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Taps: 43 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar ]
547 Haight St
phone: (415) 863-2276
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 287 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
Can you get a cooler atmosphere? I mean, this is a dive bar essentially, but yet, its perfect. Was pleasantly surprised they've gotten rid of a lot of the bums and vagrants in the area (was there for Barleywine festival). The only ones left are predominantly cool. Of course, you know, Haight St. is pretty cool.
Quality of selections are great, just look at the size of those what 5L bottles of Duvel lining the place?
Service? Well, by city standards, good, but overall, just average. I dunno what it is about people with "jobs" (v. careers) that make them literally retarded (i.e. slow). And the attitude to boot to go along with it. I live in the city superiority complex? Been there, done that for 30 years.
Cool place, but unfortunately, half the people working know it.
03-26-2010 18:25:35 |
More by Beerandraiderfan
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
You know what weve noticed? Not a lot of fat people in San Fran. Pretty easy to figure out why, those damn steep hills will keep the weight off anyone who has to walk up and down this roller coaster of a town. We walked from the farmers market in the Embarcadero to the Anchor Brewery where we had a tour booked, and even though the mission and lower haight were not too far away, we took a bus to Toronado. We ended up getting off at the wrong stop, and walked another hour uphill anyways in the sort of crusty neighborhood it happens to be in. So my energy and alcohol levels were getting pretty low. I almost tripped over the off-white wooden half-door as I walked in.
If ever they wanted to give an illustrated example of a dive bar in the dictionary, a picture of this place would be perfect. Old and warn, dusty and dirty, with a few salty dogs sitting at the bar, and an actual dog begging to have a piece of those sausages cooked next door. Lots of knick-knacks and memorabilia were scattered all over the bar area, each one probably with an interesting story to go with it. And my girlfriend didnt like the place at all, a genuine endorsement of dive bar authenticity if there ever was one.
We sat down in the booth section in the back and to the left, which is a little more intimate compared to the clamor and music on the other side. No service at the tables, so I took a look at the impressive list on the board and went for a Moonlight Twist of fate on cask. Service was fine, I didnt get any attitude, dirty looks or any sign of patronizing from the bartender. Not that I tried to extract a conversation from the guy, I just ordered my pints, paid and took them to my seat. I did however later asked for a T-shirt, he said kind of dryly no. I asked why not, there seems to be a large one right there, and he showed it to me and smiled, it was a girlie T. Oups
After a short while Francisweizen showed up after work as well as Hey_Kevin, a RB guy who I met at the airport (he spotted my Dieu du Ciel T-shirt). Francis made me try a Russian River Beatification, holy crap was it good. In fact every pint and bottle we had was top notch. In a dive bar, the only things that should be clean are the Beer lines and fridges, and it seems to be the case here. And the selection is great, and Ive been told that turnover is pretty fast, so theres always something new and interesting on.
Dont be intimidated, go there and have a good time. One of my top-5 beer experiences of my 2006 California tour. As hard as it is to be fat in this town, Id still manage to sport a respectable Beer gut if I lived close enough to this bar. But Id have to reside close enough not to go up any sharp inclines, so that would narrow it down to the same block. Maybe those sausage guys will let me crash next to the grill after they close up
09-27-2006 14:08:15 |
More by Goldorak
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Paid Toronado a visit on July 3, 2007.
I spied the crowd from a block away, milling about on the sidewalk. I knew this place is popular but I'm not prepared for this. 1:30pm? on a Tuesday??? Granted it's the 4th of July holiday, so lots of people taking an early day off, I'm thinking. Then it hits me, a cloud of smoky grilled goodness, coming not from Toronado (where no food is served), but from Rosamunde, the sausage shop next door. I stopped in there first for a Tuesday cheeseburger, but I'd missed the last one by just minutes. Ordered a wild boar sausage, received it in under 5 minutes (versus the wait of up to an hour for a burger) and headed next door to my true destination...
All the tables lining the left half of the bar were full, as the bar appeared to be also. I found one lone stool vacant at the furthest end of the bar by the restrooms and walk-in cooler so I took it and started to unwrap my lunch. No sooner had I settled in I got a genuinely nice reception from the bartender and ordered a pint of the Moonlight Reality Czeck without missing a beat. Beer in one hand, sausage in the other, all good.
Yeah, this place has character alright, tons of it. It's dark towards the back, smells of stale beer and cleaning supplies. The bathroom was my first stop after claiming a spot at the bar, and words do not do them justice. Borderline 'Health Department Shutdown'-level unsanitary and covered with the scrawlings of countless drunks, it's best to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Back in the bar, there's beer stuff everywhere. Dusty taps hang above by the hundreds, some newer ones, some old but familiar ones and some long-forgotten. Signs and stickers and photos of all sorts fill every square inch of space on the walls, including banners dangling from the ceiling. One wall is lined with Duvel magnums and the shelves behind the bar are filled with all sorts of glassware, arranged somewhat randomly by shape and style. The eclectic mix of music ranged from 60's rock to blues to metal to punk, just loud enough to be in control when the crowd noise threatened it. In a cave-like den off the main room near where I sat, amidst the stacks of spent kegs, rested a tired, lonely-looking dog sprawled on the bare floor. Too grimy and dark to rate 'exceptional', but certainly layered with character(s)...
