Taps: 20 / Bottles: 218
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 396 | Reviews: 323 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by donniecuffs:
3.8/5 rDev -14%
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.
09-08-2009 05:33:25 | More by donniecuffs
More User Reviews:
4.36/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$$
Monks needs to be on your must visit list if you are visiting Philly and love craft beer. The place is small but a wonderful atmosphere and great service. My glass was empty very little and wish I would have had to time to go back during my trip.
Food was not to my taste, they only offer a veggie cheese steak to give you an idea.
But the beer atmosphere and service more than makes up for the food.
If you skip this one you are making a big mistake folks.
07-03-2014 13:41:57 | More by Ravenclaws
Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 396 ratings.