:34:29 |
More by RblWthACoz
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I have not actually been to this store, but I had a friend who was visiting the area, who agreed to visit this store and mule some beer for me. whenever my friend showed up, he called me, and long story short, this guy from the store(connor) talked to me on the phone and told me good beers they had and recommended many different types. I had many beers I was ISO and he was patient and answered all my questions for probably 10 mins.
Incredible service! I hope to visit in person one day, as it seems that they have some awesome beers that are only to be drunk on premise(cantillon, vintages).
07-17-2012 04:43:08 |
More by willandperry
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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA