After performing a fairly in-depth Web search for the best beer bars in San Diego, it was clear I had to visit one bar in particular: Toronado, in the city’s North Park neighborhood. Toronado showed up in almost every single list of San Diego beer bars I found, and it was on the top of many of them.
So yesterday, I made my way over to Toronado, which isn’t exactly close to where I’m staying. (Shout out to my man Chris for the ride. I love ya buddy.) I arrived around 7 pm on Monday night, and the bar was already packed. I soon found out why: Toronado offers pints of all of its local draft brews for $3 as part of a Monday night special. Considering the bar’s impressive draft list, and the fact that San Diego’s “local” beers are some of the best beers in the nation—dare I say, the world—that’s a pretty fucking good deal.
Toronado San Diego is the sister bar of the (in)famous original Toronado bar in San Francisco. It has 56 rotating taps and hundreds of rare bottles from around the world. (I had a Russian River Supplication Batch 004 that was to die for.) And the food wasn’t bad either, though it’s pretty standard pub grub.
The bar was so busy that I couldn’t really engage the bartenders, but the guy who served my Supplication gave me a knowing look and a smirk when I ordered, and I got the feeling that the staff really knows its brews. The atmosphere was more dive bar than upscale beer bar, but I dig that kind of scene. And Toronado San Diego has a juke box that’s packed with a range of quality eclectic tunes. I don’t have much more time in San Diego, so I doubt I’ll make it back to Toronado during this trip. But I know I will return at some point. Toronado is a top notch beer bar.