Saturday, March 25, 2006
Toronado in San Francisco, CA
What's going on at Toronado? Everything! They've got the beers, they've got the crowds, and they've got the attitude. As one of the premier beer bars in the country...yes, the country...they do not fail to disappoint. My only disappointment is that I did not stay longer :(
I suppose that my first wrong move is that I opted for the 3-mile walk from my hotel in the Union Square area to the bar in The Haight neighborhood. (Healthy, but time-consuming). Anyone around the San Francisco area 30-40 years ago will remember this area. Although, it's become a bit more gentrified over time, it still holds on to some of its free-loving, free-being feel for which it's become famous.
In my short visit to Toronado, I only enjoyed the Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. A classic West Coast hoppy ale. A phenomenal chance to enjoy a beer that is a bit more difficult to find on the East Coast. Then, I met a gentleman named Paul Hayward. I was already planning to head next to Magnolia Pub & Brewery approximately 3/4 mile up the road closer to Golden Gate Park. He was headed there too, so I decided to leave Toronado early and meet up with him there. So, while I did not have the chance to sufficiently sample the beer menu at Toronado, I could immediately sense that they have a great thing going there.
The atmosphere is so relaxed, so unpretentious, but with some of the best beer from around the country and around the world. The draft list numbers approximately 50 and the bottle menu lists around 100 beers including some of the best and hardest to find beers. The decor, as you can see from the picture to the left, is also quite interesting. Signs, tap handles, bottles, bumper stickers, etc. adorn the walls. The service was adequate without being pushy or obnoxious. If you're in the San Francisco area, and do not make the effort to get here then you are certainly missing a great opportunity and experience.