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Magnolia Pub & Brewery
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Active Beers: 45
Beer Ratings: 390
Beer Avg: 3.76
Taps: 10 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Eatery ]
1398 Haight Street
phone: (415) 864-PINT
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Reviews by searsclone:
vibe: 2 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 2 | $$$$
I was really looking forward to trying Magnolia since it has such a high grade on BA. Unfortunately, we didn't have such a great experience. We went on a late afternoon on a Sunday. The place was about half full. We were greeted promptly by a hostess who told us that we could only have a table if we were eating. We decided that we would grab some food and try one or all of the beers. Our hostess gave us a table, then brought us 2 glasses of water and a bottle of water for the table. We looked at the menu and figured out what we wanted, then we waited. And waited. After we drank all of the water that was on the table, and watched the table beside sit, then have the waitress tell them they couldn't have a table without food, then having another group sit at that table, we decided that we waited long enough, and walked out without having a chance to try anything except the water. After talking to a couple of locals, they all seem to agree that this type of service is not uncommon.
09-13-2011 02:33:57 |
More by searsclone
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $$$$
Original review 6/11/05
Took a cab to Magnolia's, skirting the Tenderloin district, passing hookers and pot smokers. Our cabbie treated us to a little "Duke's of Hazzard" driving technique. Ya, front 2 wheels off the ground crossing a street going down a hill, yee haw!
Magnolia's had a better than average amount on tap, with a couple on cask.
Bartender was quick at first, then she became immersed in a conversation a few seats down and never came back.
She was friendly and nice though when we saw her.
Tweezer Triple was delicious, albeit off the mark for a Triple, and the Batch 900 rocked. A big ass beer that belongs in my cellar.
Unusual motif in this place, tiles and chrome with a hand painted mural from wall to wall behind the bar. Couldn't determine if there was any meaning to the mural, other than a big Greatful Dead influence.
The food looked great going by, but we didn't eat.
Stayed till 1:45 AM, wishing there was more hours in the day.
Beer selection is heavy on lighter styles and English beers. One IPA on tap and one pale. The rest a mix of session beers. We ate this time and I felt like vomiting after seeing a 4% health-care tax at the bottom of our bill, on top of the regular meals tax. Apparently a $14.00 hamburger (not cooked to order properly) with a small portion of fries is not expensive enough for the owners. Or a $10 wedge salad for that matter. I pay a lot for my own damn health insurance, why should I cover the owners nut (or line his pockets) as well? This place is scamming their customers with an unconstitutional tax. Avoid.
05-17-2013 02:16:30 |
More by brewandbbq
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.75 | $$
To me, Magnolia is the quintessential example of New American cuisine. I can't think of another brewpub I have been to where I was as interested in the food as much as their beer. Frankly, I probably think of the food here before I think of their beer. And their beer is quite good as it is, keep in mind. Love the bathroom setup as well. This is a must if you are in San Francisco.
01-11-2013 00:55:43 |
More by RblWthACoz
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Very nice experience in a unique part of a unique city. We sat at the bar and were happy to discuss the beers and even the origin of beer names. Amazing service and the bartender was prompt and knowledgeable. Although we only ate a small sample of snacks and sides, they were great. The cheese was very good and the beers were all excellent. The foods that passed by us from the kitchen made me wish we had not eaten lunch. Burgers looked like magic on a bun, often with gigantic slabs of bacon hanging over the edges of the beef. It was a thing of beauty.
I particularly enjoyed the Oyster Stout. A very neat style of beer and I would say this was the cleanest and most balanced attempt I have ever tasted. The other beers were great and everything was served in the appropriate hardware.
The place is small and was PACKED, but service never suffered and the entire crew working the bar was very happy and made the experience elevate even higher.
The only regret I have is that we did not stay even longer.
11-11-2012 05:12:02 |
More by MightyCow9
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A very nice pub and brewery. Visited in the late afternoon and was busy but not crowded. You can see part of the brewery through a grate in the floor. The bartender was friendly, helpful and efficient. The beers we tried, Proving Ground IPA 7% and Out With The Old Ale 8.5% were above average and brewed by Magnolia. The pricing was reasonable at around $5 a pint. Comfortable environment with booths and lots of wood. Highly recommended for a relaxing beer in the hip area of Haight. We will revisit the next time we are in town. Also picked up a beautiful card to evaluate our beers.
11-07-2012 01:45:59 |
More by excalibur
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
This is a wonderful brewpub, which gets extra points for being, to my knowledge, the only place in the region brewing a strong array of real British-style ales that have a true British character and, even better, real English cask ale.
The brewpub itself is in a neat old building near the heart of Haight-Ashbury, with big windows, lots of old tile, etc. It has some peeling paint which in a way adds to the old, time-worn charm, a good bar, tall wood booths, etc. However, it is a bit stuffy in warm weather and gets bit loud even without any music playing. The location is another plus, an interesting-characterful area with old Victorians, etc., and, unusually for San Francisco, this neighbourhood actually has a lot of trees lining the streets.
