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Monk's Café

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

443 Ratings
Ratings: 443
Reviews: 331
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.26%
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: 443 | Reviews: 331 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by rdrummer:
Photo of rdrummer
4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

More User Reviews:
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%

Photo of tonyrocknroll
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Best bar on the planet to drink beer! Drink some Russian River or the house Flemish Sour under the unicorn tapestry in the windowless backroom, it's cool as hell. Bonus, awesome mussels and a killer legit veggie cheesesteaks.

Photo of jgiordano88
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of baybum
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of kaufmaal
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of newbeeraday
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of dreichus
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Jason
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Pav5069
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of Jacobob10
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Arrived at 1:30pm on a weekday and found on-street parking about a block away on 17th St. There were a decent amount of people sitting down grabbing lunch and two people at the front bar. I took a seat at the front bar and after a quick review of the draught list ordered a St. Bernardus Abt 12. The beer arrived and seemed a little under-carbonated, perhaps a bit cold as well. Still tasted great but not the world class beer I've had many times before. I spent some time looking through the impressive "beer bible" containing their bottled offerings. Surely something for everyone. The bar area was dimly lit and had a dark feel inside of it, with Halloween decorations and colored Christmas lights strewn behind in. I was into whatever music was playing, some sort of 70's funk fusion.

Next up, I ordered a Tripel Karmeliet, but after a quick trip to the back bar to retrieve it, the bartender told me the keg was kicked. I was disappointed as I really had my heart set on it, but decided to go with something I had not had in many years, La Chouffe, and got an order of Ghent mussels to go along with it. The beer and mussels were both excellent and lifted my spirits after the sub par Abt 12.

The vibe was a little gloomy but I went at an off time and I'm sure it is much less low key at night. Next time, I will check out the rear bar area as the front bar is small and very close to the entrance. Still, I enjoyed my time here and wouldn't hesitate to return to this mecca of beer.

Photo of Shandycan
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Took long enough but I finally got to visit the esteemed Monk's after figuring out it was less than a mile from the concert venue I was attending... upon first entrance, I thought I might have been missing something... and I was right, because once we navigated our way to the 'back bar', there was far more room to operate! Semi-early on a Friday night, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowd. Super happy to sit down and order a Blind Pig! Tried out the house beer, Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale, which was solid.

I doubt I'll ever make a special trip to the city JUST to go here, but if I am nearby I won't hesitate to stop in for a few pints or possibly something from that vaunted Beer Bible!

Photo of Nickanzo
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of JackNip
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of anteater
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Fusebuddy
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

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.

Photo of ChicagoNick
2.5/5  rDev -43.6%

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)

Photo of Davelucas88
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of Lupo
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of NJBeer265
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of beerded_drunk
4/5  rDev -9.7%

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Monk's Café in Philadelphia, PA
98 out of 100 based on 443 ratings.