Venue is something of a medium sized local - dark, and not bright and shiny clean (though the restroom was in good condition). Bussed to the top of the Haight - ten beers later walked down the hill. Right past the Toronado. Looking the wrong direction. If it wasn’t for the window of dusty Lagunitas bottles that caught my attention I don’t know where I’d have ended up. Not too crowded about 3PM - we got a small table. Got served at the bar in less than 5 minutes - one guy for a heck of a lot of people (but there was room for lots more). The selection of the best beers is huge. Something for everyone. Essential it is.
The quintessential American dive bar but with craft beer. The half door makes an even better entrance - I wonder how many drunk patrons run into this? Big guy at the door holding a tiny dog - classic. Great service with a "don't waste my time" attitude. Know what you want and get what you asked for. You can bring in food from outside and, since this is San Fran, there is food aplenty. Great vibe and one of America's iconic bars - a must visit.
Exquisite selection of craft beers, there's always lots of new stuff every week. Pliny on tap all the time. Pints cost $6 or even just $5 during happy hour. Proper rock style dive bar, jukebox playing Iron Maiden or Tool.
The service is down to the point, order a beer from the list or someone else will be next. For some that's a problem, but I don't need to spend 5 minutes discussing a beer and blocking everyone else...
My favorite place in SF.
ffbot (21) Oakland, California | September 28, 2017
Awesome huge selection of taps. Small bar but great prompt service and I could stay there all night if I wanted to. No food I think. Cash only, which is kinda lame.
Ah, the famous Toronado. We sat just near the bar, lots of stickers, has a dive bar feel to it. We've visited in the afternoon, managed to find a place to sit, got busier half an hour later. Great selection, 50 taps, very good Russian River selection, also some Rare Barrel specials for the Toronado anniversary. Nice. Prices are great for SF. Finally, the service was OK. I had a situation after we've left I took some photos of the bar from outside which made the barman very upset. At one point I thought he's coming out after me. Obviously I broke the unwritten (or maybe written somewhere?) no photo rule so won't hold it against them. A must visit.
Visited here in early August ’17 while on vacation. Narrow digs, long bar, high top tables to the side, has an extra room to the side, Plenty of graffiti, beer paraphernalia, and other stuff all over the walls. Definitely fits the definition of a dive bar in appearance, but the tap list is superb, Full of California goodies such as Russian River, Moonlight, Beachwood, Lost Abbey, Lagunitas etc, Prices extremely reasonable, especially considering the area - $5 for a real pint (not a 12 oz shaker), Makes me shake my head how some local brewers charge up to $8 for a 10 or 12 oz pour. Barkeeps are all business, cash only. A must stop if anywhere near Haight Street.
Visited twice during our stay in town. Rough heavy rock/metal look and atmosphere, which suits me just fine. Heard some familiar and awesome tunes, even some death metal on the second visit. Great selection of mostly Cali craft, among them three Russian River including Pliny for very fair prices. Prices in general are absolutely great for expensive SF, you can get half pints of great beers for 3-4 bucks. Service however is minimal to say the least, the bartender looked bored and uninterested on both occassions. I am definitely not ’charmed’ by this kind of take it or leave it attitude. He was fast to respond to my needs though. Worst toilet I’ve ever been to in an elite beer spot. Overall a must-visit in SF, this place would be world class with better service.
I went to Toronado because I’m into US craft beer, and I’d heard they have a large number of drafts. I was happy to find an English bartender, but things quickly turned bad. The bartender was abusively rude. Okay, okay, so get that attitude is this place’s quirk, and it’s what to expect, and that’s sort of fine... until they start giving you the wrong order. The bartender served the wrong beer three times. The first time, he reluctantly poured a random other one for me. The second time, he swore at me, refused to replace it and verbally abused me, and the third time, he ignored me. Beer people will probably want to seek out this place, but they seriously shouldn’t bother. I know Toronado is a chain, and I don’t know what the owners think of all this. I’d love to be recommending this place to others, but I’ll be doing exactly the opposite.
My only favorite...ever.
1. Don’t be a d*ck
2. Have an idea of what you’re after when you go to order.
3. Be patient. The Bartenders might not tell you "you’re next" but they see you and you are in line. If you start waving at them, you move toward the end of the line.
4. Great food on the block. Just remember to bus your own table and get enough napkins from your food vendor.
Enjoy! And remember tip #1!