City Beer Store
Taps: 15 / Bottles: 300
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 174 | Reviews: 168 | Show All Ratings:
4.22/5 rDev -4.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
From extensive notes dated, W, 29 July 2009.
First off, I loved that it was on Folsom, just up from Rausch! Johnny Cash plays Bamberg! Dude!
The entry was at the right end of a long windowfront and opened onto a set of steps leading down a half-flight. A couple of high, circular tables sat by the steps and window. A couple of armless leather chairs sat in front of the short wall created by the steps. Along the right wall was a three-door cooler filled (mostly) with bottles, fronted by a third, high circular table. Around a corner on the right side were a series of shelves for room-temperature bottles (remember, this was primarily a beer store). Along the left wall was a short bar with six rotating taps, followed by a second three-door cooler. One nice thing about all of that beer being in the coolers was that if you wanted to drink some there, they simply charged you a $1.00 corkage fee.
Now, a note on ambiance/aesthetics - this was the epitome of no-frills to include exposed cinder block walls, exposed piping and ducting and a concrete floor. I felt like the late-1980's, sitting in the late Jack Fleiner's garage at the foot of Bernal Heights (NOT to be confused with Outer Mission or Glen Park), drinking homemade wine with him and my Uncle Steve. Good times. R. I. P., Jack.
All of that said, it is the people that make a place and the young husband and wife team (Chris and Beth) were enthusiastic and energetic, plus they were getting a crowd of patrons who seemed extremely knowledgeable about beer. Definitely worth a visit!
06-24-2010 22:07:24 | More by woodychandler
4.33/5 rDev -2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Not far from the SF baseball park on the south side of downtown. Also just a few blocks from where you get onto the Bay Bridge, which is why we ended up checking this place out several times before heading to Berkeley to rest after eventful days visiting the city by the bay.
Just a step or two down from street level, this classy, and quality small place packs a beer punch with a few smaller cooler units and shelving stretching and bending along a few walls and corners. About 6 quality taps, cheese plates, extensive and well picked quality selections, including plenty of local, regional and national heavy weights and favorites. Pleasant to visit for a pint or two or to pick up a some quality bottles. I wish all towns had a place like this enjoy and feel the respect of beer in full force.
09-21-2011 23:46:05 | More by Billolick
4.3/5 rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
All this talk about City Beer Store has me interested. Let's take a look inside;
It feels almost like a small cave, shielded away from the sunlight and the city. The interior is very simple; there's a small tasting bar pouring six beers from tap, several coolers off to one side, and another section of bottles stored at room temp. A few high tables are scattered around. Even in the middle of the afternoon, there were a couple groups of people drinking and one person taking notes of the beer he was drinking at the bar.
I would have loved to stick around for a glass of Mortification, but time was not on my side if I wanted to check out other places. The bottle selection is very good, beers like Kern River, Lost Abbey, Cascade, AleSmith, tons of Russian River and two day old Pliny. Many of the Belgians beers and six-packs sit at room temp. All the bottles are well marked with pricetags, a plus in my book.
Did it live to the hype? That's a tough call. City Beer Store is worth being talked because, well, it's a beer store with a lot of quality beer. And you can drink on premise, a bonus! Just don't let Tuong Lu Kim, owner of South Park's "City Wok", anywhere near, or risk the inevitable mispronuctiation of the word "city".
04-04-2011 07:05:47 | More by DoubleJ
4.4/5 rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Looks like a grocery store when you first pass by. I need parking if you want me to buy multi-bottles. Enter, and 2 coolers and several shelves of beer; a few tables, a small bar. What's on tap? Had to ask tap by tap, gave up quickly, as objective was to get several bottles for hotel room stay. Bout half the bottles were Belgians, Quebec beers I have had. The other half included some very hard-to-gets had had me drooling. Took the best of the lot, a small percentage of my wish list. Almost everything was sold out, the Net List being quickly out of date.
05-28-2010 19:17:28 | More by Sammy
4.88/5 rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Fantastic store. I have order stuff from here several times and they are always the best when it comes to service. Kind and couteous and always willing to work with me. One of the best selections of beers I have ever come across and prices that seemed to be right about where they should be. Overall a pleasant expierence on every level possible. One of the best for sure.
Let us also not forget the fact that they keep one of the best tap lists on the planet! You really cannot go wrong here. Give them a show when in the area.
05-01-2010 21:30:03 | More by mikesgroove
4.04/5 rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | $$$
For some reason I was expecting something much larger... ~10 taps, a few coolers and dry-shelves of to-go product and a goldmine cooler of vintage and out-of-network bottles for on-site consumption.
A little pricey on the taps, but while the bottle shop/bar hybrid may be huge in the NW, I understand there aren't too many peers in SF. Everything looked pretty well maintained - a few almanac bottles on the shelf, supplication, but not anything else of considerable rarity. I think this place gets picked over a bit.
