ThirstyBear Brewing Company

Bar / Brewery / Drinking Activity / Restaurant
ThirstyBear Brewing Company Tapas and beer are on the menu at ThirstyBear Brewing Company, a cavernous brewery and restaurant that gets chock-full of city denizens in need of Spanish cuisine and freshly brewed pints. San Francisco United States 37.785484 -122.39972
3.96 9
ThirstyBear Brewing Company - Bar | Brewery | Drinking Activity | Restaurant in San Francisco.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Tapas and beer are on the menu at ThirstyBear Brewing Company, a cavernous brewery and restaurant that gets chock-full of city denizens in need of Spanish cuisine and freshly brewed pints. The round wooden tables that... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    BART: Montgomery
    MUNI F Line: Market Street & Kearny Street

  • Phone:

    415-974-0905

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Restaurant: M–Th 11:30am–10pm, F 11:30am–11pm, Sa noon–11pm, Su 5–10pm
    Bar: open till last call daily, usually 2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth ThirstyBear Brewing Company Review

The Scene

Tapas and beer are on the menu at ThirstyBear Brewing Company, a cavernous brewery and restaurant that gets chock-full of city denizens in need of Spanish cuisine and freshly brewed pints.

Tapas and beer are on the menu at ThirstyBear Brewing Company, a cavernous brewery and restaurant that gets chock-full of city denizens in need of Spanish cuisine and freshly brewed pints.

The round wooden tables that surround the central bar and line the exposed brick walls are taken over by tech workers and tourists at lunch, as first-time visitors clack their way across the concrete floors for a view of the onsite brewery’s giant steel vats in back.

Although the standard beer selection hovers around seven choices – ranging from Irish-style stouts to ales infused with vanilla beans – regular connoisseurs know that several cask-conditioned and seasonal options also grace the ever-changing menu.

Evenings see a mix of conventioneers dropping in after a day at the Moscone Center, guests from surrounding hotels, and well-dressed thirty-somethings out for a date, all there to chat over shareable plates of pan-seared chicken and fried kennebec potatoes.

Later on, larger groups and the pre-clubbing crowd head upstairs to lounge around the open mezzanine or hang out in the two adjoining areas – so long as they aren’t rented out – shooting pool, playing darts, and watering at the smaller bar.

Reportedly the first brewery in the country to serve authentic Spanish cuisine, ThirstyBear Brewing Company is a place where patrons don’t even need to drink the beer to feel satisfied – but it sure doesn’t hurt.

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Tip from Lucas:

Show up early on Tuesday for Firkin Tuesdays. Around 11:30am, brewers tap the latest cask-conditioned ale they have on hand. The cask can get sucked dry quick! If you miss out – or you’re there another day – the $10 beer sampler is a great way to try all of the Bear’s beers.

  • Crowd

    Tech industry types, young professionals, hotel guests, convention-goers, clubbers in need of some pre-dance grub, older couples, and anyone who loves freshly brewed beer, mid-20s to 40s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live flamenco performance on Sundays. TVs tuned to local sports. Free pool table and pair of dart boards upstairs, if room has not been rented out.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Spanish cuisine with some California twists, including tapas, paella, and cheese plates. Entire venue available for rental.

  • Prices

    Appetizers $3–$7, tapas $6–$12, sandwiches (lunch only) $9–$11, paella $18–$23, cheeses $5–$7, desserts $8.

    Beer $6/twenty-ounce, $4/twelve-ounce, or $10/sample all beers; wine $8–$12/glass or $32–$75/bottle; cocktails $10–$12; sangria $6/glass or $28/pitcher; brandy and cognac $10–$14; port, sherry, and moscatel $6–$10.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to business casual: jeans, white t-shirts, collared shirts, suit jackets, comfortable dresses, and some trendier wear on the pre-club crowd.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    During the day for a more relaxed atmosphere, Tuesdays to try the latest tapped cask, Friday or Saturday nights for a diverse crowd, or Sundays for the live flamenco.

  • Close By

    John Colins (138 Minna Street) is a small but popular club with great Happy Hour specials and nightly DJs.

