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Monk's Café

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

337 Reviews
Reviews: 337
Visits: 485
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 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 337 | Visits: 485
Reviews by rdrummer:
Photo of rdrummer
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I figured it was about time that I actually reviewed Monk's although it doesn't suffer from lack of attention. I try to go for weekend lunches when the press of the crowd is tolerable. The place is tiny so expect a mob scene any dinner hour or until late at night.

It is a great atmosphere with dark woods and the beer bible and blackboards with all the taps listed and their wine selelection, as well. The beer is always served at the right temperature in the right glass, and I've never had a bad pour.

Now, the one bugaboo of the place. The service, to put it nicely, is not friendly and it is slow. I thought this was a product of being busy until I realized that it's the same way when it's slow. The bartenders can be friendly during the few slow periods they have, but the wait staff basically slings the food at you.

That won't stop me from going back. The mussels are the best in the city. The Monk's burger is superb. Sausages are great. Seafood is always done perfectly. The beer selection seems to have gone downhill a little. There is a huge bottle list, but many favorite Belgians are off the list. Don't bother looking at the tap selections on the Web site either. Other than Chimay, Hoegaarden's, and Monk's Sour Flemish Ale, none of the beers are likely to actually be on tap. The beer that is on tap is always good and never macro crap.

If you've never been here, you have to go. If you have been here, you know what I'm talking about. (1,466 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of dailyminefield
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of fitzy84
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Decided to go here during my Philadelphia trip. Monks seemed to be a relatively small place with dining near the window, a bar to one's left, and more tables in a narrow restaurant space.

The space had a cool soundtrack playing across the evening of all my personal favorite bands which was a huge plus. It was not too busy on a Sunday night so I sat at the bar area. All the workers seemed nice from the interactions I had with them. The place was A bit dim with lit candles across the bar. I felt like one could enjoy a nice conversation with a friend or read while at the bar. This helped make Monks welcoming and laid back to me.

The draft menu was on a small piece of paper, but the selection was out of this world with mostly some Belgian style drinks. The bartender that evening was quite nice and responsive when I wanted another drink. He was also very kind when I accidentally butchered a Belgian drink's name! I definitely enjoyed a good selection of beers that evening.

I did not have food at Monks, but the couple next to me had an awesome looking mussels dish.

As a tourist, I am really glad I got to sample this bar in Philly. I would recommend it to other people I know and would go back whenever I visit the city again. (1,244 characters)

Photo of KTCamm
4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

The Mid-Atlantic mecca. Everything its cracked up to be and more. The beer list is ridiculous - one wonders where to even begin. Two bars worth of taps from all over. (I scored some good Russian Rivers) plus large quantities of bottles, perfect for local BYO eateries. But if you are staying, the enormous pot of moules with frites and breads is the tops. You have to go there. (377 characters)

Photo of Brown120
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

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

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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
96 out of 100 based on 337 ratings.