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South Bay equivalent to Toronado Pub?

b
bouncepass Apr 22, 2009 10:19 PM

Hoping people could suggest pubs in the South Bay region that might have a beer selection anywhere close to SF's Toronado Pub (i.e. great selection of domestic microbrews + Belgians + ...). Let's say an area bounded roughly by Mountain View to SJ to Milpitas, but suggestions outside this region are also welcome. I've looked everywhere on Chowhound (and y**p for that matter) with no success. Thanks in advance!

  1. bbulkow May 23, 2009 01:47 PM

    Met a friend at BBC in MP yesterday and was impressed. They'll get more of my beer dollars in the future.

    The beer list is very reasonable now, not perhaps with the standouts listed at The Refuge, but a solid list. Oddly, the website doesn't include a beer list, but there were about 20 taps spanning a few belgians and a few west coast. My friend and I had the "special", which was a very fresh keg of Lagunitas Maximum, which, at $6/22oz, was rather glorious. I had one glass of Speakeasy, and the keg seemed rather stale.

    They're on a serious mixed drink kick, and their bar menu had three pages of drinks and a large picture from one of the absinthe vendors. I did not try a mixed drink.

    Regrettably, the weather was cool, and I hadn't realized the patio there is in shade after about 4pm. At least the place wasn't busy. They often light an open wood fire on the patio and bring out the gas lamps, but not as early as we were there.

    We had an order of fries, which were quite good. BBC now considers themselves a gastropub, which seems to mean buying fancy asian inspired plates. Still, the fries were good, and the burgers going by looked even better.

    Prices were quite reasonable. Serving 22oz beers there's no chance I'd order a third. I think the fries were a reasonable price.

    Service was perfectly acceptable. The waitstaff was professional and left us to our devices, popping up only when we needed a round - what more do you want?

    It's not a destination, but the place has cleaned up quite a bit, and I think I'll be stopping by more often.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow
      n
      NoeMan May 24, 2009 11:16 AM

      "BBC in MP" is what and where exactly .............
      _______ Brewing Company in Milpitas ???

      pls excuse my South Bay ignorance

      1. re: NoeMan
        h
        Humbucker May 24, 2009 11:42 AM

        British Banker's Club in Menlo Park.

        1. re: Humbucker
          n
          NoeMan May 24, 2009 01:37 PM

          Thx.

          1. re: Humbucker
            n
            NoeMan May 24, 2009 01:38 PM

            A link

            -----
            British Bankers Club
            1090 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

            1. re: Humbucker
              bbulkow May 24, 2009 05:19 PM

              My apologies. I thought it had been mentioned upthread - a full spell out was called for.

              1. re: bbulkow
                n
                NoeMan May 27, 2009 07:04 AM

                No worries...

        2. Zach Georgopoulos May 1, 2009 12:02 PM

          Is the Dutch Goose still around in Mountain View? Can't really remember what their beer selection was like (haven't been in years), but they always had decent burgers and was a good place to hang.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Zach Georgopoulos
            bbulkow May 1, 2009 04:45 PM

            The 'goose is still there, as is the Oasis (its spiritual cousin). The actual beer selections at each aren't worth mentioning, but they're both certainly neighborhood joints for a burger and beer. Nothing fancier.

          2. f
            foodielass Apr 30, 2009 10:27 PM

            This is a little premature, but I hear there's a gastropub opening soon in Redwood City, Martins West. All I know about it is what I see on this website: http://www.martinswestgp.com/index.html, and they don't have a beer list up yet.

            1. e
              esoteric0 Apr 29, 2009 12:36 PM

              also, i didn't see la trappe mentioned - it's in north beach, but if we're talking about oakland too... highly recommended. huge beer list. get yourself the moules frittes and a few beers, and you're all set.

              -----
              La Trappe
              800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              2 Replies
              1. re: esoteric0
                larochelle Apr 29, 2009 12:45 PM

                The OP requested "South Bay" - not SF or East Bay.

                1. re: larochelle
                  e
                  esoteric0 Apr 30, 2009 06:00 PM

                  "but suggestions outside this region are also welcome."

