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City Beer Store
Taps: 15 / Bottles: 300
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Store ]
1168 Folsom St
phone: (415) 503-1033
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-08-2006)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 168 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 2 | $$$
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
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 2 | $$$
Got there on monday...Closed! I peeked in the window and said ok there must be more of the store that I'm not seeing here. Went back on tues. walked in and
thought...hmmm wheres the beer? Very small place with not much selection, at least not what I'm used to seeing. Thought to myself, dam I've got more beer in my cellar right now. Owner was friendly we chatted for a few as I looked over the beers. I really thought this place was going to be alot better after reading the reviews, kinda a let down. I really felt bad I couldn't find anything I really wanted to buy. small 3 seat bar with 3 or 4 taps. I didn't even check out what they had on tap. spent about 15 mins there and left.
12-14-2007 00:02:40 |
More by Normrdz
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
City Beer Store is a beer store first and a bar second. Eight taps with tons of bottles for sale. Many of the bottles can be found in coolers and can be consumed on premise for a one dollar corking (capping?) fee.
The place itself is rather small with a couple tables and about five bar stools near the taps. The inside is clean and modern looking, but there were a good number of boxes strewn about.
I don't know how often they get special beers on-tap, but while I was there they had 08 Dissident flowing. The problem was actually getting the beer. Despite only a couple other people in there, I had to stand by the bar for what seemed like forever to get a pour while the bartender bullshitted with a brewery rep (multi-task anyone?).
The bottle selection was awesome, with plenty of RR and MS. I'm guessing they had at least 400 different bottles. I really wish I had a bigger suitecase.
The tap prices were significantly higher than Toronado, but the bottle prices were about average.
Despite the minor flaw, I'd definitely go there again and stock up on goodies.
07-06-2011 22:14:45 |
More by DavoleBomb
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
On my last trip to Oakland I was looking for a good place to get different beers and I found this one.
The space is not to big you can see some tables at the front, seams a good place for some talking.
You can get the beer in the back where are some shelves full of beers, also 3 or 4 big refrigerators with a lot of them.
There is a small bar with little space for consumers, there is one person helping with your selection, she tried the best to help me but with not very deep knowledge.
Even the selection was good I thought I would find more important beers, I mean the selection was good but not good enough.
Prices are average a long the US, the prices for consuming in the place are perceived as better than if you just take them to go.
07-19-2010 00:47:43 |
More by karait95
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
In a difficult location to find in SF, alleyways and whatnot, not apparent where it is from the front of the place. Inside, go down a few steps, its very small, some what looks like brewing equipment behind the bar area, and a very small area for bottles to the left of that stuff. Really, its about the size of a utility rental in the downtown area.
Found bottles of Damnation 23 and ffac here. Only the 23 was available to go, why, I have no idea. Kind of frustrating when you don't have the time and be part of the scene, and you'd just like to grab your beer and go.
Some decent options, but given the price and the location, I doubt I'll roll into this place again unless I happen to already be in the area. Frankly, Ledgers & Monument Liquors are better options unless you want to do some on premises drinking.
11-22-2011 21:42:01 |
More by Beerandraiderfan
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$$
Visited 4th Feb 2012.
Nice little concept of bottle shop and tasting room. Great selection of taps were available when I visited. After waiting a while at the not busy bar (server thought changing music on the iPod was more important than serving beer, and then took orders from someone who arrived after me), I opted for the Heretic Evil Twin & Highwater Apholic BBL Baltic Porter (served way too cold). Prices were slightly on the high side, but still nice to have a beer whilst browsing the well stocked fridges and shelves.
Good selection of bottles for such a small place. All nicely presented and arranged in style. Again, prices were on the high side, for my liking and also compared with other bottle shops recently visited.
02-07-2012 19:48:54 |
More by Torontoblue
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
Atmosphere: Pretty small and cramped. As a drinking establishment, there is not much seating or room to enjoy your beer, and as a shopper, you have to squeeze through all the people standing around drinking.
Quality: The pours and glasses were correct on the tap, and there were some bottles refrigerated. There is a lot of beer on shelves as well, from floor to ceiling, and it gets really hot in there. Unfortunate. I am sure the turnover is decent in such a small place though.