A large sign above the room lists the 40-odd taps available. The draught choices are split about 75/25% between CA/West Coast craft brewers and Europeans. Of the US ones, some were familiar to me (Lagunitas, Anchor, Stone, Anderson Valley, Deschutes...) and a few that I knew by name/reputation (Russian River, Moonlight, Drake's...). The Euro beers were a nice collection of Belgians, Germans, and UK for the most part. Somewhere there was a list of bottles, but I never saw it; honestly I was too intrigued by what was on tap. Prices were very reasonable, with all day 'Happy Hour' pints at just $2.75. After 6pm when the discounts conclude, rates jump to $3.75 for the cheapest taps to $7.50 for the priciest stuff like de Ranke Guldenberg and Silly La Divine.
In previous reviews, I'd read service could be, at times, horrible. I'll say I was pleasantly surprised in this category. Knowing what I wanted for that first pour helped, because at the time the place was packed. As the lunch crowd thinned, the place took on a more neighborhood vibe. The bartender, Johnny, was definitely a skilled veteran of his trade, coolly greeting many patrons by name, making small talk while still constantly filling glasses up and down the bar. Every glass was presented with a "cheers", lots of "thanks", "appreciate it" and "have a good one". He was a one-man show and was great at his job.
Stayed for a total of three beers, adding another Moonlight (Death & Taxes) and Russian River's Damnation. With tips, it was only about $10 to spend a great 90 minutes at Toronado, easily one of the best bars I've ever visited. Highly recommended when in San Francisco/Lower Haight!
07-06-2007 05:22:54 |
More by msubulldog25
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $
The great Toronado! And I don't mean Zorro's stallion. It is surely one of America's finest beer bars and definitly one of the top ten in my visitation list. Having read the previous reveiws I knew one visit could not suffice.
On my recent trip to the Bay Area (see other reveiws), I hit it my second night there; it was a Thursday; it was packed. However, the Beer God was looking down for, magically, a stool became available. Let the show begin with .... Russian River's Blind Pig. Followed by a sweet Racer 5. Delish! Now the atmosphere - there really isn't one. This is for drinkers. It is a small room with an average sized bar for about 20 folks. There are high tops behind you as you sit at the bar. Above it all, as you face the rear, is the Happy Board, upon which is written the names of the world's finest beers - did I mention they had Blind Pig?
I returned for lunch several days later on a Monday prior to an anticipated tour of Anchor Brewing. You can eat here; just step next door to Rosamunde's Sausage Grill and bring it to the bar. Did I say delish? It was a quiet afternoon with about a half dozen regular quaffers enjoying some peace and quiet in the Haight.
Following my tour at Anchor (Excellent BTW), I hopped onto the 22 bus and made my way back. (Incidentally, the 7 bus goes right past the front door.) It was busy, but not too ... I got a seat and spent several wonderful hours in beery bliss. The beer is great and for the most part cheap: $4.00 for most of them - this does not include the Belgians, of course. At Toronado's Happy Hour, the beers are even cheaper ($3.00).
Oh yes - it's a short (20-minute) walk from the exceptional Magnolia (See Reveiw)
My one gripe is that there is'nt one on the East Coast; another gripe is that I had to leave. [Sigh]
While I can't speak for Tony Bennet, I can say that I left MY heart at Toronado. (You knew that was coming, right?)
And to quote the Governor: "I'll be back." (You did at least know that one was coming?)
11-17-2008 00:45:11 |
More by jjboesen
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Perfect place for a pint in San Francisco, especially during the day at happy hour prices.
Atmosphere is casual, with plenty of quality beer memorabilia on the walls. Nice open access to the street for that perfect Northern California breeze to sweep inside.
Selection and prices are hard to beat, ranging from the hard to get West Coast beers to outstanding Belgians. On my visits the beers were served in proper glassware, unlike some other top rated BeerFly places that used the standard 16 oz. pintglass.
07-04-2008 04:28:47 |
More by yemenmocha
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
I finally got drinks at Toronado last night. I've been to Toronado several times before, but it was always too crowded to warrant staying. Wiseman Zach accompanied me.
Toronado smells foul, like a mix of gym socks, cigarettes, and frat house carpet. Dust-coated tap handles, faded coasters, old bottles, and quirky beer signs clutter the ceiling and walls. The tables are sticky, the bartenders are pushy, and the customers are snobby. If you're lucky enough to find a table, you probably won't want to touch it (they're rarely cleaned). It took about ten minutes for me to become acclimated with this place. Soon after that, I fell in love.
