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Monk's Café

Not Rated.
Monk's CaféMonk's Café

338 Reviews
Reviews: 338
Visits: 491
Avg: 4.38
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: 218
Cask: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

264 S 16th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19102-3357
United States
phone: (215) 545-7005

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Reviews: 338 | Visits: 491
Reviews by AndyAvalanche:
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.48/5  rDev -20.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Was pretty excited about making the trip over here, it was walking distance from our hotel. This review is based off 2 separate visits during my stay in Philly. At first it looks like a cool little bar, it's very long and narrow. The bar takes up most of the area of the front room with a few tables in the front and another few sets of tables in the back. There was a hostess at the front who doesn't really say much. A lot of Belgian beer paraphenalia all over the bar. Cool tin posters and plenty of empty bottles of rare gem beers. The place itself was very dark (dimly lit). When we went during the afternoon and sat at the bar it wasn't too bad, the lighting was ok and the crowd was people meeting up for a drink after work mostly. I got a couple of beers, my wife got a beer and we split an order of frites. The second time we went we had dinner, the music was so loud, we no exageration, literally had to yell to each other across the table just to have a conversation. The music was atleast decent music, but the volume was quite excessive.

The quality of the food and beer seemed pretty good. From what I could see they took care of their tap system pretty well. The beer was also usually pretty fresh for what we got. They aslo seemed to use quality ingredients in their food from atleast what was listed.

I really tried to look at this obectivly, but overall the service wasn't good, in fact, it was just bad. The first time we went it was ok I guess. Like I said we sat at the bar, but the bartender wasn't really that friendly. She was informative when we asked questions about the menu, but wouldn't go out of the way to elaborate and we really had to be specific. The only time she actually seemed friendly was when I left the tip and started to leave. The second visit was by far worse, we almost just left. As I mentioned before it was dark and very loud. There were a few open tables but I wanted to check with staff before just sitting down. The hostess wasn't in the front, so I kept trying to get the bar tender to look up, but she was a bit busy. I finally found a bus boy and I asked him if we could just sit at one of the tables. He said, "there's a hostess up front, go check with her" I said "no there's not" He just looked at me and walked away. We started to make our way towards the front just to leave but the hostess finally came to the front and caught up to us. She did apologize then seated us. The waitress was pretty much exactly like the bartender on our first visit. She would wasn't rude, but just wasn't pleasant either. But when we were leaving she went out of her way to thank us for leaving her a tip. So all in all I was extreamly dissapointed with the service.

The selection was certainly the best part of the visit. They have an expansive bottle list and a very carefully selected Tap list. Mostly Belgian style but a few IPAs and big stouts to keep everyone happy. I got to have some Abyss, their own special Sour, La Rulles Estivale, and some other Belgians since I was there. Very good selection, but the glasses weren't very big for each beer we got.

The food was pretty good, I wasn't blown away, but it was pretty tastey overall. We got some Frites the first visit, I got a chicken/apple sausage and my wife got a salad. Portions weren't really very big, but adaquate.

Value wasn't that great, not really big portions on food or beer. Which suprised me based on how many diffeent sized glasses they had. All the big ones were just upside down hanging from the bar. Also my wife asked for some goat cheese to put on her salad, they charged like $3 for a piece of cheese about the size of a sugar cube.

I'm glad I finally got to goto a place like this, but it really didn't live up to the hype. I wouldn't go back until I knew the tap list and there was something I knew I wanted (which is very possible). With so many great places to go in Philly to get a beer, I'd go somewhere else, but that's just me.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of FightinIrish88
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Photo of barleywin
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of JaredSammy
4.25/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of amano_h
5/5  rDev +14.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

If I were to commit a capital crime tomorrow in the city of Philadelphia and were asked what I wanted for my last meal, I would without hesitation answer "The Duck Salad Sandwich, Ghent Mussels, and draft Pliny the Elder from Monk's Café."

It's kind of hard to describe experiences like these, but every time I walk into Monk's Café and sit at their rustic bar waiting for my food and beer, it's as if I'm sitting on some sort of invisible, yet mobile spa; all my stress and worries just melt away from my shoulders and leave me in a state of complete relaxation and bliss... which soon shifts to ecstasy as soon as my food and beer arrive.