Service: If you are helped by Craig, Beth, or Heather, you can expect a friendly smile and good recommendations and service. If one of the new guys is the person you talk to, you can expect a pretentious holier than thou attitude, and a scoff rather than an answer to your question. With Craig and Beth busy with the little one, I have been seeing new faces there and they have ruined my visits.
Selection: Good bottle selection and interesting quickly rotating small selection of taps.
Food: I know they have salami/cheese/bread plates, but I did not try any.
Value: It was a bit pricey, but they're in SF. What can you do.
I will still stop in when I am in the neighborhood, but I just don't enjoy this place like I used to.
08-16-2011 16:56:15 |
More by MrFootstones
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I stopped by City Beers a few weeks ago on a visit to San Francisco. Knowing that the beer scene is the Bay Area is one of the best in the country, I was expecting a lot from this highly rated destination. Unfortunately, this was not exactly the case.
City Beers is located in a rejuvenated San Francisco neighborhood known as SOBO. The sleek, wrought iron exterior is similar in look and feel to the minimalist, modern interior. Since the whole "cash and carry" concept is not allowed in my part of the country (New England) I was amazed to find four tap handles and a mini-bar in this tiny beer shop. The beers were mostly Belgian-style offering but one was a vintage 2007 Deschutes Jubeale. Interesting, to say the least. A few leather armchairs and sleek-looking tables dotted the floor, where patrons sat and drank their beers.
As for the beers, the quality was very good but the selection could have been much better. There were two double door coolers filled with beer and four or five moderately sized shelves. Some of the better local selections included Russian River's Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig IPA, Temptation and Damnation, as well as variety of offerings from breweries such as Stone, Firestone Walker, Green Flash, Speakeasy, etc. Craft breweries from other parts of the country, including Dogfishead, Avery's and Deschutes, were each represented by a few beers. The selection of Belgians and Euros was also good, considering the size of the store.
As for the service, I had mixed feelings. The younger female "bartender" was quite friendly and welcoming when I walked in the store. She even offered me a sample of the Jubeale. The middle aged man (who also worked behind the bar) was quite rude however. Being a visitor to the area, I tried asking him a few beer-related questions but hardly got a response. Needless to say, I did not stick around to get that drink I was planning on.
City Beer Store is an okay beer store (sorry for the redundancy) but nothing to get too excited about. It it were not for the selection of Russian River beers or the beer store/beer bar concept, I would not be excited at all, in fact. Maybe I am spoiled by the plethora of mega liquor stores with terrific beer selections here on the East Coast.
08-14-2008 15:50:46 |
More by Damian
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
City Beer Store is located on the left (north) side of Folsom Street between 7th and 8th, take the Civic Center BART stop and walk a few blocks or find street parking on Folsom. When I arrived this morning, I thought the place was out of business because there are no window displays. The real reason for the confusion is the store sits below street level. The store opened promptly at 12:00 p.m. (Saturday) and I was greeted by Craig (owner) who welcomed me in. I told him it was my first time at the store and asked him for a description of the store layout which he promptly shared. He asked what style of beer I liked. Armed with some information from his website he was able to respond to my specific questions. In addition to their rotating six taps (primarily west coast beers), he will open any of the bottled beers you purchase for an additional dollar. The space is small with approximately 300 beers on hand, at least half on shelves with the others in cold storage. Didn't find as many gems as I had hoped but I did come away with some Elysian beers I haven't spotted in the East Bay and a hard to find Lost Abbey. Prices seemed reasonable and the selection is above average to the amateur. The space is crowded and includes a small tasting bar, a high bar table, and two low chairs with a table for your beers. Although the floor plan makes it awkward to shop for beer while others are sitting at the tables, it's a nice service. It's a decent spot to stop for a draught beer and be on your way. The owner said the best way to keep on top of their latest selections is to subscribe to their e-mail list.
06-20-2009 21:47:00 |
More by NorCalYeti
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I came here the week before they had Parabola on tap! Wtf... I totally missed out. But they did tell us they were going to have it, so it was no hidden secret. Big ups for that. Big downs that I had to work.
Anyways, they had plenty of beer and some hard to find beers, but I just wasn't feeling the vibe here. Maybe they could add a little more space and a few more tables and close at a later hour it would help. I've noticed the hours and man... 9 o'clock and 6 o'clock...? wow! Hopefully next time I can get the full experience because the time we came they said everything was to go and that was at around 4 in the afternoon.
06-05-2011 06:53:28 |
More by dvsbizzyb
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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
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