1987 was a big year for the Lower Haight.
In June, a music aficionado named Dick decided his collection of 45s had grown too large. He found a location in which to sell them — a junk shop belonging to an employee of Nickies — and thus Rooky Ricardo’s Records was born.
In the fall, a couple of Midwesterners moved into an apartment on Steiner Street and began secretly recording their bickering neighbors. Those tapes would be copied and shared around the world, eventually becoming the basis for last year’s documentary film “Shut Up, Little Man.”
And in between, in August, a little bar opened at 547 Haight Street. It had only two beers on tap, and was called Toronado.
Two years later, Toronado employee Dave Keene bought the bar from his bosses, and has been running it ever since. He decided to add dozens of beers to the menu, focusing specifically on Belgian brews. (Keene would later reveal in an interview that he had started drinking — and loving — Belgian beers after having seen Bryant Gumbel drinking Chimay on an episode of the “Today” show.)
Toronado now carries an ever-changing menu of about 50 brews on tap, and has become a destination for beer lovers throughout the world.
In honor of its 25th anniversary, the bar will be hosting a day-long party this Saturday. There will be draft and bottle specials all day, and special bottles of Russian River’s new T25 blend, derived from 6 component beers in celebration of Toronado’s milestone. The party starts at 11:30am on Saturday, and runs till closing.
Cheers, Toronado, and congrats on 25 years as the Lower Haight’s main attraction. Your service may be a little gruff and your frills non-existent, but we wouldn’t have you any other way.