Monk's Café

Not Rated.
Monk's CaféMonk's Café
BA SCORE
96
world-class

335 Reviews
Reviews: 335
Visits: 481
rAvg: 4.35
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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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 335 | Visits: 481
Reviews by glid02:
Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here twice during a recent stay, once on a Thursday night for a St. Feuillien event and again for lunch on a Saturday right after they opened.

Atmosphere is great. Half of it is the old-school cozy confines of the place and the other half is just knowing how much amazing beer and brewers have spent time here. The bar is fairly dimly lit with daylight from the windows up front fading out before they get to the bar in the middle of the front portion. Opposite the bar are a few tables. Around the bar in the front move you'll go through a narrow hallway that spits you out in the back bar where different beers are on tap and an additional bar sits with a few more tables to keep it company. The vibe is far from quiet yet somehow reserved.

Quality is very good. The beer is served with the proper amount of head regardless of how it comes out of the tap and everything is at a good temperature.

Service is a crapshoot. On Thursday night I met Tom and he was happy to walk us through some of the stuff not on the bottle list and go down to the cellar to help us out. Also, our server never made us wait long after our glasses had been emptied to get another beer. When I returned on Saturday morning I walked in with a friend about five minutes before they opened and was asked to wait outside. About 15 minutes later the door was unlocked and we had to wait a bit to get drinks and food. In addition to that I went to the back bar to check out their tap list and had to wait about five minutes for the bartender to finish her private phone conversation before I could see a list. I think 3.5 is a fair average, the service may be great or you may have to wait a while.

Selection is, of course, great. The tap list and bottle list are both nearly exhaustive and there are even more goodies down in the cellar that aren't listed in the novel. The focus is more on Belgians but they do a good job of representing locals as well.

Food is very good. I had the Monk's burger with frites and bourbon mayonnaise and both were solidly above average.

Value is just a bit pricier than most other places. The beer is just a tad more but the food, while as noted above is above average, also had above average prices.

Overall I was on the fence about visiting based on the tap list as I wanted to focus on locals while in town but after a few people told me I needed to stop in for at least a drink I'm glad that I did. It's a cliche but you really do have to stop in at Monk's if you're in Philadelphia. (2,512 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of RutgersBeerGuy
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
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 -9.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of sokol_1993
4.91/5  rDev +12.9%
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 -17.2%
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 -6.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3

Photo of Persdawg
4.7/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of devilfluff
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Sparger
3.54/5  rDev -18.6%
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 +12.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Photo of N17shelfside
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Photo of JMUbrewz
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Photo of JoeMans
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of lizpckrng
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of cp45
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Photo of Goodytime
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Photo of Ultra-Plinian
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Photo of Sludgeman
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Visited on a Saturday around noon. Place was fairly empty. Sat at the bar. Have the bartender show you the bible.

Vibe – Knowledgeable crowd at the bar. Smaller than I expected, narrow, clean and fresh, probably very dark in the evening, single toilets but men or women. - 4.5

Ser - Good, proper distance, bartender was engaging - 4.25

Sel –Excellent, great tap and bottle list, had three Russian Rivers - Pliny the Elder (on tap), Supplication and Damnation. - 4.75

Q - Nothing to complain about, clean and proper glassware - 4.25

Food – The mussels were good. - 4.5

Price - $$$ - Reasonable for what we drank - 3.75 (629 characters)

Photo of American_Hawk
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Nmelione
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 2 | selection: 5

Photo of PhillyFoodie
4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
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. (272 characters)

Photo of ohyeahitsmuff
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Bill69
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of Flooz
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
96 out of 100 based on 335 ratings.