              2. e
                esoteric0 Apr 29, 2009 12:28 PM

                the best place i've found south of the city is the refuge, in san carlos. the food is kind of average: cheese plate good, pastrami ok (last time my sandwich was actually cold), but the beer is great. here's a list, copied from their menu:

                St. Bernardus ABT 12
                Tripel Karmeliet
                Delirium Tremens
                Chimay Tripel White
                Houblon Chouffe
                Buffalo Stout
                La Chouffe
                Duchesse de Bourgogne
                Val-Dieu Triple
                Nostradamus Brown Ale
                Affligem Blonde
                Kwak
                Gouden Carolus D’ Or – Cuvee Van De Keizer
                Allagash Curieux
                Allagash Fluxus
                Allagash White
                N’ Ice Chouffe
                De Koninck Ale

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                The Refuge
                963 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070

                3 Replies
                1. re: esoteric0
                  Robert Lauriston May 1, 2009 11:45 AM

                  Nice. Toronado has 50 taps, but 18 is still pretty good, especially with a hip selection like that.

                  Full list with prices: http://www.refugesc.com/refuge_menu.pdf

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    p
                    pininex May 1, 2009 06:57 PM

                    Everyone of those is better out of the bottle.

                    1. re: pininex
                      Robert Lauriston May 2, 2009 10:50 AM

                      Chacun à son goût. I've tried about half of those both ways, and the Allagash Curieux was the only one I preferred in the bottle, since the draft had less of the bourbon-barrel flavor (and I suspect that more recent bottlings probably have less too).

                2. n
                  NoeMan Apr 24, 2009 07:29 AM

                  Just read the May/June 2009 AAA magazine Via last night and they mention NorCal brewpubs. Have no idea if it's good, but they feature a photo of Firehouse Grill and Brewery in Sunnyvale. The url is www.firehouse.com Looks like they only offer their own beers so it ain't the next Toronado, and as always with Micros, it could be awful but it's probably worth a try............. there is also one in Palo Alto apparently.

                  -----
                  Firehouse Grill & Brewery
                  111 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NoeMan
                    bbulkow Apr 24, 2009 10:02 AM

                    1. the URL is http://firehousegrill.com/ . The page is currently loading very slowly. I haven't tried them, but there's one in East Palo Alto in the same box-store cluster as the Home Depot and Best Buy.

                    2. There are a number of 'breweries' in San Jose. The place seems to attract them. Gordon Bierch and Tied House is "old school" now, Faultline, BJ's, etc.

                    Yes, "it's not the toranado" - these places are barely a good experience, in my book. The on-premises beer is always average at best. The atmosphere is chain and cookie cutter. Unlike a "real deal" place like Marin Brewing, which has some atmosphere and some great beer.

                    I'd rather go to Faultline or GB than Chevy's if I have to meet someone, but not by much.

                    That being said, I'll try to slide over to this firehouse place and confirm my suspicions.

                  2. s
                    skwid Apr 23, 2009 07:28 AM

                    That I've been able to tell there is no other place like the Toronado in the Bay Area. The only place I know which has anywhere near the Belgian beer selection (better actually) is The Trappist in Oakland (all others pale in comparison to their belgian selection with the possible exception of The Toronado).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: skwid
                      larochelle Apr 24, 2009 07:01 AM

                      Sounds like someone needs to find a location. If there can be a Toronado San Diego, why not a Toronado Mountain View?

                    2. p
                      pininex Apr 22, 2009 11:10 PM

                      The South Bay is sorely lacking in quality beer establishments. Your best bet is probably going to be The Rose and Crown in Palo Alto. They carry some good stuff on tap including Pliny the Elder and Piraat, as well as a decent selection of bottles. They update their beer menu on their website often.

                      Can't speak for the quality of food though.

                      http://www.roseandcrownpa.com/beer.html

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                      The Rose & Crown
                      547 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: pininex
                        bbulkow Apr 23, 2009 09:11 AM

                        One indicator of good beer is Russian River on tap. And russian river has a complete list of all bars carrying their beer on tap. And -- the closest to San Jose would be the Englander in San Leandro - anyone been there?

                        Rose and Crown - probably true, and terribly sad. To add some more detail: the R&C even as recently as 3 years ago was predominantly british beer, watneys and such, but sometime a few years ago got on a serious belgian kick. But you can see from the web site how sad it is --- just doesn't have the 30 choices of west coast beers and everything else that toranado does.

