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Monk's Café

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

428 Ratings
Ratings: 428
Reviews: 328
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 9.5%
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: 428 | Reviews: 328 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by donniecuffs:
Photo of donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev -14%

First, I'm not going to waste time repeating what most other reviewers have said already...the selection and quality of Belgian, Belgian-style, and even non-Belgian-style beers is tremendous. I honestly think that if someone has a problem with the selection, then that person, quite frankly, cannot be pleased at all. Let me instead focus on my 'atmospheric' experience as well as the service, as this is where I stray from the majority.

For a saturday night on Labor Day weekend, the Philly streets were understandably empty, but this place was PACKED. After waiting for 10min to get two seats at the bar, and then waiting another 10min before the bartender remembered to get our drinks, we were finally able to sit down and relax...if you could call it that. Since the bar area is very small, I found myself needing to shout over the din in order to speak with my wife...which is the exact opposite of what a Belgian beer cafe should be like.

Furthermore, it was annoying to continually have grad students and intellectual wannabe's pushing their way between us...to order a Chimay. And even further, I noticed that over a stretch of nearly an hour, most of the patrons to our left and right wouldn't even bother looking at the provided paper copies of the aforementioned great beer selection before ordering; they would simply default to Chimay, like the average American defaults to 'Bud Light'. As such I had no inspiration to strike up a conversation with anyone but my wife. Please don't misinterpret this; Chimay is an excellent beer, but ordering that, very readily-available beer, when you have access to so many other hard-to-find brews, is like walking into a gourmet ice cream parlor with 100 flavors and ordering vanilla. The culmination of this experience was when a grad student sidled up next to me while his date was in the restroom, spotted the bottle of Achel Brune in front of me, and asked, "Is that like Chimay?" Enough said.

As for the bartender, (a) she screwed up our order..twice, (b) I overheard her giving false beer descriptions to a few Chimay-ers, and (c) she wasn't friendly at all. The only reason why I didn't rate service a '1' was because I gave her a little leniency, given the size of the crowd that night.

In summary, I have mad respect for the fact that the Michael Jacksons of the world have been to this establishment and rate it highly. I would like to think that I had just hit it on a bad night, and I would certainly be open to giving it another shot...on an afternoon, though, as opposed to late-night. However, I think...and hope...that the picture that I have painted for you goes to show how TRENDY the whole Belgian beer movement has become with the non-beergeek crowd; to the point where it is maddeningly annoying at times.

donniecuffs, Sep 08, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of Davepoolesque
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Davepoolesque, Monday at 07:08 PM
Photo of anteater
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

anteater, Oct 14, 2014
Photo of Fusebuddy
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

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 -43.4%

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 +13.1%

Davelucas88, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of Lupo
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Lupo, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of stephenjmoore
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

stephenjmoore, Sep 30, 2014
Photo of NJBeer265
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

NJBeer265, Sep 22, 2014
Photo of beerded_drunk
4/5  rDev -9.5%

beerded_drunk, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of Devman171
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Devman171, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +13.1%

AlexM, Sep 10, 2014
Photo of Stephenjtorres
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Stephenjtorres, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of ILuvBeer
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

ILuvBeer, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of Dizzy242
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Dizzy242, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of kwa357
4/5  rDev -9.5%

kwa357, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of MWilcox20
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Amazing place and a must when in Philly. There may be some better places to get a beer in town (Eulogy, Tria) but Monk's is a classic and usually has some amazing stuff on tap. Went there last week and had Lost Abbey Deliverance - rocked my world. Monk's has an epic reputation and is well worth the visit.

Also the mussels are incredible :)

MWilcox20, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of MicroBeerMan1980
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Wonderful selection, and the food is great!

MicroBeerMan1980, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of KornWallace
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

I was at Monks for their Pliny the Younger offering in March. The bar itself is a little on the small side, made even smaller by the large number of people who were there for the special offerings that day.
That day their offerings were amazing, as to be expected, I did take a look at their bottle list while there and there seemed to be a good deal of bottles that I would have loved to have tried. While I was there I had one of the burgers which was very good.
The pricing was pretty expensive as was to be expected. The bottle list was slightly over the price points I would have expected.
The servers that day were overwhelmed. They did what they could and remained calm cool and collected throughout the day.

KornWallace, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Slatetank, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of BigRizz62
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

BigRizz62, Aug 19, 2014
Photo of SFNC
4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

SFNC, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of Lehighace06
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Lehighace06, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of MattXT
4/5  rDev -9.5%

MattXT, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of mklisz
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

mklisz, Aug 13, 2014
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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 428 ratings.