This place truly is a craft beer mecca. There's so much history; decades of pure devotion to the craft beer movement. The selection is top notch, featuring everything from sours to IPAs to imperial stouts to English bitters. They've got four hand-pumped offerings, and a couple of nitro-taps. All of the beer is fresh, and each offering is served in its proper glassware. The bartenders we spoke to had been at Toronado for decades, and really knew their shit about craft beer. They were also really friendly and social with Zach and I, and our glasses were never empty (we sat at the bar). To top everything off, the drink prices were cheap.
Make the pilgrimage to Toronado. It deserves the hype.
12-31-2010 22:22:54 |
More by ThreeWiseMen
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
The reviews for this place seem to be all over the map, but my experience there was a good one. Went on a Sunday afternoon and it was packed. Was happy to see Firestone PNC on tap, and grabbed a pour of that very quickly. Only ended up staying for the one beer because we had a couple of other places to visit but would have been happy to stay for another couple.
It does have very much a dive bar feel to it, but as long as you go there knowing that, you shouldn't be disappointed. Given the history of this place and its constant RR taps (3 on tap when I was there including Pliny) it is definitely worth a visit.
08-05-2013 17:42:35 |
More by TheSevenDuffs
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
Made the Pilgramage 4/1/10.
You'd hardly know you were about to enter one of the world's best beer bars as you walk down the street. The smell of charring sausages at Rosamunde next store let me know I was in the right spot.
This place had that glorious dive bar feel, the efficient tattooed bartender, the blaring heavy metal music, dark dingy, stickers all over the walls, and of course, one of the best beer lists in the universe. The day I visited the list featured 4 Russian River taps (PtE, Blind Pig, Damnation and Consecration) 4 from Dogfish Head (Aprihop, Burton Baton, Fort Raspberry and WW Stout) and that's only the tip of the iceberg. A nice selection of Belgians (Maredsous 6 and 10, Lucifer) a few nice Germans (Schneider Edelweisse, Radelger Pils), then the frickin' insane American micros- featuring the usual suspects (Green Flash, Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Deschutes, Port) and some amazing chestnuts: Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary, Mad River Serious Blackness (superb) and Moonlight Bombay by Boat (awesome).
I don't agree with others take on the bartenders being rude. Once you know what you want, you step up to the bar cash in hand and you are quickly taken care of. Don't be a doofus and ask for 'an IPA', shit howdy, there were 11 IPAs on tap, what macro-planet did that dude come from! No food served, but the sausage selection next door makes for a number of interesting pairings. Maredsous 10 with the duck? The Bruery Rugbrad with the lamb? Sausage + beer = happy hophead.
It would be hard to understate the value of the pre-6pm happy hour, $1 off a pint/glass. $4 for a pint of Pliny, are you kidding me? With a few exceptions (Sierra Nevada 30th, Bruery, DF WWS) there wasn't an American beer over $5. While the Belgians were a bit higher priced, the happy hour is an outstanding value if you like to spend sunny afternoons in a dark dive legendary beer bar. Not for the faint of heart. For all Beer Advocates, absolutely essential.
04-02-2010 15:41:17 |
More by jdense
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
One of the greatest beer bars. Period.
The staff can be a bit surly, but I guess it's just a part of the experience and atmosphere, plus the place can be jammed packed, so they usually do the best they can.
It's a somewhat dumpy and dark little place, and not in the greatest neighborhood, but it's not that bad. Plus the sausage place next door is great, and the very nice Magnolia Brewery is only a few blocks up the road. It just kind of feels "right", with the worn in feel, and all the beer stuff all over the walls.
They have an excellent beer selection, always tons of local stuff like Russian River, Moonlight, and Bear Republic, not to mention lots of great Belgians.
A must visit for everyone visiting San Francisco. Just remember it's a little rough around the edges, and also... bring cash!
07-29-2006 19:51:15 |
More by flexabull
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I'm not really sure why I haven't reviewed Toronado yet, but probably because it's always such a different experience. But, last night was certainly worthy of a review.
Hit the Toronado to end last night with some of the Bay Area's finest whalers for a beer. The draft list was good as usual, featuring plenty of beers from Moonlight, Russian River, and other Bay Area breweries, as well as some Belgian beers.
The place itself is pretty cool, I think. Definitely follows the "lots of shit on the walls" mentality of interior design, but lots of cool/random stickers and signs, a lot of which are music related. Hopefully you like really loud (often punk or metal) music, too.
The main sticking point is the service. I've had good service and atrocious service. Last night was quite good, but I've also had a really hard time getting a beer/been treated like crap by the bartenders before. Overall, I think it averages out, though.
The prices on draft beers are pretty good, though the bottles can be expensive (not generally as bad as the San Diego iteration, though).
And learn from TedSwimmer: don't try to be slick and get a Cable Car to go without explicitly asking for it. You'll end up drinking a Cable Car there.
Regardless of the shortcomings, I find trips to Toronado to usually be enjoyable.
12-24-2010 20:12:35 |
More by womencantsail
Toronado in San Francisco, CA
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