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Thirsty Bear Brewing Company
Active Beers: 17
Beer Ratings: 189
Beer Avg: 3.64
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
661 Howard Street
phone: (415) 974-0905
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Reviews by klewis:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | $$
We visited Thirsty Bear at about 4:00 on a weekday and sat at a table in the bar. After 10 minutes and no sign of someone to take care of us, I went to the bar and picked up our drinks. Five minutes later (15 min. after we've been seated by a hostess), our server finally shows up and warmly greets us, "Close your bar tab. This is my section." A hello might have been nice. Not appreciating her attitude, we decided to keep the bar tab open anyway, and I continued to get our drinks from the bartenders, who were much friendlier. Once the work rush came in around 5:00, the bar was a bit understaffed to handle the crowd, so expect to wait during peak hours. The beers were decent and were served in appropriate glassware. Besides for the service, it was a nice place to get a beer. Check it out if you're downtown, but don't make a special trip to go.
06-16-2006 15:17:01 |
More by klewis
More User Reviews:
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | $$$
This is your typical big city "brewpub" that is only kept in business because of its easy location for tourists to walk to. Here you will find expensive glasses of beer that taste like they were made by a first time homebrewer. I tried several different offerings and from a beer drinkers perspective Thirsty Bear is entirely forgettable. I went here because they have several TV's and I was watching a live sporting event with friends, however, I will not go back and cannot recommend this place to anyone unless you are in this area and are not willing to walk 10 minutes away to find somewhere better.
12-23-2012 00:04:42 |
More by BenHesk12
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$
I really expected more. We had trouble finding a seat, meaning it was crowded. But it was a Saturday. It was roughly 2:15 PM when we walked in. 2:30 when we sat down. 3:00 when we sat down. And about 3:45 PM when we got our beers. Many trips to find servers and people to help us met us with a big run around. We finally got our beers and the best was mediocre. An overly phenolic and young belgian wit, and an ESB that was bitter to the American style, although not advertised that way. All were too young and did not have anything special to offer. They had a cask offering, hand pulled, but we did not have an opportunity to order a second beer. We did finally get a nice and attentive server, but it was far too little and far too late. After an incredible experience at another beer stop earlier, this was made to seem like even more of a visit to the dentist.
I don't recommend this place, for anything but slightly better than average bar food. It has been rated better by others, but please enter at your own risk. There are much better places to visit in the Bay area or San Fran proper.
11-11-2012 05:02:35 |
More by MightyCow9
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
The alleged California, I see. Okay, I have to admit, it’s seemingly real. Everybody out here says it is, anyway. Did the pre-check in at the hotel and set out for beer. This, an easy walk and found in a strip of store and eats on 3rd. Made direct eye contact with the host station people and silently passed them by; I’s got a bar to be at...
It’s a large, cavernous space, surprising for the strip it’s in. Off to the left, a copper-like colored with silvery swirls of wet lookingness topped bar beneath laminate, and a stainless steel drain trim running its perimeter. Wood base & piping foot rail, the stretch broken by a service piece. Seating for nearly a dozen and a half on the straight piece on brown leather chairs, and seating for another 4 up front on the wrap around. A trio of upright bar towers of 3 each clustered at both ends of the bar and a sole handpump further along.
The barback is a ½ wall of glass with 2 long shelves running its length holding boozables, and offering views of fermenter tippy tops from the sunken basement brew room behind it. Below it sits a long counter with stacked glassware of all sizes and shapes, and a pair of tap towers holding 4 each on the barback pouring organic wines. Cooler space & shelved booze down underneath the bar, and growlers in a fridge at the far end. Vintaged horizontal sign pieces for each house beer and ‘certified organic’ signage running along the overhang above. I beams and pieced phat wood beam uprights along the bar, holding beer boards listing selections, OG’s, IBU’s, and ABV’s on the posts at both ends, and mounted flatscreens above.
The far wall is brick, and the other areas are painted in shades of green, beige, orange, yellow & red. Concrete floorings, a black painted ceiling with panels with spots, and a high squared skylight piece on center. Glass lampshades tracing the bar, and elongated versions of the same up front. Some cool horizontal art pieces on the big brick, curtainings, and plants in, well, planters.
2 dozen raised roundies in a row adjacent to the bar and along the far wall, some effectively sharing boothing benchings, and a few around the front bend. More seating to the rear, tiered to one side overlooking the open kitchen sunken below the stairs, and a few tucked forward the kitchen in a nook. Some 2 dozen+ tables in all back there, some of which are piecemeal plankings of color and coolness. And a secret front section curtained off (but I will not, cannot be kept out), holding a single table in the large front windows over 3rd, and a ½ dozen tables against the far wall.
Upstairs, a wraparound space with a single pool table and a pair of dartboards. A small “L” shaped bar around the bend shuttered just now with a few hightops adjacent, and a smallish event room to the rear with a dozen tables and another pool table. Cool views over the down below from uppathere.