Beer that I have had is excellent and gets extra points for including an unusually strong selection of British-style beers, on tap and cask, that wonderfully capture the mellow, easy-drinking, but complex, rich character of good British beer in a way that is almost unheard of here. I really am very, very impressed with how well they captured the wonderfully complex but restrain, subtle character of English ale, but that is in part because I really have seen it done nearly so well anywhere else in California or the west coast.
Service we have experienced is good.
Selection of beers is great, with English bitter, ESB-type, old ale, etc., plus some more American-style beers, a few beers in the German/Czech tradition, etc., and they offer a few guest beers, as well.
Food is excellent. Fried chicken, chicken sandwich, fries, bangers and mash, etc., are all great. The fried chicken is particularly nice and a bit unique.
Value is very good.
10-20-2012 00:55:17 |
More by Offa
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Showed up medium to well done on the heels of ‘let’s go fuck with Brian Strumke at the City Beer event’, and then revisited today. Just as well, as there was too much going on last night to scribble scrabble; We arrived for dinner too late, the place was too packed, I was too hungry to deal, and too little time had passed since that ‘plint’ at that sportslike bar next to my ‘otel (A ‘plint’ is a ‘pint of Pliny’. I made that word up, and you may only use it about town if you properly footnote me). Okay, 45 minutes for a table, and then while waiting to get a beer at the bar, our table came in so we sat and ordered from there. And then today, while Ben worked, Bethy & I laughingly (Ha Ha!) took the mulligan and returned to drink beer...
What scenes Haight & Masonic have seen, I can only imagine. Large windows with smaller horizontal windows tracing them atop over both streets and sprawling awnings on outdoor seating wrapping around the sides with drop mounted lighting. Entranceway in the corner between, with a stained glass address piece sitting above the door. Used to be a pharmacy, they say, and now it’s a brewpub; all Grateful Deaded down from its former show. Well worn, and kind of tired with its stained ceilings cracked and faded yellow wall uppers two sides around, but has its charm just the same.
To the rear of the room, a wide wood straight bar with a slat wood base and piping foot rail, seating 8 on stools. It would reasonably seat more, but the bar is broken up by a center pillar along the way. 15 taps on a blackboard panel on the barback wall, with nondescript handles and chalk drawings above. Four shelves of glassware next to the panels over mirrored backing and subway tilings below a kitchen peekaboo on the end. More barback unit space to the side (barside?), with a center mirror and shelved books, old apothecary bottles, and a growler. A mounted ‘Festival of firkins’ board above describes the goings on, which may explain the 5 handpumps on the bar and 2 more on the end. Great Caesar’s ghost!
Slight bar counter for 4 sits adjacent to the bar, we were fortunate enough to take over. A single long table along the side street windows, with seating for a dozen on raised stools, alongside a center divider with 2 black leather booths on each side. A horizontal board listing tap selections (draught & cask), and strong beer month entries sits above in between pillars, and slides down for easy updating access. A dozen+ square and round 2 seat tables run up front along the windows and around the bend along the far wall on boothed backings below splotched glass panels with corner lamp lighting in a wood unit piece matching the bar. Bathroom tile floorings, filament bulbs along the perimeter over the windows, and drop spinning top glass lamps in 2 rows from above.
Okay, so 15 taps, currently occupied by 12 beers, a root beer, a wine (Sutton Cellars), and a hard cider (Two Rivers Pomegranate). The beer breakdown was 4 house regulars that we sampled (Kalifornia Kolsch, 4.7%, a lovey, lovely Kolsch; Big Cypress Brown, 3.7%, an English style Brown, it was, um, adequate; Dark Star Mild, 3.6%, beautiful, dark, grainy malt goodness; Proving ground IPA, 7%, very nicely balanced, wonderful), another 2 that we didn’t (Oysterhead Stout, Prescription Pale Ale), 5 house Strong Beer Month entries (Pride of Branthill, Tweezer Trippel, Oakstack Lightning Imperial Stout, Promised Land Imperial IPA, Old Thunderpussy Barleywine) ranging from 8.5% to 10.25%, and the San Francisco Brewer’s Guild collaboration Strong Ale (which I had at Thirsty Bear earlier). Plus 2 house firkins (Billy Sunday’s Best Bitter, 5%, which was Thursday’s bust butter; and Gold Top, 4.8%, a Belgian Golden, excellent), and 5 guest firkins for the event (Birrificio Le Baladin Al-Iksir, Birra Del Borgo Re Ale, RCH Brewery Old Slug Porter, Harviestoun Schiehallion and Bitter & Twisted). The Kalifornia Kolsch, Dark Star Mild, Proving ground IPA, and the cask Gold Top were the best of ‘em.