Good spot, but dime a dozen in Portland/Seattle
06-30-2013 04:59:43 | More by dirtylou
4.06/5 rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
An interesting combination of a beer bar and a beer store. I stopped in during a business trip to pick up a few local beers to take home.
The atmosphere is very comfortable. The store consists of a couple of refrigerated units and a large shelf area. The selection isn't huge but it's got a good mix and beers from the US and Europe. I was pleased to find Russian River's Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. I had specifically been looking for Pliny.
The bar consists of a small bar and several tables. The crowd is pretty artsy and based on the beers being consumed, into their beer.
The woman behind the bar was very nice and quite helpful. The prices aren't cheap but I doubt much is in SF.
City Beer Store isn't in an attractive area and it doesn't have a huge selection but it's dedicated to good beer and for that, deserves a visit.
10-09-2008 04:49:41 | More by GJ40
4.75/5 rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is my #1 spot for beer in the city, hands down, i've known Craig since he opened this place last year and in all honesty, it just keeps getting better and better...The atmosphere is great, nuevo-chic with a nice tasting bar and tables and very comfy black chairs. Craig always has something nice playing from his ipod on the speakers laced throughout the store. The quality of the beers is always exceptional with many beers being available cold or warm depending on the style and what mood you are in. Craig and his wife honestly run this place pretty flawlessly and as such the service has always been exceptional. The little wine and cheese plates are always fresh and made with local products from local and sustainable merchants which is another big plus in my book...The selection is arguable, and in my opinion definately, the best in the city with many one offs and rarities showing up regularly from the bay area breweries and beyond (LA area, San Diego area, etc) ...this is just the best place to go for rare alesmith, pizza port, russian river, cantillon, and the list could go on forever and ever, Craig has really done an excellent job with this place and I wish him luck in every aspect.
05-21-2007 04:08:34 | More by francisweizen
3.94/5 rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
This place came highly recommended by some local BAs so I made sure to stop by on my recent trip to the Bay Area.
The sign from the picture on here wasn't out so I drove and walked past this place. It's is surprisingly very, very small but they have a lot of room to sit at the counter and at various couches and tables set up. They have two coolers on the right when you walk in and two or three more to the right of the main counter. Opposite of these coolers there are about four shelves of room temperature bottles that are stacked to the ceiling.
This place is unlike any other bottle shop that I've been to in that it sells glasses of beer to drink while you shop or just to sit down and enjoy. It;s kind of like a mini bar inside of a bottle shop. A very unique idea that I wish I would see more of. They had about five different offerings on draft including Gouden Carulous Cuvee Van de Kaizer(one of my all time favorites) and four other decent craft selections.
Although the selection of this place was pretty small it was of high quality. They had some decent Belgians and vintage barleywines as well as alll of the year round AleSmith beers, Cascade Kriek, Cuvee de Tommee and Fresh bottles of Pliny for $4!
The woman working there was very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. I talked to her for a while about different beers and she gave me recommendations and answered all of my questions.
Although this place didn't have the best selection, the concept was really cool, the service was excellent and they had some nice CA rarities(at least to me). If I lived in the area I would probably be in there at least once a week. Recommended.
01-16-2010 09:45:02 | More by corby112
4.14/5 rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
Stopped here right after Toronado and expected to find something special on tap after everything I heard about it but found that only four of the six taps were working and they were all beers I had already had or can buy at home, they were Stone 12th Annivesary Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, Full Sail Prodigal Sun IPA, Marin Blonde, and Port Wipeout IPA, the place was set up weird with only like four stools at the tiny bar, then bottles lining the entire wall, I talked with the guy there for a while and found out that I was a day early for a great barrel aged fest they were putting on, they had a bunch of Drake's stuff lined up that was upwards of four or five years old, some Avery beer called Platypus, Angel's Share, Cuvee de Tomme, and many other great things, anyways the guy was cool and we talked quite a bit and he gave me some recommendations as far as some of their bottles go, this was the first and only place I have seen Lost Abbey's Witch's Wit, also Brewdog Paradox variations, too bad that stuff is fifteen dollars a bottle, selection was decent but not as great I was expecting, I ended up buying two things and they were Russian River Blind Pig IPA and Pliny the Elder, after tax the two bottles were ten bucks, I was on my way because I had people waiting for me outside in the car once they saw the tap list, other beers to go included Cantillon Cuvee Des Champions, both 21st Amendment brews that are available in cans, Lost Abbey Inferno and Gift of Magi, various Avery things, Alesmith stuff but it was ten or twelve dollars more than I pay at home, that is probably because it is such a pain to get it up here, this place was cool, a little expensive for my taste, but I will probably go back in the future and give it another go
08-24-2008 04:04:40 | More by Floydster
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City Beer Store in San Francisco, CA
98 out of 100 based on 174 user ratings.