Took in a sampler ‘cause ‘cause. 7 full time beers (Polar Bear Bohemian Pilsner, crisp, pleasant enough; Golden Vanilla, an American blonde and the nose knows first what comes, much vanilla not goodness there, no; Valencia Wheat, a Belgian wit, coriander, check, orange peel, check, it was okay; Brown Bear, an English style Brown with big maltiness, very good; Meyer ESB, caramel sweetness with nice hoppiness; Kozlov Stout, a dry irish stout on nitro, roasty, chocolatey, mmmm, quite nice; Howard Street IPA, in at 7%, nice bitterness), and a single seasonal (Winter Stave, a Golden Ale in French oak from white wine with cranberries & Brett, 6.3%, and has some, you know, nice sourness going on), guest tap (San Francisco Strong Ale, a brewer’s guild collaboration, 8.5%, has some alcohol to it, uh huh), and cask offering (21st Amendment Lord & Master, an 8.3% English Strong Ale). The Brown Bear, Meyer ESB, Kozlov Stout, Howard Street IPA, and Winter Stave were the best of ‘em. Took in shortys of the Brown Bear & Kozlov Stout on the heels of the sampler. And the aforementioned organic wines on tap, currently 3 red & 3 white, as well as a dozen bottled wine selections, mostly California & Spanish.
Today’s lunch special ($8) is a Spanish cured meat bocadillo with roasted piquillo peppers, lettuce, and aioli. It was a good sandwich, served with house pickled vegetables picked at, as I had no idea what they were beyond beige, reddish & kind of yellowlike vinegarings. I was happy to have gotten my snack on.
Oh, this is the tapas place Ben was talking about. Seems that every item on the menu has at least one word that I don’t know. Friendly people on both sides of the bar (Joetender saw some Brooklynburg things just recently). Caught a nice snack and some good beer here.
05-01-2012 17:57:04 |
More by slander
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
This was the first stop during my trip in SF recently, pretty much right off the plane/BART to Thirsty Bear for some lunch.
The atmosphere of this brewpub is a nice one. It has a huge bar and spacious dining room with TVs and an overall shiny clean atmosphere. Some fermenter tanks can be seen but the place is not decked out in beer decor by any means. The crowd was mixed, business people there for lunch break, college kids and anyone in between, not a beer-geek dominated place. The service was prompt and servers were helpful informing us about both the food and the beer available. Everything was served in nice glassware (signature goblets and pint glasses) that suited the beer styles just fine. Overall they had a well rounded selection including an IPA, double Amber, stout, etc. The food for lunch was well priced and very good. It wasn't exactly the most complex thing but the sandwiches had fresh, flavorful ingredients and the roasted chickpeas were awesome.
With nice beer, a relaxed atmosphere and good prices this place is definitely worth checking out if you ever visit San Francisco.
11-23-2011 15:29:09 |
More by cbutova
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I tried out Thirsty Bear because I needed a place to waste a couple of hours before heading out for dinner. The interior is nice enough but a bit dark and loud for my preferences while the service was fairly good but nothing special. While all the beers were house made and their was a substantial range to choose from, I found many of them to be a bit similar and the quality was a tad disappointing. Overall though, prices were decent and the experience was okay. Good if you are in the area but I wouldn't search it out.
11-03-2011 06:33:07 |
More by dgilks
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
This place is located close to the convention center which makes it easy to hit for lunch or a quick pint after sessions. The place has more of an upscale modern restaurant feel with very high ceilings, plenty of wood tones, lots of brick, and nicely separated areas for the bar and dining. The bar can seat about 20 or so and overlooks a few tanks behind the bar. Several hitops and some circular booths are also just off the bar.
There were 8 beers on tap during my visit - most seem to be the normal house beers except for a 15th anniversary beer that was an imperial red ale. The beers I had during my few stops here were of good quality and OK versions of the styles - and the crowd seemed to be drinking quite a variety of styles.
The food was focused on tapas, and several of the dishes were quite good like the octopus, albondingas, and empanadas. The paella was also good hearty portion. The tapas format worked well here for having beers and food with a bunch of people.
Overall this is a good place to hit for the whole food and beer experience, but don't expect any over the top beers here - they brew to fit the clientele, which I am sure focuses on local business men and women, and of course conventioneers.
10-21-2011 11:19:02 |
More by Gavage
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
We stopped here on our last day in SF so that we could check out at least one brewery. We tried to go to Magnolia, but it was unsuccessful. We got there right as they opened on a Monday morning, so it was very low key and we got great attention. Our bartender impressed us with his knowledge of the beers and his knowledge of the the local beer scene. We had the flight of 9 beers, and all were very good. We had a small appetizer that was also very good. We didn't spend much time here, but if I ever find myself back in the area, I will definitely try to go back. Overall it was a very good experience.
09-13-2011 02:25:27 |
More by searsclone
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
Near 21st Amendment, so good for a two-fer. I like environments like this with the spacious layouts and high ceilings, as this reminds me of the way many brewpubs were in the 90's when craft breweries were called micros. Server was very nice, knowledgeable, and professional overall.
Selections on tap were more numerous than I expected but nothing spectacular in the way of styles. They were brewing that day I was there so there was a glorious aroma in the air. Didn't order food, so can't comment on that. Near the stadium if that's where you're headed. Prices seemed high but not too bad for San Francisco.
06-04-2011 18:16:41 |
More by yemenmocha
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Thirsty Bear is a great place to have a beer. They have about 7-10 of their regular and seasonal selections on tap at all times. Service was prompt. The space is spotless inside - you could eat off of the floor. Its atmosphere is brewhouse but a little more upper end I think. Warehouse feel also with exposed kitchen and brew kettles. Everything on tap is very reasonably priced. I had the Brown Bear the last time I was there. And I think it definitely fits the bill for a lot of age groups. Not sure if kids are allowed, but it seems like the ind of place they would like to be in also (obviously not for beer!)
05-06-2011 22:46:59 |
More by NorCalgrowler
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Thirsty Bear Brewing Company in San Francisco, CA