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Monk's Café

Not Rated.
Monk's CaféMonk's Café
BA SCORE
98
world-class

440 Ratings
Ratings: 440
Reviews: 330
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.48%
Taps: 20
Bottles: 218
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: 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 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 440 | Reviews: 330 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by PopeDX:
Photo of PopeDX
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%

The service was great, and of course the selection of beer was incredible. Treats like Chimay Cinq Cents on tap and their own specially-brewed sour ale (great!) put a big smile on my face. Our server made sure our glasses were never empty long, although they were having tap problems at the time and couldn't serve all the beers on their tap list.

The only real problem I had was with the food. We started with the mussels, Monk's style. It was about $15-$16 for a "large pot" which couldn't have been much more than a pound of mussels ($2). I was really looking forward to the mussels. They were okay, but nowhere near the best mussels ever. I've had better mussels at half the price for the same amount. They came with a small basket of fries, which were good but there were too few given the price of the pot.
My date had the Blood orange chicken for dinner and I had the rack of lamb. Both were good, but nothing special. They really showed no sign of being cooked with the beers they were supposed to have been cooked with. They both were smallish portions, especially the lamb at $18. The potato and veggie "pancake" that came with it was exquisite though. We both ended up getting dessert even after each having eaten a platter and split a "large pot" of mussels, because we were still hungry. She got this chocolate thing filled with crème brulée, which was really good and I got a blueberry and peach tart which was not quite as good.

Overall I'd go back again, but probably just stay at the bar, or maybe sit down and just get a sandwich. The beer is great, nay, amazing, but the food is nothing special and overpriced for the portions (of the mussels and platters at least).

PopeDX, Aug 06, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of baybum
5/5  rDev +12.9%

baybum, Nov 17, 2014
Photo of kaufmaal
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

kaufmaal, Nov 16, 2014
Photo of newbeeraday
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

newbeeraday, Nov 15, 2014
Photo of PhillyStyle
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

PhillyStyle, Nov 11, 2014
Photo of dreichus
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

dreichus, Nov 10, 2014
Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Jason, Nov 07, 2014
Photo of Pav5069
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Pav5069, Oct 31, 2014
Photo of Jacobob10
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Arrived at 1:30pm on a weekday and found on-street parking about a block away on 17th St. There were a decent amount of people sitting down grabbing lunch and two people at the front bar. I took a seat at the front bar and after a quick review of the draught list ordered a St. Bernardus Abt 12. The beer arrived and seemed a little under-carbonated, perhaps a bit cold as well. Still tasted great but not the world class beer I've had many times before. I spent some time looking through the impressive "beer bible" containing their bottled offerings. Surely something for everyone. The bar area was dimly lit and had a dark feel inside of it, with Halloween decorations and colored Christmas lights strewn behind in. I was into whatever music was playing, some sort of 70's funk fusion.

Next up, I ordered a Tripel Karmeliet, but after a quick trip to the back bar to retrieve it, the bartender told me the keg was kicked. I was disappointed as I really had my heart set on it, but decided to go with something I had not had in many years, La Chouffe, and got an order of Ghent mussels to go along with it. The beer and mussels were both excellent and lifted my spirits after the sub par Abt 12.

The vibe was a little gloomy but I went at an off time and I'm sure it is much less low key at night. Next time, I will check out the rear bar area as the front bar is small and very close to the entrance. Still, I enjoyed my time here and wouldn't hesitate to return to this mecca of beer.

Jacobob10, Oct 28, 2014
Photo of Shandycan
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Took long enough but I finally got to visit the esteemed Monk's after figuring out it was less than a mile from the concert venue I was attending... upon first entrance, I thought I might have been missing something... and I was right, because once we navigated our way to the 'back bar', there was far more room to operate! Semi-early on a Friday night, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowd. Super happy to sit down and order a Blind Pig! Tried out the house beer, Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale, which was solid.

I doubt I'll ever make a special trip to the city JUST to go here, but if I am nearby I won't hesitate to stop in for a few pints or possibly something from that vaunted Beer Bible!

Shandycan, Oct 27, 2014
Photo of Nickanzo
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Nickanzo, Oct 26, 2014
Photo of JackNip
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

JackNip, Oct 24, 2014
Photo of Davepoolesque
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Davepoolesque, Oct 20, 2014
Photo of anteater
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

anteater, Oct 14, 2014
Photo of Fusebuddy
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

NIce beer bar if you're in Philly. Only a short 10-15 minute walk from my hotel by the convention center. Small place for sure and as others say, its quite dark in there. Which is cool by me, so I was at home. Loads of Belgian offerings here, I'm guessing more than half the beers. Had a Damnation on tap, sure nice to enjoy a RR beer on the east coast, then a Racer 5 IPA. Food was so-so, the service was fine. In between my two beers, I did waste some time trying to order off the beer list which said they had FW PNC and 17. Each time the server going around looking for the beer, then coming back to advise that its no longer available. After waiting to find out they didn't have those, just went with tap offerings. I would say its a must place for any BA in Philly because its really a cool beer cave, but I wasn't exactly overwhelmed.

Fusebuddy, Oct 14, 2014
Photo of ChicagoNick
2.5/5  rDev -43.6%

Monk's Cafe has some decent bottles, but I don't get the hype. Unless you're a local that can stop in anytime for special tappings, this place is extremely mediocre. Food is okay. Service is okay.

My recommendation: go during the day (dimly lit at night and loud) and don't bother reading the online menu. Expect them to be out of at least one thing that you ask for. Also, they like to leave certain high-demand bottles on their list that are long gone. Fair warning to those interested in one of the 5 Cantillon bottles which have been sold out since September 20th. (Today is Oct. 13)

ChicagoNick, Oct 13, 2014
Photo of Davelucas88
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Davelucas88, Oct 08, 2014
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4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Lupo, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of stephenjmoore
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

stephenjmoore, Sep 30, 2014
Photo of NJBeer265
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

NJBeer265, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of beerded_drunk
4/5  rDev -9.7%

beerded_drunk, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of Devman171
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Devman171, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +12.9%

AlexM, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of Stephenjtorres
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Stephenjtorres, Sep 09, 2014
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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 440 ratings.