                        R&C doesn't have much style either. The place still smells funny, the interior is tatty. The clientele is the peninsula equivalent of what you see at Toranado - jock-ish 20 somethings with well-cut hair, instead of tattooed 20 something bike messengers. And less overall diversity, because it's the peninsula.

                        The food at the R&C is actually not that bad, though. Still just burgers and garlic Fries, but a cut above some. Improved through the upgrade a few years ago.

                        These days, I actually prefer the beer at Cafe Barrone in MP because they have fewer taps so the beer is fresher, they chill their glasses, you can sit outside, and their wine-by-the-glass is decent if I'm in that mood. I had a late bite there two days ago, during the heat, and there was a run on prosecco - they were servicing something tasty but ordinary for $6 a glass, but as an antidote to the heat, very pleasant. I tried asking for the addition of a slice of fresh peach, but even though the weather was summer, the produce wasn't.

                        I also like City Pub in Redwood City, even further out of your range. They have Racer 5 on tap and seem to keep fresh barrels. Pleasant enough place, good burgers.

                        In some sense, this is anti-globalization at work. A local specialty!

                        1. re: bbulkow
                          p
                          pininex Apr 23, 2009 10:00 AM

                          Did you read my post? Rose and Crown has Pliny the Elder on tap. The RR website never has all of their accounts listed on it. They also have Union Jack from Firestone, an excellent West Coast IPA.

                          They have Urthel and Piraat on tap for Belgian lovers, although I prefer both of those out of the bottle because of what the bottle conditioning does to the beer.

                          They have a good selection of bottles such as Delirium Tremens, Duvel, St. Bernardus Abt. 12, La Fin du Monde, Rochefort 8 & 10, and Westmalle Triple

                          1. re: pininex
                            bbulkow Apr 23, 2009 11:30 AM

                            I read your post. I also read the R&C website. R&C lists Pliny under the rotating taps, but also lists Pliny under bottles.

                            So I've got your post and common sense (pliny in bottles seems impossible) vs RR's web site and RC's web site and my own memory.

                            In your experience, how often is Pliny on tap? I'm pretty sure it wasn't last time I was there.

                            1. re: bbulkow
                              Melanie Wong Apr 23, 2009 04:24 PM

                              Pliny is available in bottles. Here's a photo of it.
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenmaise...

                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                b
                                bouncepass Apr 24, 2009 11:32 AM

                                I've found Pliny the Elder at Whole Foods in the Bay Area. I imagine there are other retailers as well, but it's good to know at least one reliable place to get my fix! That said, I was hoping to find some place reliable to try it on tap without going up to Oakland or SF.

                                1. re: bouncepass
                                  bbulkow Apr 24, 2009 02:05 PM

                                  I suppose you could call rose and crown and ask what's on the rotating taps...

                          2. re: bbulkow
                            b
                            bouncepass Apr 23, 2009 01:57 PM

                            I was afraid this was the answer. I would agree with the above post in that carrying Russian River is likely *sufficient* to be considered a really good pub, but not *necessary* (despite my own fondness for their beer). For example, The Red in downtown Santa Cruz has a perfectly respectable selection but there's no RRBC distributor in SC county. Maybe there's a good but RRBC-absent place somewhere? I'm still hoping it's out there and someone can point the way...

                            If the South Bay really has such a paucity of good beer places, isn't this a business niche that has a really high probability of success if filled?

                            1. re: bouncepass
                              m
                              mdg Apr 23, 2009 02:16 PM

                              You would think that's a good beer pub is indeed a business niche waiting to be filled. Especially if you stay open late, at least on weekends. If you want to start such a place let us know when you open!

                              The best I have done here is to find places that have a few good and interesting choices on tap. Calafia in Palo Alto does nicely for a restaurant - only 5 taps, but very well chosen, all local.

                              Michael

                              1. re: mdg
                                bbulkow Apr 23, 2009 06:20 PM

                                In my perfect world, this would be located near a Caltrain station, mountain view at the southernmost. Maybe-maybe sunnyvale. I do often want to meet people for a beer on fridays, and there's a real struggle to find a good beer bar. Something more like Lucky 13; so we end up at Antonio's Nut House.

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