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Monk's Café

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

465 Ratings
Ratings: 465
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: n/a
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 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 465 | Reviews: 338
Reviews by donniecuffs:
Photo of donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 2 | selection: 5

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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of American_Hawk
4.54/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Nmelione
3.88/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2 | selection: 5

Photo of PhillyFoodie
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Amazing selection of primarily Belgians and rare beers. Food is excellent and and as affordable as can be in Center City Philly. Truly a beer connoisseur's heaven. I had my first Rochefort 10 there 15 or so years ago and it has held a special place in my heart ever since.

Photo of ohyeahitsmuff
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Bill69
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Flooz
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Johnsfolly
4.18/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2.75 | selection: 5

Small place that can be full. Belgians on tap that are hard to find. Highly recommended.

Photo of PA-Michigander
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of wisegreensoul
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of stevehagy
4.21/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of swalsh666
4.91/5  rDev +10.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Craft_Imperial
4.29/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Madmartigan78
4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

I am an out of towner, but whenever I am in Philadelphia I make time for Monk's. Incredible selection of drafts which usually include a few offerings from Russian River. The mussels and frites are also top notch. The crowd can get pretty big depending on the day/time but it is worth the wait.

Photo of AdamTebbs
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I hope you like Belgian beers because this place has got them. I love Monks. It is a must see when in Philly.

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of epyon396
4.29/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

Photo of poppollutesminds
4.31/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Awesome selection but VERY tiny. Hard to get service and hard to get what you really want.

Photo of Mfbda1daonly
1.59/5  rDev -64.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.25 | service: 1 | selection: 1

My wife and I went to Monks Sunday on a whim. Their website, which I checked before taking the trip over said they had many beers on tap including Pliny the Elder. Once we arrived, it took the bartender about 10 minutes to emerge from the back area. He wasn't very helpful. Their tap list stunk. They only had Damnation on tap and the other selections were nothing special. My hopes were dashed and I won't be back.

Photo of shoretaxi
4.36/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of jeiiVP
5/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of Ohiovania
4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of mattysuke
4.66/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Monks is part of our Mussel Fest annual event and should be visited not only for the incredible beer selection, but also for a pot of some of the best mussels in Philly. The Red Light, Ghent and Monks mussels are outstanding and taste even better being washed down with a glass of Pliny or Blind Pig. Excellent stop for beer and mussels!

Photo of mothman
4.22/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of dwoolley1
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 465 ratings.