The food menu is paper pasted on backings displaying old set list. Hey! I was at this show (Giant Stadium 6/17/91), and this one, too (Richfield Coliseum 9/4/91). I started with 2 meats (Salametto Piccante & Soppressata) and then the Magnolia pub burger (dry aged organic beef, cheddar, and thick slab mapley bacon). I had help with the fries. They split the beet salad (phenom!), and then Ben had the Louisiana Andouille with cheese grits, and Bethy, the pork chop with duck fat, cannellini beans, caramelized onions, and kale. Food was of the awesome variety.
Pleasant servers, comfortable house, some very nice beerings, and excellent food. Good tunes; lots of Dead (surprise, surprise), Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Petty. Not to talk potty but they do have a cool basin sink back there for the washing of one’s mitts. And dig on that great wafting wort steam from the basement brewery below.
05-09-2012 19:04:42 |
More by slander
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
The bartender at City Beer told me this place was a mandatory stop while in The City. On the corner of Haight and Masonic, Magnolia is a beautiful, 19th century space whose owners have worked to retain its period feel. The owners and brewers are real Deadhead/Phisheads, and have named many of their beers after both Dead and Phish songs. Their food and drink are some of the best you’ll get in the city at a very reasonable price point.
I arrived on a Thursday afternoon later than I’d wanted to and found myself at a table with a great view of the colorful world that is the Upper Haight. I eased into my experience with a Proving Ground IPA and an order of the braised rib entrée, both excellent. Outstanding music played over the speakers, from Phish to (old) Aerosmith to acoustic Jerry.
About halfway through my meal, things started to pick up noticeably in the place. I quickly ordered another beer, this time going for the Oakstack Lightning Imperial Stout on cask, which ended up being one of the best beers I tried during my visit. Halfway through I was so overjoyed with my experience that when the brewer walked by I couldn’t help but stop him and commend his efforts. Despite a further influx of people and noise, I finished off with the cask version of the Proving Ground IPA and called it a night. I won't miss this place next time I'm in town.
03-05-2012 20:02:37 |
More by LeeMarvin
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
Visited 4th Feb 2012.
Arrived for brunch around 11am, and got there just in time before a mad rush of patrons arriving 30 minutes later. Got seated straight away and ordered a pint of the Dark Star Mild (Cask). Cask was a little old, probably on it’s last day of being served. Nice to have a proper 20oz pint glass though! Had the sublime Crab Cake Benedict for brunch and followed up with a half of the Proving Ground IPA (Cask). This one was definitely old and was not very pleasant. So, away from the casks it was. Ordered the great value sample tray and was tempted to have the Strong Beer Month tray for an extra $1.00, but was far too early to be having 11%+ beers ;-)
The place got crazy busy around 12.30 and people were lining up to get in.
Great cafe/bar feeling place. Friendly staff and good beers. A definite place to visit when in San Fran...and it’s in the marvellous Haight-Ashbury area!
02-07-2012 19:47:16 |
More by Torontoblue
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Smack-dab in the middle of the Haight, and just a few blocks away from the famed intersection of Haight-Ashbury, Magnolia went from being ‘that place where I went once and had an ok time’ to becoming one of my favorite places to treat myself when I’m visiting SF.
So, a little backstory:
My first time at Magnolia was on a Tuesday, and I found the crowds—attracted, probably, as much as I was by their half-price pint special—to be overwhelming. Long wait for a table, friendly but overworked servers, and the din made it impossible to have a conversation. (Geeze, I must sound like a cranky old man!) Plus, I felt the only vegetarian option at the time was overpriced—and forgettable. By this point I have no recollection of the beers I tried that day but I wasn’t impressed enough to return.
I’m not sure why I gave Magnolia another chance but I’m glad I did. It had been over a year between my visits. This time I went in the afternoon, skipped ordering food, and asked for some samples before committing to pints. What else changed? Well, my palate expanded as I had developed a taste and appreciation for many, many different styles of beers—including, I’m sure, a few that I tasted on my first visit. I’ve been back many times since then. I even had a farewell party there—and a welcome back gathering, when I returned (briefly). I’ll still go on Tuesdays for their specials, but now I know what to expect.
Magnolia keeps a number of beers on tap and hand-pump.
One thing I enjoy doing is trying a pint from each to compare the differences—how cask conditioning brings out the malt, or the way the hops come across. They make some terrific British-style ales, and one of these days I’ll finally remember the specific, technical differences between Mild, Best Bitter, Extra Special Bitter and whatnot. You can’t go wrong with their IPAs, and if you’re lucky they’ll have a gruit or one of their strong beers available, too.
The servers have always been friendly, and in my experience I’ve enjoyed being around a warm, friendly crowd. There’s a number of tourists who pass by as well as regulars and folks in the food and service industry, and the window facing Masonic is just about perfect for people watching. Definitely worth a visit. I’m looking forward to my next one.
01-09-2012 22:07:09 |
More by elNopalero
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Magnolia Pub & Brewery in San Francisco, CA