Where does one go on a regular basis that just has “IT”? Has the “selection”, the “atmosphere”, the “vibe” that brings out that feeling of anticipation you get in your gut each time you get ready to go there, like the feeling you get on your first date.
The Toronado, a San Francisco tradition for beer junkies, just celebrated its 23rd anniversary on August 14th. Located at 547 Haight Street, SF.
Once you arrive and push the salon-style swing doors, you walk into a Mecca, a drinkers haven. I’ve been coming to Toronado for several years and I must say, this place never loses its hold over me. I love their selection of beer. The Pliny’s are always fresh and the Belgian ale selection is phenomenal , plus they have a “bottle” list for beers- to- go (which is quite impressive I might add). Ask the bartender for it.
The scenario for the first time visit.
You arrive. The parking is hard to come by, but you manage to find a spot a few blocks away from the place. You come upon it , but if you blink, you can pass it. Quick hint: Look for a small group of smokers hanging out. You’re there.
You notice a little sausage place next door. Hmm, interesting. Might have to check this out on the way back out. (You shortly realize that you can order a sausage from this place and bring it back into Toronado to eat. Sweetness!)
You notice a few things. First, it’s pretty dam dark. The smell, it’s…well, lived in, and the place is pretty packed. You get a spot, mark it and make your way to the bar. Don’t forget, this is a CASH only place. There is small ATM machine in the corner if you want to fork over a few extra bucks for the convenience.
Never wave your bills at the bartenders. Just a rule. Next, take in the wonder of all the beers on tap and just plunge!
My review? I love this place. Pure and simple. They have a Barley Wine Festival in February that is well known throughout the United States and draws in hundreds. Brewer events can be found on the event calendar on a regular basis and if you live and breathe beer? You’re home.
547 Haight, San Francisco, CA 94117