Bay Area Beer and Bar Report No. 1 Ugly Musings at the Toronado Over A Drake's IPA By Babar Ali Lower Haight, San Francisco, just up from the infamous corner of Haight and Fillmore, scene of so much of San Francisco's best and worst and generally representative. All worth thinking about at the Toronado. Awesome atmosphere, except when choked with cigar smoke, which is not infrequently. One of the downsides of its untrendy-yet-hip feel. Worth putting up with, slurping a pint as the clatter of some generic post-punk-goth-metal-hop hybrid drones in the foreground. After a day of getting wired and frantic at the spectacle of your own inability to write, this is a soothing balm upon the raw wound of your own incompetence. And you come here for two reasons: the place, and whatever they currently have on tap at the rear of the bar, at their array of old-fashioned British pub-style hand pumps. This evening's offering was a Drake's India Pale Ale, pulled as I watched, allowed to settle, and served with a solid inch of foam. Points off for that, but if you order a hand-pull, it's only fair to make some allowance. And only $3.25; not bad at all. The Drake's wasn't cellar temperature-which means, by British standards, around fifty to fifty-five degrees, and this was warm; not even close to the San Francisco chill of a foggy gray July day, windy and clammy and dank, the kind that makes you want to curl up with a heavy pint of not-too-cold beer ... but colder than this. Service is only okay, but it isn't pretentious or offensive-doesn't play too many power games; a few, designed to test for the yuppie response, see what stripe you are. If you're patient, tip a buck on your first pint and scribble away innocuously in a corner or let a red-stained eye stray over the bar newspaper, you'll do fine. Watching through the well-screened front windows allows you the obligatory Heart of Lower Haight view, a panorama of crack runners sizing up the evening's territory, a few beggars and drunks vying for sidewalk space with early diners and art students hurrying home to get wasted, cheaply. Good beer, even if warm. Great color-caramel cloudy, but appealingly so, not the way hefeweitzens can be. Maybe under-hopped a bit, but with the right chill, could be exquisite.