Fluffy and flowery images aside, if you don't know already, Monks Café probably has the most extensive Belgian beer offering in Philadelphia and maybe in the entire USA. If you didn't know already, Monks Café probably offers the most authentic Belgian fare in all of Philadelphia and maybe in the entire USA. And if it hasn't hit you already, you should most definitely make this a to-go destination if you enjoy good food and beer, which probably means YOU, since you wouldn't be on yelp.com if you didn't enjoy good food and beer.

I would also recommend stopping by here during the afternoon if you like a more serene, home-y atmosphere; make this place your destination in the evening if you like a more ambient, dive-ish under the candlelight atmosphere (to whomever called this a dive/hole in the wall: how dare you.)

I love you Monk's Café. Never leave me.

 1,512 characters

Photo of Mnteti
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of RMoeNay
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of dailyminefield
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of fitzy84
4.38/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Decided to go here during my Philadelphia trip. Monks seemed to be a relatively small place with dining near the window, a bar to one's left, and more tables in a narrow restaurant space.

The space had a cool soundtrack playing across the evening of all my personal favorite bands which was a huge plus. It was not too busy on a Sunday night so I sat at the bar area. All the workers seemed nice from the interactions I had with them. The place was A bit dim with lit candles across the bar. I felt like one could enjoy a nice conversation with a friend or read while at the bar. This helped make Monks welcoming and laid back to me.

The draft menu was on a small piece of paper, but the selection was out of this world with mostly some Belgian style drinks. The bartender that evening was quite nice and responsive when I wanted another drink. He was also very kind when I accidentally butchered a Belgian drink's name! I definitely enjoyed a good selection of beers that evening.

I did not have food at Monks, but the couple next to me had an awesome looking mussels dish.

As a tourist, I am really glad I got to sample this bar in Philly. I would recommend it to other people I know and would go back whenever I visit the city again.

 1,244 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4.95/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Mid-Atlantic mecca. Everything its cracked up to be and more. The beer list is ridiculous - one wonders where to even begin. Two bars worth of taps from all over. (I scored some good Russian Rivers) plus large quantities of bottles, perfect for local BYO eateries. But if you are staying, the enormous pot of moules with frites and breads is the tops. You have to go there.

 377 characters

Photo of Brown120
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of RutgersBeerGuy
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

The legendary Monk's Cafe! A craft beer icon in both locally in Philadelphia and in the United States, if not the world.

We sat at the front bar. It was pretty crowded for mid-afternoon on a Saturday, but due to a party leaving right as we arrived, we managed to get three seats together. The space is somewhat cramped and the lighting features neon. It's a weathered aesthetic. A testament to the bar's longevity, perhaps.

The tap list is small, but incredibly well-considered. There is a focus on Belgian and Belgian-inspired brewing, but there is a nod of the head to the popularity of IPA, as well. The taps are split across the two bars. You can order from either, but it does mean waiting a little bit for your beer to be fetched from the other bar, as necessary. I had a Russian River Blind Pig and a dry-hopped Saison Dupont. The beer was in top shape.

We didn't eat, but the menu, like the beer, trends Belgian. There's an impressive range of mussel preparations that I'd love to sample.

The service is a bit stuffy. Our bartender wasn't unfriendly, but he didn't welcome us with open arms, either.

I can only imagine the oasis that Monk's Cafe must have been in, say, 1998.

 1,190 characters

Photo of TheNakedStiletto
3.95/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of sokol_1993
4.91/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

A very nice and cozy place with a huge selection of beer. The service was very nice and polite. The food is great too. I got a good burger and fries.

149 characters

Photo of JArt
3.6/5  rDev -17.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Without question, this place has an awesome draft list! However, I feel that the bartenders are extremely pretentious and act as though you are bothering them when you order your beer.

 184 characters

Photo of HookemHoos
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

Photo of Persdawg
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of devilfluff
4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Sparger
3.54/5  rDev -19.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.25

Great selection of beers to choose from

39 characters

Photo of philerman
4.91/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of N17shelfside
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of JMUbrewz
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of JoeMans
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of lizpckrng
4.73/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
97 out of 100 based on 338 ratings.