ThirstyBear Brewing Company User Reviews

Average rating:
The Grown Up Thing to Do
Bambi J. Jun 4, 2013
ThirstBear is the perfect place to go to switch up your rowdy nightlife routine for something quieter and more sophisticated. There's nothing super posh or pretentious about this place, so don't expect turned up noses and pinkies, but the floors are clean and the crowd is too. They have delicious tapas and great beer. There is also a really nice upstairs area to play pool and other bar games. The staff is knowledgable, friendly, and gives A+ service. It's a great place to take a date, visiting relative, or anyone else you don't want to scare by exposing them to the more debaucherous side of the city. This is definitely a place with a more grown up crowd. A lot of professionals (30s+) working in the financial district frequent this place after work. It's also popular amongst visitors here for conferences and other work events. If this were a twitter post, my hashtags would be #business folks #yuppies #beer #tapas #clean #sophisticated
Great for After Work Drinks
Jennifer Y. Apr 1, 2013
ThirstyBear really caught my attention with the Golden Vanilla beer. As a fan of lighter wheat beers, I found the Golden Vanilla to have a warm taste with just a hint of vanilla at the end. If there's something that ThirstyBear knows, it's beer. There's a wide variety of organic beers/ales to choose from so everyone can leave satisfied, albeit probably pretty drunk. I've also heard their sangria is good, though I've never tried it personally. This place is great to go with coworkers to grab a quick drink or to sit and catch up with an old friend. The bar area in the front is first come first serve and you seat yourself, which I prefer so I don't feel like I'm being pressured to leave the second I finish my food. Speaking of the food, it's decent Spanish tapas but not the best I've ever had. It'll do once you've had a beer or two... or five. The tapas are small plates designed for sharing so it's great for small groups. I would recommend empanadas and setas al ajillo. Basically, it's great for groups and drinks but don't go to ThirstyBear expecting stellar service and food. There's also a second floor where the restrooms are that can be rented out for private parties. They even include a billiards table! Every time I've gone, there seems to be a party or two up there.
Go for the beer, not the food
Elizabeth M. Mar 29, 2013
ThirstyBear has potential to be much better than it currently is. Beers are excellent with the Howard Street IPA being a favorite. It is very hoppy and has a slightly sweet pine flavor to it, all around a great IPA. Their Kozlov stout was also smooth and balanced, but hearty and almost meal-like, everything a good stout should be. If I had just gone for the beer, I would have been very pleased. ThirstyBear represents the growth and continued future success of the American craft brew market as we evolve beyond the mass market products to something with actual flavor and value. However, the food left much to be desired. The patatas bravas were fine, just nothing memorable, good but unremarkable. I also had a mixture of the pinxtos, which ranged from bland and flavorless to good but could be better. It's worth a visit but maybe have a beer or two before you order your food.
Has lots of potential, failed to completely deliver
Ilario H. Mar 1, 2013
I came across Thirsty Bear while just walking around looking for a bite to eat around late afternoon on a Saturday. It seemed like a good idea at the time -- anytime you can check out a brewery/restaurant and drink in-house beer with your meal, you have to do it, right? And tapas? Yes, please. But the point is, I didn't come in seeking this place out, so I didn't have any real expectations to speak of. I didn't even know the pretty cool fact that all of their beer is organic, which our waitress hastened to point out the first time she dropped by our table. Even before entering, the decor makes its first impact on you. The huge, ornate wooden slab of a door was a nice touch, but be prepared to flex some muscle if you even want to get in. Once inside, it's very upscale, with a prominent bar and a very large seating area. The fact that all of the tables were elevated, with bar stools for chairs, was a little annoying. I didn't get the chance to check out the pool table and dart board, but the fact that they're free is a huge plus and lends a pub-like feel to go along with the brewery theme. In all, I think the Thirst Bear is a little unsure of what kind of venue it wants to be -- it has a little bit of everything (bar, restaurant, pub, club), but doesn't fully deliver on any of them. My biggest gripe was the service. They very well could have just been short-staffed on this particular day, but there was only one waitress that we could see for the entire dining room. When we got there, it wasn't such a big deal, but as the place started to fill up she was clearly spread too thin. We spent a lot of time waiting for our order to be taken, and even more for the check. Our food and drinks were brought out by busers, which didn't bother me but was definitely an indication of how behind our server was. I ordered their IPA to drink, which was solid by any standards. The food was up and down, with some really delicious selections and some that were, frankly, a waste of money. The patatas bravas and the sausage tapas dishes were both delicious, along with the manchego and membrillo skewer. The flatbread was nothing to write home about and the pumpkin-stuffed empanadas were completely bland and disappointing. They appear to have discontinued that item on the menu, so clearly someone who knows what they're doing is making decisions back there.
Homemade Beer
Rachel G. Nov 7, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised when I first stepped foot in this place. I didn't know much about it before I got in, but I instantly loved the decor. Everything is organically made and brewed. You can sip down any of their many organic beers or drinks and end the night with some delicious tapas or meals. I had a more than delightful night here and I suggest this location for anyone and everyone in the neighborhood!
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